Friday, July 6, 2012

Book Review: The Magicians & Magician King

I'm reviewing these two book together because I believe that if you're going to read one then you need to read the second to finish the story.

(Taken from Amazon)

The New York Times bestselling novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world

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. Psychologically piercing and dazzlingly inventive, The Magicians is an enthralling coming-of-age tale about magic practiced in the real world-where good and evil aren't black and white, and power comes at a terrible price.

(Taken from Amazon)

Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to the New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon, The Magicians

Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory - a fictional utopia - was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring.

Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off - only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they'd hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia's illicitly-learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.


Overall, I loved both of these books. :) These were a little different than what I usually read and I wasn't sure I'd like it, but it was so different, it just worked for me. I felt there was something very real and gritty about the world and how magic was handled and perceived in it.

I really identified with Quentin and I think that was the the biggest hook for me. I've felt much the same way as he does in the first book. Always looking for something more and sometimes not being satisfied with it. I also believe his life journey is pretty typical for a 20-something year old to go through (minus the magic stuff of course ;) ).

In the second book my favorite parts were the Julia chapters. You meet Julia briefly in The Magicians but she plays a much bigger role in The Magician King. Her journey also felt very authentic and a little tragic to me.

In the end these books are a coming of age story for the 20-30 year old crowd. If you liked Harry Potter growing up, then the first book should appeal to you. But really, these books call to the Narnia lover in me. The way Grossman handles the magical world and how one gets to and from it to our own is pretty much exactly like Lewis did in Narnia. But it isn't fan fiction, or a bad rip. It's more of an homage and it's done really well.

So five stars for both books. And like I said if you read the first you should read the second as well, just to get the full story.