Book Title: Lev GrossmanWhat did I think? I loved the idea of a protagonist who wishes magic was real and the fantasy world he enjoyed growing up actually exists, but even though it all drops into his lap, he still can't find happiness.
Author: The Magicians
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥
Goodreads, Amazon UK
Goodreads Summary: Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he’s still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.
He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin’s fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
Something's always missing, even if your dreams become real.
That's a great premise and a problem I deal with frequently. You idealise the next stage of your life, thinking love/school/promotion/publishing contract/marriage/kids/graduation/etc. will make you happy and then you realise, nope, still not quite there.
But...I had a hard time getting into The Magicians. Mostly because Quentin is an unlikeable character who I wouldn't want as my friend. At least not at first; he did grow on me somewhat. The world is bleak, everyone is miserable and people are shitty to each other. Then I understood the tone of the novel more began to enjoy myself.
The author took the Hogwarts years from Harry Potter and mixed in Narnia in the second half of the book. It sounds old, but it worked well, and I thought it was done in an original and surprising way.
The characters are well developed and the world feels real.
I recommend this book to everyone who grew up wishing Narnia was a real place and who doesn't mind unlikeable and miserable characters.
I'll definitely read the next one at some point.