Author: Lev Grossman
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy
Length: 432 pages
Quentin is a seventeen-year old prodigy who enjoys performing magic tricks. On the surface, he seems to have everything and anticipates being accepted into a prestigious college soon. However, he feels there is more to life and can’t enjoy what he has. He dreams of living in a place called Fillory, the fantasy world in his favorite children’s books.
One day Quentin is whisked through a secret portal to Brakebills where he is immediately tested and accepted. It is a school for magic located in upstate New York but is protected from discovery by magical spells that keep the school hidden.
At Brakebills, Quentin discovers magic is real. Over his four years at Brakebills he is immersed in a new world of friendship and magical spells. But once the novelty of magic wears off, Quentin is still unhappy and continues to search for something more.
This is an intriguing book and reminded me of Harry Potter crossed with The Chronicles of Narnia, but for a college-aged person. The first four-fifths of the novel read as light-fantasy. But the last fifth, when they crossed into Fillory, read as high fantasy.
I loved Quentin’s time at Brakebills and going through the magic curriculum with him. I felt Quentin’s excitement as he discovered magic was real. Personally, I would have liked the book to end during this time as I prefer happy endings.
However, that is not real life and the author did a great job of keeping Quentin true to his own depressive, precocious personality. I experienced Quentin’s disappointment when he realized magic did not make him happy. I felt his depression upon graduation when he was thrust back into the real world into a life of one non-stop drunken state. And then, when he got what he always dreamed of — a chance to go to Fillory, I felt his fear at discovering his ideal Fillory wasn’t what he imagined. Instead, it was quite dangerous and the humans did not always emerge victorious.
I would like to read the next two books in the series to see where they take Quentin and learn if he can ever find true happiness.
I am a member of two book clubs, and we read a variety of genres. Plus, as a Young Adult author, I read a lot YA and MG books to improve my writing. And as a mother, I am always on the lookout for good books for my children.
If you would like to read more of my reviews, check out my ratings at Christine at Goodreads. If you like them, please send me a friend request.
Thank you for reading this post.