Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Audiobook Wednesdays: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

This took me forever to get through. It's not because it wasn't a great book or not an entertaining listen, they were, but the snow storm kept me home (which was good) but also prevented me from listening to it until my drive resumed.

This book is leaps and bounds better to listen to then The Maze Runner. There, I said it. The language is much more colorful and the voice actor just embodies the character of Quentin much more than Thomas... but I also think that Thomas, other than the fact that he was a very smart kid that was used for a science experiment to help save the world, was a very bland character. I'm sure that the reader for the audiobook did the best he could with what he had.

I also think The Magicians is just a better book than The Maze Runner. The Magicians was definitely written for the Harry Potter crowd, a bunch of college students who waited for their Hogwarts letter and gave up hope... until Brakebills.

There are a few things that I don't like about this universe. I find it odd that Brakebills, a university, has uniforms and curfews. Like the Harry Potter series, what magic is used for has not been revealed yet, and almost makes it a joke that the magicians that studied at the school go on to become teachers, because what else were they going to do?

I watched the first episode of the new show that's on SyFy which I'll get into in another post, but I will say that I am very glad that I decided to listen to the audiobook instead of waiting to be done with the series.

First off, Quentin is a "butthurt," someone that feels like the world owes something to them. It's a refreshing point of view. He sort of mirrors that early 20 something viewpoint of "when is my life going to start?" and "there has to be something more than this." He goes on a journey and "grows up" during the course of the book. I put that in quotation marks because even though he obtains new friends, a girlfriend and learns magic, he still remains the same person at the beginning of the book. He's the protagonist, or maybe anti-protagonist(?) but he's not likeable, at all. However, Grossman does a good job of making other characters very likeable, and even though it's through Quentin's point of view, the reader sees the other characters, especially Alice and enjoys them throughout the book.

Grossman really takes his time developing multiple characters. Again, it's through the point of view of Quentin, but you become familiar and care about Elliot, Alice, Janet, Penny and even Josh and Richard. So when Grossman takes off running towards the climax of the book, you listen so intently and I found myself sitting in the car when I came home so I could listen to a few more minutes. What I appreciate the most is that Grossman does not do any favors for Quentin and shows, through the actions of his friends, that Quentin is a despicable character but also allows him, towards the end of the book, to reflect on his actions thus far, and make changes to them.

The pacing of the book is also something I have not read in awhile. Usually, these fantasy books have the vibe of "The Chosen One" and defeating the great evil that plagues the land. However, for Book 1 and Book 2, there is a lot of foreshadowing and world creation, but concentrates on Quentin's journey through becoming a Magician. It allows the reader to really explore the magical world, and their terrifying consequences of people who "have everything." When the group decides to take their magical journey, other characters decide to step up and in essence, is the chosen one.

I really enjoyed the book, and I can't wait to either read, or listen to the second book. My two credits on audible is up, but I do have another credit to spend now that I'm an audible member. Any suggestions? Comment below!

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