The Magicians by Lev Grossman
In a secret world of forbidden knowledge, power comes at a terrible price …
Quentin Coldwater’s life is changed forever by an apparently chance encounter: when he turns up for his entrance interview to Princeton he finds his interviewer dead – but a strange envelope bearing Quentin’s name leads him down a very different path to any he’d ever imagined.
The envelope, and the mysterious manuscript it contains, leads to a secret world of obsession and privilege, a world of freedom and power and, for a while, it’s a world that seems to answer all Quentin’s desires. But the idyll cannot last – and when it’s finally shattered, Quentin is drawn into something darker and far more dangerous than anything he could ever have expected …
I award this novel 5 stars.
Quinten is a mathematical genius. Though he’s the top of his class, Quinten feels as if he doesn’t quite belong, that perhaps he was meant for something else. (A feeling I’m familiar with.) Brakebells reveals a life that he was born to be part of. Inserting him in with other students of equal or better talents.
Not only is the story set in an urban fantasy setting but the novel also makes way for the introduction to Fillory. A world thought to be only an author’s creation, that later turns out to actually exist.
The magicians have a magic system with clear consequences for misuse and a unique way of performing the spells by using finger signals. I loved the distinctive performance of casting magic.
The plot drives a suspenseful and engaging momentum. Lev Grossman writes a dark and addictive fantasy, with entertaining and inspirational descriptions. A smart and gripping view of complex relationships. Whilst delving into the experiences of new adulthood. With amusing pop culture references, that bring well-developed characters to life.
The young adults experiment with the excitements of magic and life, giving into impulses and crashing into the fallout of their consequences.
The Magicians is the first in a trilogy and has been made into a successful TV series. I highly recommend bingeing on both.