The Magicians by Lev Grossman (audio review w/giveaway!)

Quintin Coldwater is less than content hanging out with his two best friends James and Julia.  He wasn’t always this discontented.

Yet when James and Julia started being more than friends, it just got AWKWARD.  It probably didnt help that Quintin also kind of had a thing for Julia.

When an incident has Quintin chasing a paper up a tree, he finds himself in quite literally, another world.  He is told that this is Brakebills Academy, a school for magic.  Soon Quintin finds himself hanging out with the select few that pass the entrance exams.  Although these teenagers are unknown to him, they seem to all have in common the love for a set of magical childrens books that took place in an imaginary land called Fillary.

But – as Quintin starts to learn, where really is that line between real and imagination?  When he makes friends with the ever moody Penny, and the sweet Alice, things start to happen.  As their magical powers become stronger they find themselves set upon a mission that no one could have ever dreamed up. 

What do you do when the things of beloved fictional books suddenly become real? And what would you give… to have everything you ever wanted?

Why did I listen to this audio?

This audio book was recommended to my by John from Brilliant audio while I was in New York for BEA.  He described it as very Harry Potterish and I was sold.  😀

Opening words:  Quintin did a magic trick.  Nobody noticed.

Imagine if JK Rowling would have written another book about Harry Potter in his college years… they could have called it Butter Beers College for Wizards, and THAT is what The Magicians is like. 

Well… scratch that.  That is what I THOUGHT I wanted The Magicians to be like.  Always on my continuing search for the next Harry Potter book, I was hoping that was it… and it was, and it wasn’t.   Yes The Magicians is a story of magical teenagers, going to school to learn their craft, but The Magicians does not have the innocence of the Potter books.  For starters this is COLLEGE.  And college means parties, and beer (not butter beer) and relationships.  And I admit at first that bothered me…

Then I got over it because this is not Hogwarts.  It is Brakebill.  And this is not Harry.  It is Quintin.

The Magicians really is fantastic on audio.  Narrator Mark Bramhall did a fantastic job managing the many characters and in a way that made it hard for me to shut this audio off. 

The teens of The Magicians are very likeable.  We don’t get to know them all very well, a few float in and out of the conversations but a few like Quintin, Alice, and even Penny, you get to know a little better.  They feel real, they are flawed… they are lazy teenagers, they are cocky and competitive.  And if you were ever a teenager in college I suspect you can relate. 

In the beginning I felt that this was so Harry Potter, three friends, two guys one girl…. uh huh…there is even a Quidich reference in the book!  Towards the middle through the end it felt way more Narnia.  The series of books Quintin and his friends all read as children about this other world… talking animals, etc… but it all works.

I recommend this read if you enjoy a deeply layered well-developed fantasy read and if you like good audio, I say definitely try this one in audio!

**I noticed on Amazon’s synopsis it mentions sex and yes, there are a couple of instances but nothing over the top.

For audio book week if you have an account I will send one lucky commenter on this post a gift of this audio through gifts.  If you do not have an audible account I will send you a $10 Amazon gift card to hopefully be used on an audio book that you will enjoy, maybe even this one! 😀

Amazon Rating

Goodread Review (hear a sample here!)

49 Comments on “The Magicians by Lev Grossman (audio review w/giveaway!)

  1. It sounds interesting. I’ve been busy today downloading a couple and making lists of many more audio books to try. It’s been a fun week and we still have a couple more days to go.
    I will hold off on the Magicians, because I’m going to win! hahahahaaaa—-
    Have a good day…. I have book club tonight! Yay!

  2. Maybe I would have liked this better if I’d listened on audio. I just read this two weeks ago and hated every minute of it! I didn’t think any of the characters were likeable, and I just wanted them to shut up and stop angsting away the entire book, haha! Ah well. I’m glad it worked for you!!

    • LOL – I think I could have had similar feelings if I had tried to read it… I did enjoy the audio… and I heard the second one is better so yeah… I downloaded it.

  3. I have this in hardcover, but haven’t had time to read it yet. I’m glad you liked it, bodes well for me then.

  4. I’ve had this on my to-read list for ages, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually read a review/heard anyone mention it. Glad to see it’s a great story, and a great audiobook, too! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  5. Great review, Sheila! I absolutely cannot wait to read this book. Just as soon as I get caught up… Although, maybe audio is the solution for that as I can listen while doing other things.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. This does sound interesting … I thought the premise pretty interesting when I first came across the book, but wasn’t sure I wanted to pick it up. Thanks for sharing.

    • I am a pretty die hard Potter fan and I personally don’t think it came close to the JK quality, but definitely – good listening!

  7. I think I with Amanda on this, maybe if I had listened to it rather than read it, I would have liked it more. I just went back and reread my review of it, and I think I was kinder than I should have been. I couldn’t stand any of the chacters, but for some reason I felt compelled to find out what happened next. It’s one case where I liked and hated the book at the same time.

    Excellet review and you have made me curious enough that I may have to listen to it, and see what I think then.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    • When Amanda said that Ryan I had to think twice about what I liked about them, and came up short other than the fact I felt I understood them…. I think I would have felt the same if I had read it – without having a voice put to it other than my own I think it would have fallen short.

  8. THE MAGICIANS looks like such an amazing read. Thank you for the giveaway.


  9. I’ve just started listening to audiobooks on my drive to work and find that I need something with a fast plot to keep my attention – otherwise my mind tends to wander. Sounds like this might fit the bill! Thanks Sheila!

  10. Thank you for the giveaway. I’d like to be counted in for the gift card please.

  11. I have been on the fence about this one for awhile. Audio may be the way to go. Thanks for the chance to win it and give it a try!

  12. This one looks soooo good! I’m definitely going to put it on my audible wishlist and listen to it after The Passage.

  13. Lately when i try to read a book I think, maybe it would be better if I were listening to it, which I know sounds silly, but maybe as an audio listener it will make sense. This one is going on my list of books to look for!

  14. I loved the Harry Potter serious. I will have to check this one out. I’ve just recently started listening to audio books.

  15. would love to ‘listen’ to this novel, sheila…thanks for the chance 😉

  16. I’ve had this book on my shelf forever. I’ve now been working through those TBR books via audios. This one might be next!

  17. I’m definitely going to be looking this one up! I hope that our library has it on audio too, since I do love good fantasy on audio while I clean. 🙂

  18. I’m glad you liked it! I read this one in print just before Lev Grossman did a signing in my town. I wanted to know what he was talking about. I enjoyed it but the only thing that has *really* stuck with me is that crazy trip to Antarctica. And that was probably my least favorite part! Weird how your brain works, isn’t it?

  19. I’m always fascinated by what people think of this particular book. It generated probably the best discussion my book club has ever had, and we still use Quentin as a benchmark character. I liked the first section–very much Hogwarts if it was college. I got frustrated by the time they got to the Narnia section. I just got so fed up with Quentin’s apathy!

    • I love great book discussions. I agree with you that I liked the beginning more than the end… connecting to Hogwarts is always a win with me 😀

  20. Pingback: Book Review: “The Magicians” « The Cheap Reader

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