Friday, November 29, 2013

Book Review: The Magicians

TITLE: The Magicians
Book 1 in the Magicians series
AUTHOR: Lev Grossman
GENRE: Fantasy, witches/wizards
PREMISE: A guy gets into a magic school but learns that magic isn't all it's cracked up to be.
MY REVIEW: Does everyone remember when this book came out? I do and the way everyone billed it as "like Harry Potter but actual literature" was a honest turn off for me so I avoided it like the plague. I'm sorry I hate it when literature snobs latch onto a book and use it to bash a popular book and act like that book is better. Especially as usually the book in question is actually quite boring and tends to be condescending to the very readers it tries to aim itself at. I'm sorry I don't understand the whole "oh it's fantasy but it's LITERARY fantasy" type of deal. Just because something is literary, that does not automatically mean it's going to be better. Literature is a certain way of writing a book. It does NOT MEAN "automatically better then everything else". I wish book snobs would get that through their heads. Okay, I'm done. I swear.
Unfortunately that attitude is kind of what this book has. It has that whole air of trying way too hard that most of these critically acclaimed books tend to have. It doesn't help that none of the characters are remotely interesting or even really likable in any way. No, I don't think characters HAVE to be likable. But you better give me something or at least some reason for why your character is the way they are. I see absolutely NO reason for Quenten's behavior. He even says there's no reason for him to be miserable! He just is. I'm sorry, but I have zero patience for characters like that. That's like ninety percent of why I loathed Twilight.
On top of the unlikable and boring characters, the plot itself was just plain boring. I got what the author was doing with it: magic doesn't solve everything. Which, yes. But you can come up with more interesting ways to do that message. I can name several YA book series and adult series that do this same message but in much more entertaining ways. But I guess since they aren't "literary" they don't count or something.
To be frank, I didn't like it. I got what it was doing. The writing was pretty.But honestly, I thought it was just average. Certainly not at all worth the hype that surrounded it when it first came out. It's a shame too, because Lev Grossman himself is kind of awesome sounding in interviews. I guess this is a case of liking a author's personality more then their books. Usually it's the other way around for me (love the books, don't like the author ;cough;His Dark Materials;cough;).
WHO SHOULD READ: Um...not sure. Literature fans?
MY RATING: Three out of Five yawns

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