The Magicians
by Lev Grossman
(Viking, $26.95) ISBN 978-0670020553
*****
Seventeen year-old Quentin Coldwater has always had a knack for card tricks and an almost perverse interest in a childrenís fantasy book series, so itís almost no surprise that when he heads off for his Princeton interview he ends up following a wayward slip of paper through a mysterious thicket that leads to an exclusive, and highly secretive, private school for burgeoning magicians instead.

Yes, it all sounds very Harry-ish, and youíll find nods to Tolkien and Lewis as well, but The Magicians has the snark of Bartimaeus, the delight of the Mad Hatter, and the heart of the Tin Man all splashed with adult doses of alcohol, emphatic (read: very strong) language, and enough romance to create its own teams for fans.†

Itís as if Grossman has taken the same ingredients and created a twisted, darker, more introspective story where the magic becomes secondary to the character development.† With humor, imagination and great characterizations Grossman has managed to create a coming-of-age story filled with wild adventure that takes a bite out of predictable fantasy.

--Laura Johnson


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