The Magicians by Lev Grossman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I began this book thinking it was a Harry Potter rip-off. Kids are mysteriously summoned to a secret school for magic. They are "sorted" into groups by specific talents. There are exams and a school game, much like Quiddich. As the pages turned, I realized it is a more grown-up version of the Potter series (if not as fully developed- it's only one book!), and more focused on relationships and the inner transformation of Quintin, the main character. The author references Potter and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, both of which are clearly influences. But the references serve to show the distinction between the novels, not heighten or cheapen their similarity.
Don't look for a lot of magic words or specific spells in this book- they are few and far between. What you do get is a sometimes heartbreaking story of longing, fear, love and loss. A plot that hinges on decisions made and re-made. A cautionary tale of what can happen when you really do obtain your heart's desire. A book that makes you examine the true meaning of happiness.
Highly recommended for Potter lovers, as well as anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, special, or just downright unhappy with their lot in life. Not a quick read, but I will definitely be looking for more books by this author.
View all my reviews