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The Magicians, Book 1 Audiobook

The Magicians, Book 1

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Publisher's Summary

In a secret world of forbidden knowledge, power comes at a terrible price....

Quentin Coldwater's life is changed forever by an apparently chance encounter: when he turns up for his entrance interview to Princeton, he finds his interviewer dead - but a strange envelope bearing Quentin's name leads him down a path very different from any he'd ever imagined.

The envelope, and the mysterious manuscript it contains, leads to a secret world of obsession and privilege, a world of freedom and power; and, for a while, it's a world that seems to answer all Quentin's desires. But the idyll cannot last - and when it's finally shattered, Quentin is drawn into something darker and far more dangerous than anything he could ever have expected....

©2016 Lev Grossman (P)2016 Penguin Books Limited

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (130 )
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3.9 (125 )
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4.3 (124 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jennifer R Kenny 04/05/2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "great idea, poor execution"
    What did you like best about The Magicians, Book 1? What did you like least?

    the idea of a realistic magical world as very intriguing, however very quickly I came to realise that realistic seems to translate into depressing. Quintin is a terrible character to follow, and his mood swings can throw you easily out of a scene. There were plots that we were following and then weirdly neglected for no good reason.

    The ending saved the story. There was enough happening that was satisfying that make me finish it but I would not be recommending it to people.


    What was most disappointing about Lev Grossman’s story?

    plots that went nowhere was the most frustrating. Interesting ideas were cut short with basic explanations that were never questioned. The story might be a warning for the rich kids of the world that have no direction in their lives beyond spending daddy's money but that isn't enough to save it from its many weaknesses.


    What about Mark Bramhall’s performance did you like?

    The reading was good, with enough differences between character voices to follow along easily. An easy and calming voice.


    If this book were a film would you go see it?

    This book is a tv show, and my friend has watched the first season. We compared notes. If the show has brought you here, do not bother with the book. They are drastically different.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Wheatley 21/05/2016
    B. Wheatley 21/05/2016
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    "I think someone forgot to include a narrative"

    Talk about squandering a good idea. A group of largely unloveable characters experience an adventure with no discernible point. Along the way they fail to demonstrate any personal growth or character development and generally get on the readers nerves.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    phoebe 19/05/2016
    phoebe 19/05/2016 Member Since 2015
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    "A very interesting story, with a depressing tone."

    Fascinating story that travels between worlds and lives out childhood fantasies. But the tone of the tale & characters is depressing and flat. It kind of bums you out and spoils the fun. Mark Bramhall's performance adds to the depressing tone. Also the prose is much more simplistic and superficial compared to Rothfuss or Tolkien who use beautiful language. Yet it is still an excellent story with unique elements and worth a read/listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. N. J. O'Connor 17/05/2016 Member Since 2014
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    "."

    its a slow start to the book but then it just keeps building to the point that you cant stop

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DoctorFirefly89 26/08/2017 Member Since 2014
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    "Save your time and watch the tv series instead"

    I read this book because I watched the tv adaptation and really liked it. I thought, of course the book must be better. I was wrong. The problem is that the characters are not developed enough. They don't really grow, and there's no nuance. I think the author was going for gritty, but their drunkenness and apathy just put me off. They are one-dimensional. The thing that really got me was that the author can't seem to decide whether the readers should hate Janet or not. She's nice, then she's the worst of the worst, then she's good again. I also didn't connect with the protagonist. He came across as whiny and defeatist.
    I will not be reading the sequels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    11/08/2017
    11/08/2017 Member Since 2016
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    "Good Book to Read, Very Slow Audiobook"
    What did you like best about The Magicians, Book 1? What did you like least?

    The narrator creates very distinct personas for each character, and performs them with real personality behind the words. (but he does like to pronounce the "w" in words with "wh" like "wwwwho")


    What was most disappointing about Lev Grossman’s story?

    This is the sort of story that value world building above all else. I imagine you could ingress yourself into it on paper, but for an audiobook I like to anticipate the action. I kept thinking "this is where the plot begins!", only to have this part of the story fizzle out, just another random scene without real conflict. It took almost the whole book to realise the only development happens in the psyche of the protagonist, as his mental health deteriorates, but it is so repetitive in an audio medium that it was still hard to appreciate. The story only picks up about 12 hours in, making the first 3 quarters of the book seem inconsequential and needing a good trimming down.


    Have you listened to any of Mark Bramhall’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    No, but this one is fantastic, and I might look for more just based on the narrator.


    Did The Magicians, Book 1 inspire you to do anything?

    If I find a second hand paperback, I might pick it up, as I suspect I would get a better insight into mental health, but its a hard thing to appreciate in audio, given how it is written.


    Any additional comments?

    Just get it paperback, I reckon its worth it over audiobook. Just too slow and seems so unimportant for the first 10 hours of listening. Its hard to appreciate it with such an unpleasant protagonist

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    02/08/2017
    02/08/2017 Member Since 2017
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    "regretful"

    painful listening, unfortunately couldn't listen past the fifth chapter. and found it to be a little cringe worth for my liking as well as the readers voice made me feel bored of it, not a fan, sorry

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mackenzie 18/01/2017
    Mackenzie 18/01/2017
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    "Full of emotions, sex, drinking and magic."

    I first watched the TV show based around this novel before ever heard the book, it's completely different in so many good way, I absolutely loved this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph 29/11/2016
    Joseph 29/11/2016
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    "Modern twisted and fascinating"

    Really enjoyed this modern take on the traditional escapist fantasy theme. Very gritty and the characters are challenging but well worth the effort. Completely original and pleasingly unique approach to an otherwise archaic trope.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard 19/11/2016
    Richard 19/11/2016
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    "Captivating Story"

    The technical details in this story are fantastic, could do with a bit more though.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Simon
    Lund, Sweden
    15/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Didn't cast a spell on me"

    I get that Grossman is trying to create a three-dimensional protagonist with weaknesses and problems. In doing so the character is probably supposed to be easier to identify with. But I never identified with Quentin, and I lost my interest in him throughout the book. I want to read something that inspires me, but reading about Quentin's self-pity and his poor view on life and people in general is just depressing.

    Along with this I must say the plot is not intriguing enough and it seems like the novel is missing some editing. Loose plot ends are thrown out now and again without being picked up which made me think the author forgot about them. And for an "adult fantasy" it just doesn't seem to be intelligent enough. You never understand what is the agenda of influential off-screen characters (Fogg, Mayakovsky), which makes me think there are none. The only way this fantasy novel is adult is in the frequent occurrence of drugs, sex and alcohol, I was hoping there would a more sophisticated side to the story than that but I did't find it.

    Grossman's language and imagination is good enough for a good fantasy novel, but "The Magician's" misses out on too many other things.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    13/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "entertaining"

    I did like it, but the stereotypes about women were a bit much. I've heard people say it's Harry Potter for older people, with the swearing and the drinking and such, but I do not agree. I like the concept of what it is to go on an adventure as an adult, but it lacks depth, and the story isn't the best. but it is entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eddy
    9/09/16
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    "Tediously captivating"

    A wonderful performance of the embodiment of tedium and chasing happiness beyond the horizon. Annoyingly depressing and yet the story sucks you in and along the dark and gloomy alley towards the blackness at the end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Veronica
    26/03/16
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    "Amazing!"
    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Magicians, Book 1?

    It's the same magical concept as Harry Potter, but for older people. It's better than harry potter for adults. Brilliant. The writing, the story, the characters. I loved it and can't wait to listen to the others.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    If I could have listened to it in 1 sitting, I would have. I'm happy that it was as long as it is. The interruptions made it better, I would think about the book when I wasn't listening.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Lottie
    5/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Narnia and Harry Potter combination for adults"
    Where does The Magicians, Book 1 rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This story was certainly entertaining. I would suggest that if you grew up with Harry Potter and found that you were never invited to Hogwarts, then your sense of disillusion with the world can be sorted out with this original, if not ground-breaking tale. I liked the concept and the characters were quite well formed, although as the story progressed it got a little bit too referential - Narnia "Magician's Nephew". However, I do like books that refer back to the earlier genre works, and Grossman has certainly wrought something new from children's fantasy fiction. When the next one comes out on audio (only available currently in the US audible site) I shall probably download it and continue listening, but I wasn't left with a desperation to continue to the story. The protagonist, Quentin, was that rather in vogue mixture of brilliance tinged with flaws and issues. I have to say though, that I was increasingly unsympathetic towards him, which could arguably be Grossman's plan with the whole 'disillusionment' thing. Mark Bramhall was a brilliant reader, well paced with good characterisation.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • gepocock
    5/05/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Magicians - absolute magic"
    What did you like most about The Magicians, Book 1?

    It isn't often that you listen to the first in a trilogy and actually want to be bothered to listen to the others, but in this case - you will. Give it a little time to warm up I would say, the first third of the book sets the characters. It is an adults book, similar to 'The Kingkiller chronicles' by Patrick Rothfuss, but with a little more sex and adult language. I am certainly going to use my precious monthly credit to read the second book. Mark Bramhall is easy to listen to, which isn't always the case with American accents if you are British. I would recommend this book.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I found that dealing with 'magic' can sometimes give a book a childish slant, but in this case not. It is matter of fact and deals with magic as if it were a science for those with a natural give. You accept it as such.


    What about Mark Bramhall’s performance did you like?

    The introduces this magical land Phillory, which they all read as a child in much the same way as 'The lion, the witch and the wardrobe'. However, it isn't all candyfloss and lemon trees, and allows the adults to experience it in an adult way, which is quite enchanting.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Absolutely nothing. Easy listening - but be careful you don't fall asleep in the bath as I did and then have to try to find your place again. He reads so nicely, it's very relaxing.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are looking for fairytale book, perhaps this isn't for you. The language and sexual references could be offensive for some, although this doesn't take over the book, it is only in a few parts.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • oliver barrow
    24/02/17
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    Story
    "loved this book"

    So much better than the tv show, it's got some brilliantly dark yet wonderful moments and the variation of characters and and adventures is wildly entertaining

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Albion
    18/06/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "You're a morbid emo Harry."
    Would you try another book written by Lev Grossman or narrated by Mark Bramhall?

    The narration was above par, pity it couldn't lift the story.


    What could Lev Grossman have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Have some happiness


    Have you listened to any of Mark Bramhall’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Yes


    What character would you cut from The Magicians, Book 1?

    Quentin


    Any additional comments?

    By the time the principal announces that what makes them magicians is that they are miserable the reader will have already found that out.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • joshua hodson
    3/04/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The love child of Lewis and Salinger"

    Careful...spoilers...ish

    This post modern flurry into fantasy is an enjoyable, if not a cynical look at what would happen if Narnia was invaded by this current depraved generation. Of course they never use the name, for legal reasons I expect, however anyone who is even remotely familiar with Lewis' fantasy saga will see the parallels. The protagonist, Quentin Coldwater, owes more than a little to Holden Caufield and it has the same dry, broken view of this world that Salinger so vividly created.

    There are some truly wonderful sequences. The reader spends almost 1 full chapter as a goose and it is delicious. I also had some in the narnia like world that feels like the far more grotesque and gritty version most of us have imagined at some point in our lives.

    I enjoyed this book however I never truly connected emotionally to the characters. I guess that is because I am not as cynical as they are and even though lots of exciting things happen it never felt epic. I just didn't care enough about the outcomes. Not that it is a fault with the book per se as I believe this is exactly what the author wanted to achieve. It will never be my favourite book but worth a read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Georgia
    8/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not what you think it's going to be"

    This has often been dubbed as a grown up Harry Potter, which I think is utter bull. This is a fantasy book with a magical school however the part that makes it unique has nothing to do with learning magic at all.

    I hated the main protagonist as a person but loved him as a character (if that makes any sense). He starts out completely self absorbed but I think the books' strength lies in telling you why he's such an ass. It explores some really important things about most people's dissatisfaction with the world, no matter what they gain or achieve. If anything it uses fantasy as a setting for some really awesome character development and exploration.

    I do hope audible adds the second and third books.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • alexander
    17/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "miserable but relatively interesting."

    main protagonist was so boring. only so much you can take. narrative was good but lacked excitement

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • comedaygoday
    29/06/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "THe Magicians a book review By Lead Astray."

    I liked it enough to buy the other two books. However it does get a bit of a feel of the lion the witch and the wardrobe part way through.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Blue Jay
    UK
    15/05/16
    Overall
    "Fantasy lovers beware"

    As a lover of fantasy, I actually found this book rather insulting. It felt as though it was written by someone who disliked fantasy and had set about to 'debunk' or send up the genre to some extent. Almost as if he had read the Potter books and said to himself "This is all ridiculous" and had set about creating unexceptional, boring characters who are mean, unfaithful, selfish and to whom very little happens. Then towards the end of the novel, he cops out and places them into an actual fantasy setting.

    And as for the JD Salinger comparisons, I'm sorry but Quentin Coldwater is no Holden Caulfield. He is completely void of anything like wit, and unable to really engage the reader in his experience.

    I like to be swept away by a narrative into a parallel/imaginary world - that's kind of the point of fantasy - and if, like me, that's what you're looking for, I would honestly think twice about trying The Magicians.

    I know that reading a book is a very personal experience, and I hate to sound mean, but in my experience this book was dire.

    I'm listening to The Name of the Wind now. Phew! A relief to be back in a 'real' fantasy realm...

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Franzisca
    Chard, United Kingdom
    27/03/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Entertaining"

    Harry Potter meets Narnia- not exactly the freshest of ideas but entertaining none the less.
    Will see how the story develops.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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