I have two words: Unmitigated Disaster.
In fact, to call it that might almost be an understatement. I will never understand how some books wind up on the bestseller lists.
Let me be clear: If you like self-hating characters thrust into an urban fantasy with no satisfying resolution and stolen plot ideas, then this is *totally* the book for you. If that’s not your thing, then I would steer clear of Grossman’s novel.
It’s entirely possible that the second and third books in the series will somewhat redeem the first, but since I cannot get over how much I disliked The Magicians, I will never read them. Darn.
Now, I don’t dislike this book because it’s a dark urban fantasy where people die and never achieve their dreams. Oh, no. I like a grimdark novel as much as the next GOT fan—probably more so. Seriously: add sex, and murder, and as much mayhem as you want. I don’t care if the princess gets rescued, or the kingdom gets saved, or if every hero in the bunch dies. I just want *something* to happen. Potentially something *interesting*. And I want it to happen in an *interesting* and *entertaining* fashion. That’s one of the reasons why I read books—to be entertained. Even if it’s dark, serious entertainment.
Instead, I was bored.
And it wasn’t even an accounting manual!
Next time, I’ll listen to the little voice.
According to Wikipedia, a review by The A.V. Club, (a non-satirical offshoot of The Onion), stated the theme of the book to be “a sad dream of what it means to want something badly and never fully reach it”. (Quoted here.) So I suppose looking at that, then this book definitely lives up to its ideals. I should applaud Grossman—I wanted something to happen, and something never did, which essentially turned me into one of his always-complaining characters.
But only briefly, because after this review, I will be done thinking about The Magicians, and will move on to something much more interesting…which Grossmans’ poor characters will never be able to do.
Let me also mention Grossman’s blatant thievery of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia.
I’m honestly surprised Lev Grossman’s agents weren’t slapped with a million copyright infringement suits, but I suppose that’s today’s world: Anything can get published as a ‘new thing’, as long as you change a few names, draw a new map, and maybe introduce one new plot device.
Takes me right back to the days of Twilight and 50 Shades…
But setting aside the boringness and the truly uncreative use of Narnia’s lands, I think the thing that bothered me most about this book was that Grossman felt the need to wax-on for over 300 pages about how, when you have the ability to accomplish anything, you have nothing left to accomplish. I’m wondering where the rationality is in that theory, and how that wound up being the theoretical consensus of every magician in Grossman’s entire universe.
These kids had no guide, no common sense, and no desire to find either.
They were given a truly sad and pathetic existence, wasted the very intellect their author inscribed them with, and left every reader depressed about it.
Shit, I’d rather read Selfish by Kim K than have to re-read Grossman’s horror story. And I don’t even like plastic surgery novels. (har har)
And so maybe I’m being a bit dramatic. But you know what?
I’m not boring!
For book suggestions and a ridiculously long reading list, check me out on Goodreads HERE.