Ex Libris Kirkland

Buy it from Amazon

First Written 2009
Genre Fiction
Origin US
Publisher Plume
ISBN-10 0452296293
ISBN-13 978-0452296299
My Copy library copy
First Read August 16, 2014

The Magicians

OK, first: this is great. It's essentially a modern litfic novel in a universe where magic is real, and absolutely everything else is the same. It's the first in a trilogy (the third book just came out this week). It's super smart, it's both a tribute and a rrrreally accurate skewering of Narnia and Hogwarts.

But the protagonist and his friends learn that magic doesn't lend any magic meaning to your life. He essentially has a 'Yer' a Wizard, Harry!' moment, and then has no Voldemort to fight. Did you like hanging out with depressed, selfish, privileged people in college? Would it be better if they could do magic? Would they like themselves better? The moral of this story is: no. Nope. Nope.

But that makes it sound dull - and it's not. It's a great read, it's just a different kind of book than Harry Potter. I think the highest praise I can give it is the comment I kept making to others as I was reading it: "I have no idea what this book is doing."

Noted on August 16, 2014

No one gets punished for anything. We do whatever we want, and that's all we do, and nobody stops us, and nobody cares.

Quoted on August 16, 2014

He wasn't in a safe little story where wrongs were automatically righted; he was still in the real world, where bad bitter things happened for no reason, and people paid for things that weren't their fault.

Quoted on August 16, 2014

“Sure, but real life’s not actually like that,” Quentin went on, fumbling after what he was sure was an important insight. “You don’t just go on fun adventures for good causes and have happy endings. You’re not going to be a character in a story, there’s nobody arranging everything for you. The real world just doesn’t work like that.”

Quoted on August 16, 2014

A magician is strong because he feels pain. He feels the difference between what the world is and what he would make of it. Or what did you think that stuff in your chest was? A magician is strong because he hurts more than others. His wound is his strength.

Quoted on August 16, 2014

In a way fighting was just like using magic. You said the words, and they altered the universe. By merely speaking you could create damage and pain, cause tears to fall, drive people away, make yourself feel better, make your life worse.

Quoted on August 16, 2014

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
Interested in talking about it?
Get in touch. You might also want to check out my other projects or say hello on twitter.