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Nerdy high school genius Quentin Coldwater spends most of his time wishing he were in Fillory, the fictional magic land featured in the children’s books that Quentin never outgrew. The Fillory series guarantees adventure and enchantment when the real world fails to live up to expectation—which, for Quentin, it frequently does. He’s too smart to be interested in school, he’s in unrequited love with his best friend’s girl, and happiness seems perpetually just out of reach. Even when Quentin discovers that magic is real, it’s a bit of a letdown. Admitted to an exclusive college of sorcery, Quentin is thrilled to finally belong—and then exhausted when the study of magic turns out to be just as grueling as the study of anything else. Quentin becomes a skilled magician with a close and catty group of friends, but the sense of completion that he expected magic to fulfill is still painfully absent. It’ll take something major to halt Quentin’s downward spiral into disillusionment—something like the revelation that Fillory is real and reachable. Fillory is a real place, but it’s not all happy adventures and talking bunny rabbits. It’s a dangerous place teeming with its own histories, politics, and enemies, and Quentin will have to face all his demons in order to survive. The Magicians is, at first glance, like a grown-up Harry Potter venturing into The Chronicles of Narnia, complete with the sex, drugs, and alcohol-fueled lifestyle of the modern party-school undergrad. But there’s a great deal of mystery, intrigue, and complexity behind the scenes as author Lev Grossman balances the power of fantasy with the harshness of reality. Every bit as satisfying as the fantasies of our youth, The Magicians is not to be missed—nor is the sequel, The Magician King, due out in 2011.
posted Sep 27, 2010 at 8:07PM
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