Quentin felt different. He’s always felt different. Quentin grew up in Brooklyn, was a straight-A student, part of the gifted program in every school that he has attended. He had the makings for a happy teenager, but never was. His only solace was in his favorite childhood books (depicting the adventures of the Chatwin children in the fabled land of Fillory – think Narnia) and his dime a dozen magic tricks.
Quentin was on his way to a college interview when his life changed. The interviewer was dead. The paramedic found an envelope with his name written on the front, inside… the never published final book of the Fillory series. Quentin was mesmerized with his findings, on his way back to his home, a page from the manuscript flies out of his hand and into a garden. He was in hot pursuit in the cold New York winter until he found himself at the end of the garden, looking into the summer sky of Upstate New York.
This was Quentin’s invitation to his real college interview, at the academy of Brakebills. After an afternoon of grueling exams, he was given an offer. He could join Brakebills, a school that studied magical arts, or he could go home and his memory would be wiped clean, he would never remember this experience. He could go on to Ivy League, eventually end up in an office, shuffling paper and pretending that life was exciting.
He chose magic.
This is the first installment of a trilogy; I’m a bit behind the times on The Magicians. I picked this copy up at a library sale several years ago; I wish I had read it sooner. Grossman’s writing mixes the world of J.K. Rowling with that of C.S. Lewis. The beginning is a bit slow as we grow to understand the rules of this world that we’ve been introduced too. This is an adult book. Imagine Harry Potter with sex and drugs, but not exactly R-rated, yet. I found it very interesting and at times sharp the way that Grossman speaks to the routines of life, the monotony of life, even though you may get your hearts desire, happiness and contentment is a much harder quest.
“I got my heart’s desire, he thought, and there my troubles began.”