The Magicians is about a kid who is plucked from his banal existence and sent to a school of magic (sound familiar?). And there’s also an alternate world that only some humans can visit, where fauns, centaurs, and other fantastical creatures are battling over a kingdom that needs four humans to save them by taking over the thrones (sound familiar??).
The story acknowledges the all-too-obvious similarities to the Harry Potter and Chronicles of Narnia series, but not with a wink. It’s more like the author thought, “You know what Hogwarts needs? More swearing! And Narnia would be so much cooler with some centaur sex!”
Really, an adult version of those novels could have been fun. This could have been an entertaining, in-jokey ride for fantasy-story fans. Instead, the characters are so relentlessly angsty, you just want to smack them. Kids, you can fly, shape-shift, and shoot fire out of your fingertips! Quit whining about it!
There’s a sequel being released next month, and the final scene of The Magicians does introduce a character that could make things interesting, but I just have to remind myself how much I can’t stand the mopey main character if I’m ever tempted to pick up book 2.
Also, a note to the author: If you’re going to try and put yourself in the company of two of the most beloved fantasy book series in the history of the English language, you’d better be prepared to BRING IT.
OK, people: Give me some great new fantasy titles to try!
Photo: Wikimedia Commons