Intellectually precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater escapes the boredom of his daily life by reading and re-reading a series of beloved fantasy novels set in an enchanted land called Fillory. Like everybody else, he assumes that magic isn’t real - until he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in Upstate New York.
After stumbling through a Brooklyn alley in winter, Quentin finds himself on the grounds of the idyllic Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy in late summer. There, after passing a gruesomely difficult entrance examination, he begins a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery, while also discovering the joys of college: friendship, love, sex and booze. But something is missing. Even though Quentin learns to cast spells and transform into animals, and gains power he never dreamed of, magic doesn’t bring him the happiness and adventure he thought it would.
After graduation, he and his friends embark on an aimless, hedonistic life in Manattan, struggling with the existential crises that plague pampered and idle young sorcerers. Until they make a stunning discovery that propels them on a remarkable jouney, one that promises to finally fulfill Quentin’s yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than Quentin could have imagined. His childhood dream is a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing, The Magicians is a sweeping epic that pushes the fantasy genre into uncharted territory, imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions. Lev Grossman pays homage to the beloved fantasy novels of C. S. Lewis, T. H. White, and J. K. Rowling, and creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren’t black and white, love and sex aren’t simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.
“The Magicians is to Harry Potter as a shot of Irish whiskey is to a glass of weak tea.” — George R.R. Martin, bestselling author of A Game of Thrones
“The Magicians ought to be required reading for anyone who has ever fallen in love with a fantasy series, or wished they went to a school for wizards.” — Kelly Link, author of Magic for Beginners and Stranger Things Happen
“The Magicians brilliantly explores the hidden underbelly of fantasy and easy magic… It’s like seeing the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter through a 3-D magnifying glass.” — Naomi Novik, author of His Majesty’s Dragon
Leb Grossman is a senior writer and book critic for Time magazine and author of the international bestselling novel Codex. Grossman holds degrees in comparative literature from Harvard and Yale. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.