Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Great Summer Staff Rec on The Magicians

The Magicians by Lev Grossman was released early this August due to some great reviews. In a month deluged in big name authors, from Pynchon, Conroy, and Russo, this was easily my favorite book coming out. Quite possibly for the year, though there is a new Vonnegut coming that I really, really like. I shamelessly pitched the book onto other employees looking for more readers, and I convinced two, Amie and Greg. Amie started reading the book, only to have it stolen by her daughter. I think this is proof that The Magicians has a good chance to sell well this year; while the book does have a darker edge to the story than Harry Potter and Twilight, it still has that cross over appeal to the teen market. If you have read either, I think this book might just be for you. This is what Greg Bruce had to say about it:

“I am reluctant to call The Magicians the "more adult version of Harry Potter," yet I do. This is because it is the closest parallel that can be drawn, despite the fact that Grossman's work is ahead of Rowling's by leaps and bounds. Nevertheless, fans of Rowling or C.S. Lewis will find themselves engrossed in The Magicians, staying awake until the wee hours of the morning just to discern the fates of the primary characters.

The Magicians is much like Harry Potter in the sense that the main character is a young man with remarkable magical abilities, but with a key difference. Harry Potter is the embodiment of absolute good - his morality never wavers and he always finds his way back to standing against Voldemort, the avatar of absolute evil. Quentin Coldwater, the main character of The Magicians, is different. He makes mistakes - real, human mistakes - and pays for them dearly. In this respect, The Magicians is grittier and more real than Harry Potter, and thus is set apart. In the real world, some mistakes aren't rectified, some problems aren't resolved, and death is absolute.”

There is also a great book review, one of many that had Penguin releasing the book before the actual on sale date, at the Washington Post. It is by Keith Donohue, the author of the The Stolen Child, another fantastic read.

If you are in need for a fantasy fix, if the new Harry Potter movie left you remorseful that there is nothing new to be published, then The Magicians will be a perfect way to end the summer.

Right now, the The Magicians is 20% off in our Boswell’s Best for the month of August.


  1. SOLD, Jason! I'll have to try to stop in for this one while it's still on sale... And yes, The Stolen Child was an excellent read too.

    The HP movie did leave me remorseful, by the way. Not only because there's no more Rowling books on the way (for now, at least) but because the movie was terrible. Great cinematography, but they took way too many liberties and gutted the book.

    I wanted to see the Dursleys get their comeuppance. I wanted to see the Prime Minister meet the Minister of Magic. I wanted the House Elves (is Dobby even going to be in the final movies?). And Harry just standing there watching Dumbledore get offed (it happened MUCH differently in the book... Where was his cloak?) was simply unforgivable. Almost as unforgivable as not showing the funeral.

    I'm guessing this wasn't a spoiler for anyone at this point, was it??

  2. Ooh, I almost forgot... A new Vonnegut?!? Bokonon be praised! Spill, Jason! I need details. NOW.