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The Magicians

The Magicians - Lev Grossman Oh my GOD, Lev Grossman must have the world's most thumbed-through thesaurus. No, to be fair, he probably just knows a lot of pretty words, but holy cats, I have never been so grateful for the Fire's built-in dictionary.

Really, most of the characters in The Magicians are pretentious brats. They remind me of the kids in The Secret History or Dean's Tam Lin, but more obnoxious. The main character, Quentin, is deeply unlikeable most of the time, and the prose is overwrought to the point of eye-rolling, although that may just be a failing on my part, a preference for less showmanship. I like poetic descriptions but at a certain point they get to be too much, like when describing a garbage truck: ". . . its pneumatic biceps gleaming as it greedily consumed whatever its overalled attendants flung into it, ingesting what the city had expectorated." Have you ever watched a plastic bag being flung around by the wind? Deep, man.

I like that actions in the book have actual consequences, even if they seem to be brushed off or forgotten at times: the Monster eating Amanda Orloff, and then a few chapters later Quentin pouting because there's "no great evil to be vanquished."

I didn't like most of the characters; of course, Quentin is full of self-loathing, so I guess that makes it okay. When Alice gives her speech about how Quentin hurts everyone who loves him because he's getting even with them for loving him, I want to tell him, IT'S OKAY QUENTIN, I HATE YOU TOO.

And my favorite thing (in an Opposite Day way) is how the Monster's motivation for staying in Fillory is explained away all offhanded and ridiculously, tossed over Jane's shoulder as she walks out the door. Good grief.

You know, though, all that said, I might read the next book. It kept me hooked! I don't like 95% of the characters, and the writing irritated me a lot of the time, but damned if I didn't read the whole thing.


ETA 4/17: After much reflection, I have decided there's no way in hell I'm subjecting myself to another book's worth of those tools and that writing, so I'm going to Wikipedia the plots of the other books. CHEATING! IT'S WHAT QUENTIN WOULD DO!


(two-and-a-half stars)

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