Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Review: The Magicians - Lev Grossman

The Magicians
Lev Grossman
Series: The Magicians, #1
Genre: Fantasy, Magic
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Well, Different.
On Goodreads


Don't hound me, I do have reasons. I would have kept reading, and I really did want to but I'm sorry, I just couldn't anymore

This book does have some good qualities, which is why I haven't shut it down completely.

It's light and reads fairly easily to read. There's lots of sarcasm! Some of the lines are just absolutely brilliant and some of the scenes are thoroughly exciting and well transitioned and oh so fluid. The commentary on Harry Potter through the modern, realistic eyes of our narrator is pretty cool. The school and Quentin's obsession with Fillory are fantastically portrayed.

And that's where it stops. I can't simply praise and love a book for the few gold nuggets it contains.

The reason it's light and reads easily is because there is no 'showing', there's just a hell of a lot of info dumping, description, delineation, so that the book becomes more or less completely perceptive to the surrounding of the book, rather than placing the reader in the active plot. So it's the anti-contemporary Fantasy novel, yeah? Yeah. There are different ways to critique and display a different style of writing from the genre of the book you are writing . . . this is not one of those ways. It conflicts with one of the main tenants of such a book: the reader has to be engaged.

Yes, I understand there is a small group who wish to be floored with the 'tell' aspect. Yes, I understand that being anti-fantasy is all this book is about, but one has to be deceptive about an anti-book. Grossman simply scares us off with this, makes the first half of the book, the "Harry Potter" half, much more awkward than it has to be. I can't even gather myself to analyze this anymore it's so frustrating.

The entirety of the first half reads like this: "Here's something I didn't like in Harry Potter. Here's my cool, modern version. Ooh let's talk about something else, like Quentin's alcoholism. What a guy, eh?"
Literally, check it out . . . I'm too mad to copy lines from this book, I can't look at it anymore.

And the worst part of this whole anti-genre crap? There is no social message. You won't walk away thinking "wow that guy really had something to say about the fantastical and fallacious portrayal of human beings". Here's a hint: he doesn't. He takes the saying "people never change" and stretches it to the sun and back. Fantasy novels portray humans of all kinds, the best and the worst, and we usually find ourselves in the eyes of the 'best', growing alongside them, however dark it may become or they may become. Human nature is not so facile to be reduced to Quentin Coldwater's less-than-tepid selfish arrogant buttfacery.

See, I know that people suck. I'm not an idiot. People like to think they are the centers of the universe, or in the opposite, that they don't matter at all. People like to just suck. But that's not the point. Grossman had a chance here. A wonderful opportunity to portray Quentin slowly realizing the fallacy of the fantasy world he's being chucked in. But no, he's just a little prick and dresses it up as depression, which it isn't, ruining it for anyone who suffers. He's a cynic, and dresses it up as skepticism, which ruins it for any freethinkers . . . I just don't understand what Grossman was trying to do. He seems to be tackling so much that it just collapses.

I predicted the end and couldn't bring myself to finish, I'm sorry. I quit.

- Marlon

I'm anti-question so no questions. Ha!*
Let us know in the comments!
I'm still angry about this book.

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