The Magicians by Lev Grossman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Every now and then I read a book that I just can't put down. This is one of those. The writing is literary and fascinating, the characters complex, the subject intriguing--I don't know . . . Everything about this book worked for me.
It's basically your standard YA fantasy at heart, but approached from a much more reality-based angle. What if the magical world the main character discovers doesn't change his life for the better? What if the problems he had before--character flaws, unmet dreams, etc--still exist? And when you think about it, doesn't that make sense? Why should walking through a wardrobe suddenly make everything else okay? Grossman has depicted a world where magic is very real, in all senses of the word.
The book is by no means a candy coated experience. It's not a children's book in the slightest, despite the fact that it covers the same sort of school experience as the Harry Potter series did. It feels very much like you're reading a Work of Literature that happens to be fantasy, but I liked it all the more for that. I'd be interested to hear what other people thought of this one. I could see some people really disliking it--but for me, it worked great. Plus, it was the sort of book that makes you want to talk to other people about it once you've finished.
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