The Magicians is the first book in a series by Lev Grossman about adolescents in a magical private academy called Brakebills. Sound familiar? The premise is similar to Harry Potter but that’s where the similarities end. This book feels like a much more “realistic” depiction of how teenagers would actually act in a poorly supervised school of magic. Meaning, there’s a lot more sex, booze, and angst at Brakebills than you’ll find at Hogwarts. This book doesn’t look at magic through the eyes of an idealistic child but with the eyes of a cynical teenager who grows into a cynical adult.
The main character’s name is Quentin, he’s a type A overachiever, thrown into a magical school full of other genius overachievers. This book follows Quentin and his friends through their years at school and their search for meaning in the real world after graduation. They eventually make an incredible discovery that changes all of their lives and pushes the story into the sequel. I enjoyed it, the writing is full of wry humor and makes constant light of the absurdity of Quentin’s situation while still acknowledging the gravity. I would recommend it to readers who appreciate darker fantasy and literary fiction. The much anticipated second in the series, The Magician King, was just released earlier this month.