The Magicians

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F December 19, 2016
 
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The Magicians

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1

Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn't bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin's yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they'd imagined.

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The Magicians is a fantasy world for adults and of adults, much like the TV series
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5.0

The Magicians is the urban fantasy book by Lev Grossman also became the TV series on SyFy of the same name. It will be difficult to review just the book here as I saw the show and noticed some differences between the book and the movie but I will try.
 
The plot of the story is that there several young adults attend a magic school and end up encountering magically creatures and villains.  Yes, it sounds an awful lot like the Harry Potter series but this book is not targeted for a young adult as it is much more mature. I just found this quote by George R.R. Martin that words the difference much better than I ever could.
 
The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea. . . . Hogwarts was never like this.”
—George R.R. Martin
 
So what do I mean? The book starts very similarly as the potential students are asked to take a very unusual test to determine who has what it takes to be a magicians. However, the main character Quentin Coldwater is never really happy with his life and instead dwells on a fantasy world called Fillory.
 
The book has three distinct sections with the kids' education in magic school as the majority of the story. This part moves fast but doesn't seem to have the focus that I watched on the TV show. In the second section the kids go the the actual fantasy world of Fillory and find that it is actually a very dangerous place even for magicians. The third part is an odd story about Quentin trying to deal with the aftermath of what occurred in Fillory. As usually his coping abilities are lousy.
 
I liked this book although I found there were a few times when the story flowed too quickly or it felt like there wasn't a strong plot that gave the book the cohesiveness that it needed. I still give it a five out of five stars as it was a fun read that moved quickly and the characters were great. I realize though that the TV show may actually be better than the book which is an unusual thing for me to say. This is one of the best examples of a good fantasy book series I have read recently and I plan to pick up The Magician King to continue the story line. 

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