Tuesday, November 27, 2012

book review: The Magicians

After Rushdie's memoirs I needed some lighter reading. Something a little escapist, that wouldn't be too challenging. Something about this book grabbed my attention, so on a recent shopping spree I picked it up.

This was every bit the easy read I expected to be. It even ended up being more gripping than I expected. The first few chapters weren't particularly promising; while the I liked where the plot was moving I found them a little uncomfortable and childish like this was going to turn into a Harry Potter fan fic.

In some ways it did, even though it's completely unrelated to Harry Potter. What I found intriguing about the book though was that even though it went into magical worlds and there was a bit of "live the dream" to it there was this beautiful humanity. This book is jaded. It explores the idea of happiness and misery, how we build and nuture those emotions and conditions.

It's the human elements that make this book. I enjoyed the magic bits, but in the end it was Quentin, the main character, and his struggle against mundane human misery and depression that created the interest. He has everything he's always wanted: he goes to a magical university, has abilities that the rest of the world only dream of, he even visits the alternate universe featured in his own childhood fantasy books. Even with all of that, he's still unhappy. He longs for these things, intensely, until they become real. The more he gets what he wants, the more he realizes that happiness doesn't come from these things.

Honestly this wasn't the most amazing book I've ever read, but it was engaging and I found the human story within it to be incredibly deep and relateable.

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