Scott Bernadot Bernadot din Jamalpur, Odisha, India
** spoiler alert ** The Magicians was a challenge for me - and I mean that it a good way. I started this novel full of excitement. Oh, how I could relate to seventeen year old Quentin, so discontent, yearning for something more. And obsessed with a fantasy novel. I feel for him so hard in the first pages... and then this book challenged that relationship on every page. Sometimes, I just loved Quentin. Sometimes, I hated his guts. Often I felt a mixture of both, with heavy helpings of pity and contempt mixed in. These aren't the feelings I'm usually looking for when I read a fantasy novel. That's the part that was challenging, but also kind of inspiring. The Magicians really challenges what a fantasy story is. It takes away the moral compass, the quests, the goals... and what that leaves us with are these beautifully fucked up characters playing with fire. Magic that they preform with their hands. I actually did quite like the magic system in this world. I liked the requirements, that you needed to be a genius. I loved the emphasis on the tedious. The terrible stakes of screwing up a spell. I loved the relationship between incantations and gestures, that magic was something you did with your hands. And I loved Fogg's beautiful explanation of where it all comes from - that magic is born of discontent and depression, that what makes a magician is pain. I think The Magicians was at its strongest when it was at its weirdest. The opening sequence was suburb. The Beast's first visit was terrifying. Antarctica was awesome. And I loved Fillory. But the sequences in between had their own strengths, letting us into the terrible, messy world of Quentin's (and Elliot's and Alice's and Janet's) heart. The magic was cool. But the emotionally journey that everyone went through as they learned to deal with an indifferent world was equally compelling. I did like the characters a lot. Well, I love/hated Quentin - loved him because I understood his most optimistic impulses, and hated him because I understood his weakest actions. Alice was awesome and admirable, and I actually come away from the story wishing we knew her a bit better. Elliot's one of my favorite tropes - pretty, charasmatic boy with pain so of course I loved him. Josh was a little less important, but he had his moments. I could totally understand the seduction of someone like Janet, the misery she holds and spreads. Penny - oh, Penny. What a weird guy. Totally interesting and totally infuriating. I really liked The Magicians, for much different reasons than I like most fantasy novels. I appreciate its departure from and deconstruction of the fantasy hero and her/his usual path. Its an interesting world filled with deeply flawed characters and terrible magic. I'll be reading the next one. Eventually. If possible, I would give this 4.5 stars.