AUTHOR: LEV GROSSMAN
Details: Magician no. 1
Quentin Coldwater is an unhappy but highly intelligent teenager about to sit an interview for a college place when he finds his interviewer dead. When he leaves the office, he has been handed an envelope with his name on it which leads him to a place he never knew existed, where the seasons are out of sync with his normal world and where he finds himself sitting an entrance exam for Brakebills College, a school for magicians.
For Quentin, who has been attracted to the mythical and fantastical all his life, this seems to be a dream come true. And his life only gets better while he learns magic, makes friends and finds a girlfriend.
Things are never this easy though, and Quentin and his friends soon discover that while being able to perform magic may be great fun and a powerful experience most of the time, this new world is much like the one they left behind. There are dangers, responsibilities, people who would use you, and powers that corrupt. And once the idyll ends the young magicians find themselves facing dangers they couldn’t have imagined in an adventure not all of them will get out of in one piece.
Occasionally I finish a book not knowing exactly what I think or how I feel about it, and this is one of those books.
The story has all the elements to make for a fascinating tale and yet it failed to grip me. The book contains some descriptions which make it clear that this is a book aimed at adults, yet the story-line felt more young-adultish to me.
Quentin is a hard character to like. He is very self-obsessed, quick to feel sorry for himself and reluctant to take responsibility for himself and his actions. And although that could be explained by the fact that he is a teenager for most of the book, he doesn’t appear to grow out of these tendencies.
I also felt that the story was told in a very detached fashion. I never really felt drawn into the story or connecting with any of the characters. Although the story was intriguing enough to keep me turning the pages I never felt any emotional attachment to any of the characters and didn’t really care a whole lot about their fates.
On the other hand, I do find myself curious about what could possibly come next in this story. So despite my ambivalent feelings towards this book I think it is very likely that I’ll read the sequel in the not too distant future.