Friday, February 19, 2010

The Magicians

Mean Mr. Mustard (he no longer gets a link, because he no longer blogs) mentioned that he was reading The Magicians. I ordered it from the Dakota County library and read it over the long weekend. Excellent. It's Harry Potter, but de-bowdlerized. The teenagers are so angsty it hurts, and exacerbate it with drugs, alcohol and magic. The idea that magic is just another substance that teenagers use to escape is woven through the book, but so is the idea that it's incredibly difficult and seldom used because of the complexity. At least until the end/climax when things start to really get wild. Add a bit of Chronicles of Narnia gone scary, and you've got the idea. The only thing that I didn't enjoy was the ending, but that's just my dystopic tendencies showing through. If a book has a dark tone, I want it to end on a dark tone. Or at least a darker tone than you might get if there's a glimmer of hope.

Some of my favorite bits that don't give the plot away.

Grossman's reference to The Phantom Tollbooth. I've never heard another author mention it, and Eryn and I were just finishing up the book when I started The Magicians. If you have a kid, don't read them The Magicians. But definitely read them The Phantom Tollbooth. The story of a kid in search of the princesses Rhyme and Reason with the dog Tock is a a classic. I had to explain something new about language or numbers to Eryn every few pages, much to her delight.

This piece: "'Are you kidding? That guy was a mystery wrapped in an enigma and crudely stapled to a ticking fucking time bomb. He was either going to hit somebody or start a blog. To tell you the truth I'm kind of glad he hit you." (107).

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