The Magicians- Lev Grossman


I got my heart’s desire, and there my troubles began.

I remember being in Borders on the corner of State and Lake in Chicago one particularly rainy afternoon when this book came out. I picked it up and read the back which toted such names as George R. R. Martin saying “The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea.” I realized that I wanted to read this “Harry Potter for adults” book, but I didn’t have the money at the time or what have you so I put it down. Now, flash forward to a few months back where I’m perusing the stacks of the Ferndale library and come upon the book I discarded years back. Again, this wasn’t why I was in the library so I put it down.

Then, as luck would have it, I had nothing in my queue to read. I couldn’t for the life of me remember the title or the author’s name, but I remembered the tree. That damn tree on the cover plagued me. I went to the library and thought “I’ll just walk through the stacks around where I saw it the last time.” And what? Pull out every book within the range of where I think I remember seeing it? Yep. That’s exactly what I did. And people! It worked! My stupid plan worked.

Now, I have to say that if you look on my page (linked below) you will notice that I finished this book back in early December. The delay on this post is simple, friends. Gilmore Girls. Yes, again I was distracted by the damn Netflix! Also, I was given a copy of Cary Elwes’s book As You Wish for Christmas, which I am almost done with and will blog about it promptly this time. Enough of my prattling. On to the book.

I tore through the first half of The Magicians where you are introduced to Quentin, Alice, Penny, Eliot, Josh, and Janet. You also meet, Julia, a girl with whom Quentin is infatuated with at his highschool. Julia bugged me. She seemed like she was going to go somewhere, like she was going to have an arch then she just disappears. Either way, Quentin dreams of living life in Fillory a fictional place, much like Narnia (I’ll come back to that in a second), when out of the blue he is transported to a school in upstate NY that is safeguarded by magic. He takes a strange written test and then goes through a rigorous physical magic test as well. Not really sure what he’s doing he passes anyway. Enter the Physical Kids, that is what the gang mentioned above call themselves. They go through school together and grow to really care about one another; a romance blossoms between Quentin and Alice, which you see coming from the first time they meet but it’s satisfying non the less. All of the magic happenings and all the things they go through at school are thrilling! I couldn’t put the book down…that is…until they “graduate” from magic school.They laze around a New York apartment, drinking, having sex, dabbling in magic. They become so severely bored that they betray one another. Which just made me sad, honestly. Then Penny stumbles back into the picture, he had been absent for a while, he’s come with amazing news. He has a button. A button that will get them to Fillory.

Now, folks, I have a problem with Fillory. I love Fillory. I think it’s a great place and it picked the pace of the book up again, but it’s too much like Narnia. The parallels are so similar that I would have to stop reading, especially if I was at work having my shift drink and ask my literature major friend JoBeth; “Did this happen in Narnia? Did that happen in Narnia? Wait, weren’t there four kids in Narnia?” I asked her so many Narnia questions that I think I may have annoyed her (Sorry, JB.) but she finally looked at me one day and said “Fillory is really bothering you, isn’t it?” Yeah, it did. I couldn’t get over the similarities. Correction, I still can’t get over the similarities, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the book. I loved the book and I’m looking forward to returning to Fillory and Quentin and the gang in The Magician King. 

A link to my goodreads profile page:


About operation100books

Hi, my name's Emily and I'm starting the 100 book challenge. 100 books. 12 months. Can I do it? Update: Needless to say I did not finish the 100 book challenge. I'm still at it though and have strayed from The List entirely; but never say never. I will finish The List...some day. View all posts by operation100books

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