Quick review today…
Overall, I loved reading this book. Grossman’s style is impressive as is his vocabulary. He strings words and phrases and paragraphs together to create admirable passages.
So this lovely writing was pretty much what let me get through the book itself. Think Holden Caulfield meets Harry Potter. Except our MC is no prophesied hero who is going to save the world. He’s just your normal person, who happens to be able to do magic, trying to get through life.
We have our emo, smarty pants high school student, Quentin Coldwater, whose every wish is granted when he is transported to a college where he will study magic. That part of the book I related to. I went to college and it was pretty much the same kind of thing for Quentin–except there was magic. Watching college kids learn to handle magic was indeed entertaining.
But when he graduates the book takes a major downturn. Quentin is confused about what to do after college when he no longer has a curriculum to follow, is no longer under the institutional umbrella. This is the standard quarter life crisis problem. I went through that too, but he reacts to the situation very poorly. He never grows up; never faces the challenge of living his life and it makes me kind of hate him.
Then, when it gets so bad that he does have to grow up and deal with life, he pretty much gives up and sits there doing nothing with his life until his friends come and save him.
One thing the story left me out of was “the Narnia thing.” Grossman made the characters obsessed with C. S. Lewis’ Narnia stories, but calling it Fillory instead because of permissions issues. I never read these stories, a shame I know, so all of the references were lost to me.
While I didn’t like what Quentin what doing, it fit his character and the circumstances making the whole work cohesive. Grossman tied the beginning to the end and wrapped it up neatly.
I finished reading the book for the great style, and the rest of the characters. They reminded me of many people I’ve known and they didn’t react to “Real Life” as badly as Quentin did.
So if you like to watch other people suffer, or just love to be sympathetic toward them, this is an excellent book in every way.
Fantasy: Brotherhood of the Wolf – David Farland
Scholarly: Wizardry & Wild Romance, A Study of Epic Fantasy – Michael Moorcock
Writing:(I’m slacking here