Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Real Wizards Don't Have Wands: A Book Review

The study of magic is not a science, it is not an art, and it is not a religion. Magic is a craft.... Magic wasn't about waving a wand and shouting some made-up Latin.
-Excerpt from The Magicians by Lev Grossman

For every child who grew into an adult waiting for the next Harry Potter book to come out, and for every adult who fell in love with the stories but wished there was another story, one deeper into the darkness of magic, told in a similar voice:

There is.

Lev doesn't let his characters take shortcuts, other than teleportation. His characters could just as easily be you and I, raised in this very scientific and non-magical world, and then suddenly plucked up and shown something more. We would love the wonders we found, and pray we never would have to wake up, knowing it couldn't be anything more than a dream.

Quentin actually does that. Lev takes you deep into the world of magic, his main character holding his breath and expecting it to all be a very disappointing dream. Quentin explores his sexuality, his relationships with others--his sexuality--something Rowling makes you wait a thousand pages to get hints about and then everybody appears to be straight--and learns so much about himself in a way Harry could never do in a children's book.

This is Harry Potter for adults, recommend reading for experienced readers of JK Rowling, and dissenters who never wanted to admit their curiosity. This is a magical world reminiscent of Hogwarts and yet so much more.

This is a highly recommended book.