The Magicians Book One: A cynical fantasy that gets better toward the end. 

What it is: The first of Lev Grossman’s Magicians trilogy, probably best described as “Harry Potter, except with assholes.” Now also a Syfy TV series that I will probably never watch. Well, at least not until I finish the books.

What I’ve read: I finished the first book a couple of weeks ago, and am about 30% of the way through the second book, The Magician King.

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Is it good? All in all, yeah, though I wasn’t really feeling it for a stretch in the middle.

Quick thoughts: I’d heard so many conflicting reports about this book (and this series) that I kept putting it off in favor of other things. I started out having a good enough time, but was bored and even annoyed by the middle chapters. The Fillory books as they were described in the early goings struck me as a device that Grossman was using to clown on Harry Potter and Narnia, when he hadn’t yet demonstrated that his own story was any better. The message seemed to be, “Depression sucks, and it sucks just as bad if you’re a wizard.” But in the final act, the plot actually found its footing and things got much more interesting. Fillory was more than just an abstract device, and winds up being a crucial part of the story. Most of the characters remain twits, yes, but even Quentin grew on me by the end. I like what I’ve read of book 2, as well. Definitely gonna see this series through to the finish.

Party Chat is where we talk about things we’re reading and watching when we’re not playing video games.