The Magicians (TV Review)

I did something stupid and watched the special preview of The Magicians and as expected I loved it and now I am angry with myself for having to wait so incredibly long. I will only roughly mention what happened, because I don’t want to spoil anyone, but I cannot help needing to talk about it.

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For all of you who still don’t know, I’ve read the Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman this year and it’s left quite the impression on me. I already did a little trailer talk for the show, but I honestly have to say that I am relieved that I actually loved it as much as I did in the end! The series is about Quentin Coldwater, a guy who never felt like he belonged until he got invited to study at Brakebills University for Magic. In a way it’s Narnia with a dash of Harry Potter but for grown-ups (and I really mean that last part!).

The pacing in the first book was a little strange by rushing through Quentin’s education and now the show definitely isn’t wasting time either. I think it’s even more extreme than the book in some ways, but to go into detail would mean that I have to spoil you for the premiere and I don’t want to do that. Somehow they have managed to stay very true to the story and change almost everything at the same time. They’ve stayed faithful with so many details, but then they just up and went to change the timeline, names, the whole story of some characters. It’s odd at first, but because they’ve done it in such a great way, it simply works!

Another thing I have to commend Syfy for is the casting! Okay, not everyone looks the way they did in the book (I’m looking at you Penny!), but I think they made the perfect choice anyway. Jason Ralph as Quentin is this cute dork and just so much more likable than his book-version. My favourite character, Elliot, looks exactly the way I pictured him and Hale Appleman gives him exactly the right attitude. And then Julia! Stella Maeve seriously knows how to portray her despair! I could swoon over the rest of the cast just as much, but maybe you should just take a look at yourself.

The first episode pulled you right in, was funny, intriguing, extreme and fast paced. It left with a huge cliffhanger so I am happy to hear that the actual Premiere on January 8, 2016 will be a double-episode. As an enthusiast of the books, I have to say that the show gave me everything I wanted and so much more! I hope you’ll give it a try in 2016 so we can all gush together! Did anyone else watch the Special Preview?

The Magician’s Land Book Review

The Magician’s Land is the conclusion to the Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman (soon to be seen on Syfy as a TV show). If you missed it, you should check out my reviews of book 1: The Magicians and book 2: The Magician King. Beware of Spoilers ahead!

23398891Cast out of Fillory, Quentin Coldwater returns to the place his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. All too soon, however, his past comes looking for him, and Quentin sets out to face his fears and put things right—or die trying. Filled with riveting battle scenes as well as intriguing new characters and the return of beloved favorites, The Magician’s Land brings Grossman’s epic tale to its magnificent conclusion.
(source: Goodreads)

Grossman broke a little with tradition on this one and didn’t split it into four parts. I kind of missed it, but the flow was still pretty nice. It still switched between POVs though, namely the one of Quentin, the people in Fillory and new addition Plum. Also, there were a couple of chapters that were a story within the story and I quite enjoyed how everything just seemed to come together in the end. It was one of those everything and everyone is connected in some way.

So, Quentin really grew into himself and by now I actually cared about him and even liked him, which was just extremely difficult in the beginning. I am so glad he finally did get his Discipline, even though Minor Mendings seems pretty underwhelming at first. I love that they brought back Alice and that she and Q didn’t just go back to how everything was before – they actually have to start over which seems realistic after what they went through. A lot of the characters are still pretty crazy (especially Janet), but not everything is doom and gloom like it was in the Magicians. In hindsight, I have the feeling that the first book is not the best representation of the series and with its weird pacing and mood it probably put off a lot of readers from continuing with the trilogy.

It wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t show you the map of this book as well (unfortunately I didn’t find it coloured anywhere like the others were):

magician land

Fazit: 3.7/5 stars. It was funny and a great conclusion to the series. However, I am still not sure I would want to revisit it because it’s not one of my favourites.

In the end, my personal ranking of the books would be as followed:

  1. The Magician King
  2. The Magician’s Land
  3. The Magicians

Another book to scratch off my September TBR. What are your thoughts? Have you read the series as well?

The Magician King Book Review

I’ve done it! I’ve finally continued with the Magician Trilogy by Lev Grossman and can cross of the first book from my September TBR, namely the second book in the series: The Magician King. Despite my worries, I actually enjoyed this book a lot more than the first part! So, since I already reviewed the the first book The Magicians spoiler-free (click here to read it), this review will obviously contain Spoilers!!

10819920Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory—a fictional utopia—was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring.
Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off—only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they’d hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia’s illicitly learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.
(source: Goodreads)

As I mentioned above, I liked this book better than the first one. The characters were a little less miserable or at least slowly figuring out what makes them happy. Also, the pacing wasn’t as terribly off, even though the structure of this book was very similar to the first one, separating it in 4 major parts as well.

Part 1: The gang (Eliot, Janet, Quentin and Julia) have ruled in Fillory for a while now and Q is getting restless. It’s time for an adventure.

Part 2: Q messed up, because his quest only brought him and Julia back to earth and that’s the last place they want to be. With the unexpected help of Josh and an Australian girl named Poppy they manage to get back to Fillory.

Part 3: A year has passed since Q and Julia left Fillory and Eliot took on what should have been Q’s real quest all along. He wants to be a hero, unintentionally ends up in the destroyed Neitherlands, but actually finds out what the quest to find the 7 golden keys is really about.

Part 4: Having all the keys, the gang saves the day by keeping magic from getting extinct. But Quentin has to pay the ultimate price for being the hero – never being able to return to Fillory while leaving all his friends behind.

The Magician King offered a detailed account of what happened to Julia while Quentin was in Brakebills and I have to say that I could’ve easily done without some of the chapters. I get that it was important for her overall journey, to really understand how the events of the book and her change came about, but I am not one to dwell in the past (at least not in books). Often I just wanted to keep reading about what happened in the present, but the Julia-chapters were strategically positioned to be in between cliffhangers. It’s not that her story wasn’t interesting, I just wish her chapters were even more succinct and on point. (even though I will give them that they were shorter than normal chapters) I guess I just really didn’t like to read the rape-scene towards the end …

This time around there were a lot of characters I would’ve liked to hear more about. I was really glad that Q took Benedict on the journey and even more devastated when he died. I think that character would have had so much more potential and then they just had to leave him behind in the Underworld. Also, for some weird reason I wanted Q to take the children with him (Eleanor and Thomas) even though that would’ve been a terrible idea. Questing is no place for kids! Still, I have hopes of seeing Eleanor again in the story and poor Thomas should get to go on an adventure as well!

There is another map in the book, I am glad they keep putting those in! (As I said, maps are always a plus!!)

magician king

So, ultimately there was a lot more excitement and action in The Magician King and I started to like Quentin a little better. In the end I just felt really sorry for him and it actually made me want to continue reading the series, which I am going to do right now.

Fazit: 3.8/5 stars. I am slowly warming up to Quentin and now I want to know how his story ends!

P.S. I have a hard time imagining any of the content from Book 2 in the upcoming Magicians TV show …

The Magicians TV Show Trailer & Thoughts

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As I mentioned in my last post, The Magicians by Lev Grossman (click here to read my full book review!) got adapted as a TV show by Syfy. You can watch the Trailer below and then I’ll share some thoughts about the differences and similarities between the book and what I saw of the show so far. This will include Spoilers for the book though!!

So, first off, I imagined this all VERY differently. None of the people look like I thought they would, but maybe that’s for the better. The cast is mostly unknown or at least not super famous and includes: Jason Ralph, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Stella Maeve (is that why you left Chicago PD Nadia?), Hale Appleman, Summer Bishil, Arjun Gupta, Rick Worthy and Anne Dudek

For those of you who know the characters, will be happy to hear that Quentin, Elliot, Alice and Julia exist and Julia plays an even bigger role than she did in the first book. As for Janet, she’ll be called Margo now (apparently because there were already too many names with “J”!) and Penny is there too but is Q’s roommate (that so can’t work …) and he’s not a punk at all. There’s no Josh or Anaïs though …

I think the show will focus a lot more on Quentin’s time at Brakebills, the College for Magical Pedagogy he attends. We can already see Quentin’s entry exam in the trailer, which looks fairly accurate to me. There is not much trace of Fillory yet and the blurb on imdb doesn’t mention it either. BUT it was said that we’ll get an early glimpse at it because Quentin will daydream about it a lot and obviously he’s reading the books. I have no idea when exactly it will come into play, because I could imagine that they just loosely based it on the novels and want to make it a more adult Harry Potter instead. I don’t know that for sure though.

There really can’t be much more deduced from the trailer, what are your thoughts? Either way, I am excited for the show simply because it’s about magic.