Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

This big, juicy cross between Harry Potter, the Narnia books and Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar Tapestry has adult themes and is aimed at grown-up readers. Quentin Coldlake is the central protagonist, but as with Harry Potter, he is surrounded by a cohort of friends attending the same college of magic.

I listened to the Penguin audiobook [17 hours] narrated by Mark Bramhall. There's a lot of dialogue, which moves things right along. I liked that Bramhall had different voices for each character, since this helped to keep straight who was who.

Grossman's word choices irked me at times, as when he called Quentin's parents their usual glassine selves (when "glassy" would have made more sense in the context) or saying that studying spells was "backbreaking" work. Another minor annoyance was mention of two Inuit students who came from the same reservation in Saskatchewan - either they were Cree or from some other First Nation (not Inuit), or else they were from a territory, not a reservation, and definitely not Saskatchewan.

Quibbles aside, The Magicians is an engrossing fantasy quest adventure that evokes books I loved when I was younger. I've just received an email notice that it's my turn for the digital audiobook of the sequel, The Magician King.

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