Tuesday, August 25, 2009
The Magicians by Lev Grossman is a fantasy novel that has a lot of buzz behind it but doesn't deliver. Quentin Coldwater melancholic and whiny spends most of the book complaining about whatever it is currently happening to him. This has been compared with Harry Potter and Narnia. There's no subtlety and this Grossman specifically mentions Hermione's teeth shrinking. Narnia references are slightly concealed since the characters are going to end up traveling there Grossman dozen want to get in legal trouble. The ideas themselves although derivative do put an interesting spin on things but the book as a whole fails in two respects. First as mentioned earlier unsympathetic characters that develop very little throughout the book. The second problem is the lack of an antagonist. The plot tends to wander sometimes reading more like an outline than anything else. There is a final showdown which at least does in retrospect explain some of the past events but of course I'm not going to go back and reread it just because I have those pieces now.