Adult · Lev Grossman · The Magicians

The Magicians (The Magicians #1) by Lev Grossman


Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. He’s a senior in high school, and a certifiable genius, but he’s still secretly obsessed with a series of fantasy novels he read as a kid, about the adventures of five children in a magical land called Fillory. Compared to that, anything in his real life just seems gray and colorless.

Everything changes when Quentin finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the practice of modern sorcery. He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. But something is still missing. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he though it would.

Then, after graduation, he and his friends make a stunning discovery. (


TheMagiciansLev Grossman’s The Magicians is a cross between Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia, but it is not as good as these books. However, since I like both of these series, I found this book to be interesting. Even though this review may sound very negative, I still recommend reading the book and enjoying it despite its flaws.


I found the story to be entertaining and engaging, and it was a rather unpredictable fantasy novel. That is why I liked the book as much as I did. Even though it has a few similarities to the aforementioned books, there were still some aspects that were original and kept me reading. I also liked that in this book magic is actually hard to do and has its consequences. You have to be a genius (to start off with) and then take a series of special tests just to get into the college.

One thing I didn’t like about the plot was that it felt a little rushed.  The characters spent five years at their college of magic and it was over half way through the book. There wasn’t much detail about the inside of the school or the classes they had to take, and too much detail about all the sex and drinking that was going on. It was pretty much just a brief overview of the college of magic and what the characters have to go through to graduate. Then, the rest of the book is everything that happens after graduation, which consists of a lot of drinking, sex, and hanging around in an apartment for quite a bit of time until someone decides to go to another dimension. A lot of the book is also spent describing the Fillory books, including details about the characters in it, as well as the creatures and main plot points.

Basically, describing the 5 years at the school, what happens in the Fillory books, and what happens after graduation was just a little too much information for such a short book. If it was a little longer with more important details in it then it might have been even more entertaining than it was.


I didn’t see much character development throughout the entire book. Quentin was depressed no matter what happened. Even when his dreams come true he still wants something more. I just got annoyed by all of his unhappiness and making bad choices. That just made a lot of the book depressing. However, I did like Alice. I think she was the only character I really enjoyed. There was a little bit of character development with her and I felt like I knew her better than the rest of the characters. Also,the other characters you don’t get to know very well, which makes it difficult to remember who is who towards the end of the book.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I did enjoy the book and would recommend it to anyone who likes Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia because it has aspects from those books. Just don’t go into it believing that it is Harry Potter for adults because its not as good. I am glad that I read the book because it just felt like a different experience, and I will be reading the sequel. I just wont be reading this particular book again.

My Rating: 3/5 stars!


View this book on Amazon and Goodreads!

Author’s Website

My other reviews in this series:

The Magician King

Hazel and Quentin’s Favorite Books (

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s off to Fillory We Go! (

reginadelmar’s #CBRV review #33 The Magicians by Lev Grossman (

Lev Grossman Will Crush Your Dreams (

Clap your Hands if you Believe in Magic, Mr. Grossman (

3 thoughts on “The Magicians (The Magicians #1) by Lev Grossman

  1. Certainly no Harry Potter for adults, but it was a good story. I totally agree with you, that it was too rushed. I felt that it could have been a more fleshed out series and we would really have connected with the characters more.

    1. I am hoping that when I read the second book I will be able to connect with the characters more. I also hope to see more of Fillory, since the world building wasn’t very well done in this book.

      1. I really loved the writing in the second book, and quite enjoyed it, but the ending pretty much ruined my love for it. I hope you enjoy it more! And yes, you get to see more Fillory, and it’s slower so you get more time with the characters.


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