The Magicians (The Magicians #1) – Lev Grossman

The Magicians (The Magicians #1) – Lev GrossmanTitle: The Magicians (The Magicians #1) by Lev Grossman
Publishing Info: August 11, 2009 by Penguin
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: September 9, 2016
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Related Posts: The Magician King (The Magicians #2), The Magician's Land (The Magicians #3)

Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn't bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin's yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they'd imagined.


I had heard so many things about THE MAGICIANS before starting the book and naturally with the TV show having been out for quite some time, it was on my radar, piquing my curiosity. I purchased the audiobook through an Audible sale and when I was in the particular mood for it, it was finally time start it! I wasn’t totally sure how it would go since the TV show seems to be a little different (well, now that I’ve read it) so I had an idea in my head. I was happy and surprised at how the book turned out!

I loved the vibes and overall feeling right off the bat. It’s really Harry Potter meets Narnia for adults, so the comparisons really do kind of hold up there! The Harry Potter feel is much more in the beginning with a hidden magical school and an entire society of magicians that the “regular human” world doesn’t know anything about. I didn’t think the Narnia part would hold up, aside from the fictitious childhood favorite book of the characters, but then it really came in strong in the ending! I really got hooked on the overall vibe of the book and was left wanting to immediately continue the series! There were a few things that I thought we could have done without here and there but overall, it was an engaging read and quite different than your stereotypical or trope-y fantasy/magic school story. I really loved the adult feel to it (although some moments felt somewhat unnecessary) but I always love the feel of a childhood favorite that now has an adult edge. It’s fun to see characters learning about a magical school in an older setting and how differently things are handled as older teens/new adults.

I think my one real “hang-up” about the book is that it was quite piece-y. The book was a lot of moments of the school year (to start with, adult life later on) all put together, but unlike in other books that deal with long periods of time, this book didn’t quite flow like I had hoped. BUT there were plenty of interesting and quite shocking moments that really kept me interested and these moments really did end up bringing the book together. I think the book spanned a longer period of time than I had expected and I was surprised how quickly it jumped all the way through Quentin’s entire school career. I knew this was more of an adult book but I had expected the schooling part to be more drawn out. It was actually really interesting though… sort of a line between a children’s/MG/young adult magical novel and an adult magical novel. The focus is quite different and looking back on it, I think it’s neat to see the different perspective that an overall plot arc might have with the final result on a character becoming an adult instead of just the years of school.

The ending was not what I was expecting but it was quite good! After a few lulls from random bits of time at school, I wasn’t quite sure where the book would even end up… But it really all did come together in the end! This was one of those things that I probably should have seen coming but I TOTALLY DIDN’T and it was awesome. It also definitely left things open for the next book and sure had me itching to pick up book two! I’ll have to find some time to sit down with this one since it’s a longer audio but I definitely want to continue on!


“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!



Kept Me Hooked On: Adult Fiction. I read some adult fantasy from time to time but it’s really more high fantasy than anything. This was a fun way to branch out my adult reading into a fantasy with a bit more realism.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot connection. My one big wish for this book is that it had flowed a bit more. Everything was sequential but it really felt choppy and I wished things had felt more cohesive.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

Even if you don’t read a lot of adult, I think this could be a really good crossover for YA fans. The magical school really helps bring in fans of Harry Potter and there is that total Narnia connection later on!



(Click the cover to see my review!)


Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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3 thoughts on “The Magicians (The Magicians #1) – Lev Grossman

  1. Alexa S.

    My husband and I (and a couple of our friends) really enjoyed the show, and we’re all looking forward to the second season. We actually just snagged copies of the books in this series fairly recently, and I can’t wait to give them a read! So glad to hear that you enjoyed them 🙂

  2. Amanda

    I loved this book and the sequel so much! So very adult though. I have to do a reread because I’ve not read the final book still; I don’t want the series to end in my head! I should make myself get on it though before the next season of the show comes out.

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