Quentin is a high school senior, frustrated by his position. He dreams of Fillory, a magical world where children became kings and queens. On his way to an interview, Quentin is invited to a magical college. Quentin embarks on an intense study of magic. However, Quentin soon learns that magic is not quite what he was led to believe.
This book alternatively fascinated and infuriated me. On the one hand, I liked the concept of a magician’s college–in a way the book made me think of a college-age Harry Potter. The way Grossman depicts magic is both classic and new, and I enjoyed trying to figure out how the system worked. For me, the magic and the way people interacted with it was the most compelling part of this book.
I had some trouble with the book’s pacing and the characterization. When Grossman was on, the book was very exciting, but there were also plenty of parts where it sort of dragged. I also did not quite understand why he tried to cram so many years into one book–it definitely hurt the pacing and story. Also, quite frankly, Quentin irritated me much of the time. In a way, I could relate to his uncertainty, but, after a point, his constant blaming of others and dissatisfaction with just about everything ceased to be interesting character traits.
Therefore, I recommend this book with caution. If you’re into magic and coming of age stories, it’s worth a read, as the book is interesting in those respects. However, if any of those things I mentioned are irritating to you, you might want to take a pass.