The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Magicians is a story about Quentin Coldwater, a young man from Brooklyn who has dreams of attending an Ivy League college but when an opportunity arises to attend Brakebills, an elite school for magic then Quentin embarks on 4 years of study to learn magic. He is obsessed with a series he read as a child about a fantasy world (not unlike Narnia) called Fillory, this makes up a large part of the story. The book spans quite a few years (the pacing is done amazingly well) so you get to see Quentin learn magic over a few years an ultimately you get to see what he uses his magic for upon graduating.
Quentin and his friends at Brakebills who are referred to as 'The Physical Kids', they comprise of Alice, Eliot, Josh, Janet and Penny. I really enjoyed these characters but particularly Alice and especially her relationship with Quentin. At times this was so intense it felt like they were real and you knew them, they experience so many highs and lows and every step of the way was wonderfully written.
Quentin as a protagonist is selfish, self centered and carries a huge sense of self entitlement, he doesnt even have that many redeeming qualities but this is what makes him such a great and controversial character. You see him change from a boy to a man (he Neville Longbottoms hard during the years). I also thought Eliot and Josh were great side line characters although you dont get too much in this book about them, its all about Alice and Quentin. I really hope that the next book has more about them in it.
Where do i even begin with this? The premise of this book is everything i typically dont like yet i loved it. The world building is second to none. The characters are diverse and relateable. The book is so action packed even for 550 pages, it keeps you guessing and drives you to carry on with the trilogy. It reads like Harry Potter condensed into one book with a little bit of Narnia thrown in to shake things up. You really get to see what the students endure each year, not dissimilar to HP.
The most intense part of the story for me is when Q plays a practical joke on one of his professors and the shit really hits the fan. I dont want to say too much in the hopes of keeping this as spoiler free as possible but its possibly the best part of the book for me.
People who enjoyed HP but who are looking for a more mature version with adult content such as strong language, violence and sex then this is definitely the story for you. I gave it 4 stars based on the world building and plot.