Lev Grossman’s novel, The Magicians, about a college student whom USA Today compared to “Holden Caulfield attending Harry Potter’s Hogwarts,” debuts at #77 on USA Today list, and rises to #231 on Amazon. Libraries are showing heavy holds on very light ordering of 3 to 42 copies, even though pre-pub reviews were strong in Booklist, BookPage, Kirkus and Library Journal.
Pervasive review coverage is probably a sign of Grossman’s clout as Time magazine’s book critic, but newspaper reviews have been mixed. USA Today deemed the premise of The Magicians original, but added
It’s like a video game featuring scenarios from classic fantasy writers. And sometimes Grossman can be slyly funny, as when he describes what conversation with a real talking bear would probably be like: dull monologues on honey. But it becomes a chore to slog through this homage to fantasy filtered through an ironic 21st-century sensibility, complete with sex and profanity. Nifty premise aside, Quentin and company never fully grab our attention.
However, the Chicago Tribune wanted “to shake Grossman’s hand and congratulate him for his courage. His book wanders into Harry Potter territory without a backward glance, and that’s gutsy stuff,” and said Grossman’s second novel “blooms with grace and wit and imaginative brio. Grossman has a sense of humor as well as a sense of wonder.”
Also available from Penguin Audiobooks
- CD: $39.95; ISBN 9780143144397