The Magicians: A Novel (Magicians Trilogy) (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

OH BABY. I’ve been needing this, you guys. I’ve been reading a lot of introspective novels, memoirs, essays – things that are lovely, but definitely low on thrilling duels, magical beasts, et cetera et cetera. And oh, does this trilogy deliver. There is a TV show, which I haven’t seen and am choosing to disregard.
    Quentin Coldwater is bored. He’s a seventeen year old genius who’s on the verge of matriculating at Princeton when he suddenly finds himself in an unexplainable exam room on an unfamiliar campus, taking an exam he has no idea how to complete. What follows is his introduction into the magical world of Brakebills, and the chaos and trials that come with putting hundreds of magically talented teenagers in one place. This first book is pretty slow – most of it is concerned with Quentin’s journey through his five years at Brakebills – but once the action starts, it’s pretty non-stop. The characters are beautifully written and engaging, and the relationships between them are gut-wrenching, volatile, and achingly teenaged. I always say this, but once I’d picked this guy up I was so hard-pressed to put it down – I tripped on the sidewalk a fair amount of times because I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going (on reading that sentence again, maybe I shouldn’t walk and read at the same time? perhaps am a menace to polite society). I bought the second one yesterday and am breathlessly awaiting my next day off so I can curl up and do nothing but explore Fillory with Quentin (I have a date on my next day off but I’m on the verge of cancelling it so I can read instead).

Edit: Reader, I should have cancelled the date. 

— Grace, Longfellow Books

If you’re like most of the world right now, you’re finding it hard to focus, and might be craving the comfort of the familiar. The Magicians (and the two subsequent books) provides just the right amount of nostalgia, offering an innovative approach to a common fantasy trope. Quentin is a gifted student somewhat obsessed with a fantasy series akin to the Narnia books who stumbles into a world filled with magic, discovering that his childhood’s literary escape is actually a reality he can slip into. At a school for magic, he hones his craft, meeting others who share his abilities, and is pulled between worlds and between people.

Grossman creates a traditional fantasy landscape with a modern edge, where magic is a drug as much as a tool, and the magicians are often much more than they seem at first glance. This trilogy is exceptional escapist reading.

— Lucinda, Longfellow Books

August 2009 Indie Next List

“The Magicians is a darker, more adult take on the idea of a secret academy that trains would-be wizards. Lev Grossman explores the realms of magic, alternate realities, and wish fulfillment as visited by less-than-heroic characters. Raising the question of what would you do if you could do whatever you wanted, The Magicians is thrilling and deliciously disturbing.”
— Lisa Wright, Oblong Books And Music,LLC., Millerton, NY


Lev Grossman’s new novel THE BRIGHT SWORD will be on sale July 2024

The New York Times bestselling novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world, now an original series on SYFY

The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea. . . . Hogwarts was never like this.”
—George R.R. Martin
“Sad, hilarious, beautiful, and essential to anyone who cares about modern fantasy.”
—Joe Hill
“A very knowing and wonderful take on the wizard school genre.”
—John Green
The Magicians may just be the most subversive, gripping and enchanting fantasy novel I’ve read this century.”
—Cory Doctorow

“This gripping novel draws on the conventions of contemporary and classic fantasy novels in order to upend them . . . an unexpectedly moving coming-of-age story.”
—The New Yorker

“The best urban fantasy in years.”
—A.V. Club

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he’s secretly fascinated with a series of children’s fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing by comparison. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory. The land of his childhood fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined. . . .

The prequel to the New York Times bestselling book The Magician King and the #1 bestseller The Magician's Land, The Magicians is one of the most daring and inventive works of literary fantasy in years. No one who has escaped into the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter should miss this breathtaking return to the landscape of the imagination.

About the Author

Lev Grossman is the book critic for Time magazine and the author of five novels, including the international bestseller Codex and the #1 New York Times bestselling Magicians trilogy. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three children.

Praise For…

"Fantasy fans can't afford to miss the darkly comic and unforgettably queasy experience of reading this book-and be glad for reality."
-Booklist (Starred Review)

"This is a book for grown-up fans of children's fantasy and would appeal to those who loved Donna Tartt's The Secret History. Highly recommended."
-Library Journal (Starred Review)

"Very dark and very scary, with no simple answers provided-fantasy for grown- ups, in other words, and very satisfying indeed."
-Kirkus Reviews

"... provocative, unput-downable ... one of the best fantasies I've read in ages."
-Fantasy & Science Fiction

"The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea."
-George R.R. Martin, bestselling author of A Game of Thrones

"Stirring, complex, adventurous ... from the life of Quentin Coldwater, his slacker Park Slope Harry Potter, Lev Grossman delivers superb coming of age fantasy."
-Junot Diaz, Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

"The Magicians ought to be required reading for anyone who has ever fallen in love with a fantasy series, or wished they went to a school for wizards."
-Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners and Stranger Things Happen

"The Magicians is a spellbinding, fast-moving, dark fantasy book for grownups that feels like an instant classic."
-Kate Christensen, PEN/Faulkner award winning author of The Great Man and The Epicure's Lament

"The Magicians is fantastic. It's strange, fanciful, extravagant, eccentric, and truly remarkable-a great story, masterfully told."
-Scott Smith, bestselling author of The Ruins and A Simple Plan

"Remember the last time you ran home to finish a book? This is it, folks. The Magicians is the most dazzling, erudite and thoughtful fantasy novel to date."
-Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan and The Russian Debutante's Handbook

"The Magicians brilliantly explores the hidden underbelly of fantasy and easy magic ... It's like seeing the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter through a 3-D magnifying glass."
-Naomi Novik, author of His Majesty's Dragon

"Grossman clearly has read his POtter and much more. While this story invariably echoes a whole body of romantic coming-of-age tales, Grossman's American variation is fresh and compelling. Like a jazz musician, he riffs on Potter and Narnia, but makes it his own."
--Washington Post

"Grossman skillfully moves us through four years of school and a postgraduate adventure, never letting the pace slacken...beguiling."
--Seattle Times

"An irresistible storytelling momentum makes The Magicians a great summer book, both thoughtful and enchanting."

"Sly and lyrical, [The Magicians] captures the magic of childhood and the sobering years beyond."
--Entertainment Weekly

" doubt that this book is inventive storytelling and Grossman is at the height of his powers."
--Chicago Sun-Times

"The Magicians reimagines modern-day fantasy for grownups. [It] breathes life into a cast of characters you want to know...and does what [some] claim books never really manage to do: 'get you out, really out, of where you were and into somewhere better."
--Louisville Courier-Journal

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9780670020553
ISBN-10: 0670020559
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: August 11th, 2009
Pages: 416
Language: English
Series: Magicians Trilogy