My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Addictive! I couldn’t put this book down. Quentin Coldwater is highly intelligent, adept at card tricks and slight of hand, but normal life seems to be missing something. For comfort he falls back on a series of children’s books, which have been his favourite since he and his best friend Julia were small. The Fillory books are similar to Narnia, in that a group of children find their way into this fantastical world by passing through hidden doors and such (in the books).
Whilst attending an interview for a place at a prestigious university, Quentin’s circumstances suddenly change when the interviewer is found to be dead, he acquires a copy of the final (previously unknown) Fillory book, and stumbles to the steps of Brakebills University. Where you study Magic – for real. Not only is magic real, but there are beasts encroaching on the real world, studies and assignments to complete, relationships to be made – and as it turns out Fillory is also real!
Part Harry Potter, part Narnia, part Hex (anyone else remember that short-lived TV series in the early 2000s in the UK?!), part Buffy the Vampire Slayer – but for adults! The setting is not a school, but a University, therefore the relationships are more adult, the drinking and swearing are definitely not for the uninitiated, and there’s also sex and intrigue! What’s not to like?
Packed with well-drawn out characters, who only occasionally fall on the whiny side, you want to follow them through this journey and beyond.
The first of a trilogy, and also the basis for the SyFy TV series of the same name (broadcast on Channel 5, or one of its’ variants in the UK). I’ll definitely be back for parts 2 and 3.
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The Magicians by Grossman, Lev (2009)