Thursday, May 28, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Magicians (The Magicians #1) by Lev Grossman

Title: The Magicians
Book Series: The Magicians, Book #1
Author: Lev Grossman (Twitter)
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy, Magic
Format: Audiobook (Amazon | Audible)
Narrators: Mark Bramhall
Length: 17 hours & 24 minutes
Release Date: August 11, 2009
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.

I'd read this before about four years and hated it. It was hard to pinpoint exactly why I felt this way, but I remember having a strong dislike for this book. Someone else I spoke to at a book club meeting expressed the same sentiment. I think I know why -- that idiotic comparison to Harry Potter. I could just imagine myself getting to the end of this book and thinking WTF that was nothing like HP!
This book takes a different take on magic. But it's not that type of juvenile fantasy magic. It's more scientific and rooted to the earth, more practical and tangible. And you know what, now I'm completely fine with that. I think that since it has been so long since I was in this magical world, and that I have experienced so many other worlds with a foundation in magic that is not Hogwarts, I can now appreciate The Magicians as a distinct work. Comparisons annoy me in life; why I have considered them relevant for my TBR pursuits confounds me.

This time around, seeing this book as a distinct work, I was able to appreciate its view on magic. What's more, I even liked Quentin. Quentin is a realistic teenager. I think before I found him whiny, but now being older I can understand that he's only someone dissatisfied with the current state and direction of his life. Who hasn't felt that way; I sure did a few years ago. 

However, Quentin's moodiness did fill like overkill. However, I find it interesting that when he actually focused on his magic he went to the dark side... Q hit it hard. It took him, what, six to nine month to bring things back from the dead. Could Q end up being eviler than the beast? That would be interesting.

I'm upgrading my one star rating to three stars.

This audiobook was a great marriage of story and performance. I felt that Mark Bramhall had a connection to Grossman's writing style. He told the story with such a lovely cadence; very romantic and flowed nicely. I'd be happy to catch some of his work outside of this series.

“[F]or just one second, look at your life and see how perfect it is. Stop looking for the next secret door that is going to lead you to your real life. Stop waiting. This is it: there's nothing else. It's here, and you'd better decide to enjoy it or you're going to be miserable wherever you go, for the rest of your life, forever.”
― Alice

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