Brakebills: Hogwarts Lite for America

Courtesy of goodreads.comSo SyFy has this fun new show called the Magicians that is based on a trilogy of the same name by Lev Grossman. The first book in the trilogy is also called The Magicians and it features a late teen boy (17-18) named Quentin Coldwater who lives in Brooklyn and is insanely smart. Like in a school of smart people where he and his friends are all Hermione Grangers. And yes, these sorts of schools do exist and the kids that come out of them are crazy, crazy smart…though not very well versed in social interactions.

I’ve really been enjoying the TV show and I have to admit…I was a little disappointed in the book. This first book is Quentin taking a test and getting into a school for magic. No, not Hogwarts but Brakebills. Brakebills is on the Hudson River in upstate New York and is, essentially, Hogwarts lite.

You enter a campus that no none magic person can find. Magic interferes with technology. You’re not allowed to tell anyone about magic (statute of secrecy!) and you get sorted into a house…I mean, specialty. Seriously, there’s a sorting process, but it’s a not until second or third year so it isn’t exactly like Hogwarts.

Oh, and there’s also an incomprehensible but internationally adored wizard game! Luckily this is some weird form of chess called welters and not something involving broomsticks. There’s also a Hermione Granger (Alice…something) and a Ron Weasley (Eliot…something) and a number of other brave but insignificant character that may play a larger role later on. We’ll have to wait and see.

I think the second book will be more interesting, or at least I’m hoping. There was no real conflict in this book. It was just Quentin being insecure and learning magic. Even HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone had Voldemort show up at the end. Imagine of in that book, Voldemort had never shown up and Harry just had a regular school year. Yeah, not that interesting.

But, seeing as I plunked down 30 bucks for the trilogy (the sample was interesting enough that I thought the first book would have just a little more oomph), I’m really hoping that it’ll get better.  I’m guessing that this is Grossman’s first book. It has potential but he didn’t really need that much character building. Rating: C

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