The Magicians: Book 1

The Magicians: Book 1

Paperback

By (author) Lev Grossman

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  • Publisher: ARROW BOOKS LTD
  • Format: Paperback | 496 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 194mm x 32mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 8 October 2009
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099534444
  • ISBN 13: 9780099534440
  • Sales rank: 6,466

Product description

In a secret world of forbidden knowledge, power comes at a terrible price...Quentin Coldwater's life is changed forever by an apparently chance encounter: when he turns up for his entrance interview to Princeton he finds his interviewer dead - but a strange envelope bearing Quentin's name leads him down a very different path to any he'd ever imagined. The envelope, and the mysterious manuscript it contains, leads to a secret world of obsession and privilege, a world of freedom and power and, for a while, it's a world that seems to answer all Quentin's desires. But the idyll cannot last - and when it's finally shattered, Quentin is drawn into something darker and far more dangerous than anything he could ever have expected...

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Author information

Lev Grossman was born in 1969, the son of two English professors, and grew up in a suburb of Boston. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in literature and went on to the Ph.D. program in comparative literature at Yale, although he left after three years without finishing a dissertation. After Yale Grossman worked for a string of dot-coms while writing freelance articles about books, technology and culture in general for numerous magazines, newspapers and websites, until he was hired by Time in 2002 and became the magazine's book critic as well as one of its lead technology writers. He is also the author of the international bestseller CODEX.

Review quote

"This is a sophisticated, subtle novel that is also magical fun. I can't imagine any lover of well-written classic fantasy ... who won't adore it" The Times "Stirring, complex, adventurous ... From the life of Quentin, his slacker Park Slope Harry Potter, Grossman delivers superb coming of age fantasy" -- Junot Diaz, author of Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao "This gripping novel draws on the conventions of contemporary and classic fantasy novels (most obviously, those of J. K. Rowling and C. S. Lewis) in order to upend them, and tell a darkly cunning story about the power of imagination itself" The New Yorker "The novel's climax includes some spectacular magical battles to complement the complex emotional entanglements Grossman has deftly sketched in earlier chapters. Very dark and very scary, with no simple answers provided - fantasy for grown-ups, in other words, and very satisfying indeed" Kirkus "Anyone who grew up reading about magical wardrobes and unicorns and talking trees before graduating to Less Than Zero and The Secret History and Bright Lights, Big City will immediately feel right at home with this smart, beautifully written book by Lev Grossman. The Magicians is fantastic, in all senses of the word. It's strange, fanciful, extravagant, eccentric, and truly remarkable - a great story, masterfully told" -- Scott Smith, author of The Ruins

Editorial reviews

Grossman (Codex, 2004, etc.) imagines a sorcery school whose primary lesson seems to be that bending the world to your will isn't all it's cracked up to be. When Quentin manages to find Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy and pass its baffling entrance exam, he finally feels at home somewhere. Back in the real world, Quentin and fellow students, like brilliant, crippling shy Alice and debonair, sexually twisted Eliot, were misfits, obsessed with a famous children's series called Fillory and Further (The Chronicles of Narnia, very lightly disguised). Brakebills teaches them how to tap into the universe's flow of energy to cast spells; they're ready to graduate and...then what? "You can do nothing or anything or everything," cautions Alice, who has become Quentin's lover. "You have to find something to really care about to keep from running totally off the rails." Her warning seems apt as he indulges in aimless post-grad drinking and partying, eventually betraying Alice with two other Brakebills alums. The discovery that Fillory actually exists offers Quentin a chance to redeem himself with Alice and find a purpose for his life as well. But Fillory turns out to be an even more dangerous, anarchic place than the books suggested, and it harbors a Beast who's already made a catastrophic appearance at Brakebills. The novel's climax includes some spectacular magical battles to complement the complex emotional entanglements Grossman has deftly sketched in earlier chapters. The bottom line has nothing to do with magic at all: "There's no getting away from yourself," Quentin realizes. After a dreadful loss that he discovers is the result of manipulation by forces that care nothing about him or his friends, Quentin chooses a bleak, circumscribed existence in the nonmagical world. Three of his Brakebills pals return to invite him back to Fillory: Does this promise new hope, or threaten more delusions?Very dark and very scary, with no simple answers provided - fantasy for grown-ups, in other words, and very satisfying indeed. (Kirkus Reviews)