The World According to Renee

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The Magicians

The Magicians is an adult fairy tale, borrowing ideas from Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia, but with language and themes which are definitely suitable only for adults. If you’ve ever wished Harry would bed Hermione, swear like a sailor and pee in the shower, this is the novel for you.

Our hero, Quentin, is a bored adolescent whicsked away to study at a magical university. Unaware of the existence of real magic until this point, he quickly becomes one of the best students at the school. Unlike the Potter books, Quentin’s entire education is in the first half of the novel. The second part is a Narnia-like adventure based in a world he thought was only fiction, quite different to the first half but no less enjoyable.

Lev Grossman intertwines the naivety and innocence of his teen characters with the moodiness of their hormones. Several times, their language reflects only their age, not their circumstances; for example, they’ll swear when they see a cute bunny who is five feet tall.

At its very core, The Magicians is a fairytale, complete with moral message. The novel is entertaining, unashamedly borrowing other mdern magical classics and occasionally even referencing them, such as mentions of Hermione and quidditch.  But if you’re expecting the darkness of the Potter novels, you won’t find it here. There’s no nemesis, no dark magic, no Malfoy-like arch enemy. The plot doesn’t make itself known until the final chapters, where everything comes together in a final twist.

Basically, The Magicians is the same basic storyline as the Potter novels and Narnia, but with real characters who bonk, swear, cheat, lie and steal. They are flawed humans, real in every way, except they practice magic and stray to a magical faraway world.

Thoroughly enjoyable and I cannot wait for the sequel, due in 2011.

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July 30, 2010 - Posted by | Reviews

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