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"The Magicians" by Lev Grossman

The Magicians by Lev Grossman is one of the most frequently reviewed fantasy novels of the last few years, which isn’t surprising because the author is a well known writer (and book reviewer) for TIME Magazine, and the book was very effectively hyped as “Harry Potter with college age students.” The end result of all of this is that lots of people who don’t regularly read fantasy have picked up this novel, and many of them had their expectations severely challenged. So, is The Magicians also worth the time for true-blooded, die-hard fantasy fans? In a word: yes… Lev Grossman is doing more than just telling a story here. Indirectly, he’s having a conversation with fantasy readers about what it’s like to be a fan of stories that involve magic and alternate realities… The Magicians is the perfect antithesis of an escapist novel: it pulls the curtain up, reveals that magic is real, and then makes it clear that even young, gifted people often don’t have it in them to use it wisely or even appreciate it. That it does this by actually using some of the most beloved young adult fantasy fiction as a starting point makes the experience of reading it even more disconcerting. It’s no wonder that this novel got some very extreme reviews from fantasy fans…

Read the entire (and rather long) review here! I was actually kinda happy with how this one came out, for once...

Next up:still working on the Stephen R. Donaldson story collection. After that, I just got a new commission from tor.com - a review of "The Clockwork Rocket" by Greg Egan.  Yay.

Comments

edited

In retrospect, I really, really loved that book, and if fueled a lot of my "Quit comparing every freaking thing to Harry Potter!" ire. Yes, there's some Potter satire in there, but the satire would have worked just as well if the Potterverse didn't exists -- Rowling did not invent the magical-school novel. I liked its bleakness and its deconstruction.

July 2011

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