Lev Grossman, 2009
So begins his journey of magic, which one day will take him into a parallel world of talking animals, witches, and warfare—but not before he has been warned about the dangers of unregulated magic. A warning, of course, that Quentin and his Brakesbill friends do not thoroughly heed. The results are tragic.
Yet there's great fun in this book: the school's "mobile library" where reprobate books take wing, fluttering along the ceiling beyond the reach of librarians; a secret password in Elfish that had to be given up because "now too many people have read Tolkein"; a video game box that goes on the fritz any time a spell is uttered within 200 yards—"which was pretty much constantly."
The mood darkens, however, once Quentin leaves college and heads to New York. His self-absorbtion transforms him into an unlikable character. The persistent question remains: what is Quentin looking for? What unhappiness or loss is he compensating for with his magic?
And why the obsession with Fillory, the magic world of the Narnia-like series that he—and all his classmates—have read and re-read since childhood? The journey Quentin ultimately makes, like all literary journeys, is one of self-discovery. That's where the real magic is found. This is a terrific read!!
See our Reading Guide for The Magicians.
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