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 …
Review: First of all, thank you to my boyfriend’s work mate for lending this to me. I’m sure he probably didn’t expect me to have it for quite so long… (like, half a year) but we’ll get to that in a minute. The Magicians is a book that sounded right up my street and I have a lot of thoughts on it so if this review goes on for 14 pages, please bare with. The Magicians is about a boy, Quentin. Quentin is going about his mundane life when he finds he can do magic – real magic – and when his interviewer for Princeton university turns up dead and Quentin receives a mysterious envelope containing a manuscript from a sequel to a story he loves dearly, he ends up being enrolled in Brakebills – a school for Magicians. He meets friends, finds love, practices magic and learns to do things he never thought possible but such deep knowledge of such a forbidden and secretive world comes at a terrible price.
I have so many thoughts about this book I genuinely do not know where to start. In fact, I’ve been putting this review off for days now just because I feel like I won’t be able to string a sentence together. I adored the beginning of the book – it was exciting and intriguing and written in a way that draws me straight in. I would place this book under the Young Adult category but it winds in drama, Fantasy and a whole lot more. It’s very dark in places, very real in others and does really have a little bit of everything. However, one major criticism I would have is that upon getting about a third through, I felt like I was missing something, like I’d started in the middle of a series rather than the beginning. It was like going into Harry Potter and the author expecting you to know what a Muggle was and what divination, a Quaffle and a Slytherin was with no prior explanation. It was odd. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention but there was an awful lot of made-up information (which is fine, and crucial in a Fantasy novel) which flew right over the top of my head.
It did feel like this book took me an age to get through – half a year to be precise. I loved the beginning but the middle section is where I really struggled. The main chunk of the book when Quentin is at Brakebills was exceptionally slow-paced and got a tad boring. Although perhaps the author was trying to mirror how Quentin felt at this time, who knows. It was such a long winded book that some things that happened at the start felt like they had absolutely no relevance to the story and had me wondering why they were even in there in the first place but, now having finished the book, and realising just down deep and complex it is, of course nothing was irrelevant. Not a single damn thing and that was an element I really loved. Everything made sense at the end.
So, quite honestly, I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on through a big chunk of the book but somehow it kept my attention until the end. I loved the beginning, hated the middle but adored the ending. There were a few too many characters for me and I couldn’t keep up as to who was who sometimes and the main character, Quentin, was a bit of a nonse. I was bored at parts, I was shocked and completely wowed at others and all in all, I’m exceptionally torn in my thoughts about this book which I’ve never been to this extent before. I loved it, I hated it. I just don’t know. But turning the last page made me want to read the sequel, so it can’t have been that bad. Can it?