The Magicians

The Magicians

A Novel

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he's secretly fascinated with a series of children's fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing by comparison. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory. The land of his childhood fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined....
Publisher: New York, New York :, A Plume book,, 2015.
Edition: Television tie-in edition.
ISBN: 9780399576645
Branch Call Number: FIC GROS
Characteristics: 402 pages, 18 pages : illustration ; 22 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Jul 17, 2019

I wouldn't say this was like either Harry Potter or Narnia, unless it was Harry Potter condensed into 200 pages and someone had only read an excerpt of Narnia. I didn't find any of the characters that remarkable and I didn't love most choices at the ending.

Jul 03, 2019

Unfortunately, it really feels like this story starts off very slow and I was constantly waiting for things to happen. I usually prefer imperfect characters but some of the major players were pretty dislikeable.

Dec 27, 2018

Awhile ago I watched the SyFy series that came after this book, and recently decided to read it. A lot of the things that appealed to me with the show are present in this first in the trilogy, though there are some big differences. If you've ever felt completely absorbed into a fantastic story it might appeal to you. It feels very realistic while being fantastic, and it was easy for me to connect to the characters, even when I didn't always like them.

Dec 10, 2018

If you loved the television show "The Magicians" on Syfy, this is the book that inspired it. It is VERY different in many ways, but it is just as amazing of a story as the show. Definitely worth the read, and hands down just as hilarious and dark as the show.

Dec 08, 2018

Highly recommend this book if you like your fantasy worlds dark, gritty, and messy. The characters are flawed and not always likable, but more realistic as a result. There were moments that made me laugh and moments that shocked me. This book will get multiple reads from me.

Parents, this is one to read yourself first before your teen gets a hold of it; there are a lot of dark themes and emotional maturity is a must. That being said, my teen read it, and immediately thereafter the whole series, and he loved it. We have had several deep conversations about the books.

Young college-aged students from New York are selected to attend a magical academy of learning. After graduation, they find themselves in a post-grad rut and somewhat jaded. This all changes when a friend from school discovers a way into a land that was once thought to be fiction, based on the childhood storybooks of their youth. This book is a good read for people who enjoyed the Harry Potter series, as well as the Chronicles of Narnia, but with more edge. The characters are flawed, there is a darker, gritty, more cynical feel to the story, and the characters themselves are put into adult situations, none of which you would find in a kid-friendly story like Harry Potter and Narnia. Recommended for 17+ readers. (submitted by EM)

Oct 26, 2018

If you can imagine a horny Harry Potter who is absolutely obsessed with the Chronicles of Narnia, congratulations, you've just read this entire book

Sep 24, 2018

Quentin Coldwater is that guy drinking his fifteen-dollar Icelandic black coffee out of a chipped mason jar while he writes a twelve-page poem about how cheating on his girlfriend made him sad. I give it six months until there's a mass exodus out of Fillory to get away from Quentin stealing everyone's weed and asking them if they've read Kafka yet. Alice deserved better.

WestSlope_TheaH Aug 21, 2018

The first book in one of my favorite fantasy trilogies, Grossman’s tale is a delightfully dark spin on a world in which magic is real---a mash-up of Narnia and Harry Potter but decidedly for adults. Complex characters, a fast-paced plot, a gritty writing style, and a story both bleak and dazzling all make this an easy book to recommend.

It's also been adapted to the screen as a TV show on SyFy---a fun way to re-experience the books and see a magical world come to life.

May 05, 2018

As my sister bought me this book I had little prior knowledge to the story before jumping in. It started out alright, much the same as other YA novels do with a discontented protagonist pining after a girl he couldn't have. I thought the book would focus on that relationship and Quentin getting over his myriad of other problems. But oh was I wrong. From the moment Quentin stepped foot in Brakebills I was in love.

Hogwarts had never looked so edgy. All the areas of magic JKR had ignored to make her books more appropriate to a younger audience were brought out in full force in The Magicians. After so many years in the muggle world I was brought back into a school of magic. But magic in Brakebills isn't the frivolous wand waving we see in Hogwarts. It's hard work. Every Brakebills student is a veritable genius, which is very much a pre-requisite for learning magic. Harry Potter magic is to Magicians magic as buying a loaf of bread is to making it. In Harry Potter you recite the incantation, wave the wand, focus a bit, and voila. You have your perfectly portioned baguette. In the Magicians you need a nigh encyclopedic knowledge of bread before you even get started. What type of flour will you use? How long do you need to let it rise? What temperature do you bake it at? For how long? Is it dawn or dusk? What stage is the moon in? Every little details matters.

As our main character Quentin soon finds out, magic is work. Hard work. Perhaps much more than he was prepared for. Quentin is depressed. It's in his nature. Much of the story focuses on how Quentin, who seems to be getting everything he ever wanted, is never quite satisfied. He learns that he may not even be the hero of his own story. Having Quentin be so flawed, is one of the main reasons I love the story. It's so refreshing to have a realistic and fallible main character.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability
Jul 21, 2017

Runner4ever thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Jun 15, 2017

Yamallamah98 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

Mar 02, 2017

michellekwruck thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Jan 20, 2016

WeirdCammy thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


Add a Quote
Apr 06, 2011

The truth doesn't always make a good story, does it? But I think I tied up most of the loose threads. I'm sure you can fill in the rest, if you really think about it.

Dec 20, 2010

Nobody wanted to admit they were frightened, so they took the only other option, which was to be irritable instead.

Aug 12, 2010

He wasn’t sure they were friends, exactly, but she was unfolding a little. He felt like a safecracker who—partly by luck—had sussed out the first digit in a lengthy, arduous combination.


Add a Summary
Mar 02, 2017

The main character is a self-loathing teen who hasn't been able to let go of his childhood obsession with a series of fantasy novels about a magical world called Fillory. What a surprise when he discovers first that magic is real, and then that Fillory is too. Unfortunately, for him, neither prove to be all that he'd dreamed they were as a child. While there is a clear and strong plot throughout the book, the novel seems to be mostly about the main character's struggle with his own unhappiness. Magic doesn't do it. A new girlfriend doesn't do it. Entering Fillory doesn't do it. In many ways it's a psychological journey more than a fantasy journey. Be prepared for a level of self-pity and self-loathing that will have you rolling your eyes and hoping this kid will grow up.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings

APL owns a similar edition of this title.

View originally-listed edition

Report edition-matching error

To Top