Nov. 19th, 2011

dancinguniverse: (lesbianism)
The Magicians and The Magician King, by Lev Grossman

Man. Okay. These books are awesome. I think everyone's been calling them "Harry Potter for grown ups," which is probably more accurate for these books than absolutely any other books out there. And I've read a lot of books that have been called that. But there's a school for magic, and a group of friends, and on the surface, it's very much like Harry Potter for adults because the school is actually a college, and they all drink and have sex. But that's not the cool part, and it's actually for adults in a different way. This is a book for adults who love Harry Potter, in the best possible way. There are plenty of nerdy references, because the main characters have all read Narnia and Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, and the main character came very close to breaking my heart. He's not perfect at all, and there are times I outright disliked him, but in the way that you can watch a real friend do selfish, awful things, and just want to shake them and hug them, even though you know they have to figure it out themselves. It's a book about growing up that felt more real to me than most books on that subject. Actually, I just saw it referred to as "Catcher in the Rye for fantasy fans," which is probably even better than "Harry Potter for adults." Except I didn't really like Catcher. But it's still completely accurate. Quentin is much more Holden Caulfield than Harry Potter. He's not an orphan, he has no special destiny (well, maybe a little). He's just an unhappy young adult with a chip on his shoulder, because he wants something more out of life, no matter what he has. He's unhappy like most people are unhappy - not because of some great tragedy, but because he sees life as a fucking tragedy. Which, incidentally, is why I hated Holden. But Quentin pinged for me the way Holden has pinged for generations of teenagers. And because reading about unhappy people is much easier when they're learning magic along the way.

Spoilers for The Magicians and The Magician King - mostly shipping talk )

The one consistent complaint I've seen about Grossman is that his writing is a bit disjointed. People said the first book didn't flow together very well, and not much of the main plot beyond setting really carried over into the second book. I'm very much about the journey, not the destination, so none of this has really been a turn off for me. But it does mean that while I do think there's going to be a third book, I wouldn't call the end to either of the first two a cliff hanger. Room for growth? Yes. But not annoyingly open ended. So it means I can wait another two years or whatever until the third one comes out. But in the meantime, everyone should be reading these.
dancinguniverse: (newworld)
Omg, omg, and following up my last post, there are currently 8 requests and 10 offers for The Magicians at this year's Yuletide signups. There are I think 5 stories on Ao3 right now, so this is exciting for me.

I have never participated in Yuletide, because I haven't written a story in ages, and I wouldn't want to let someone down for Yuletide, of all things. But man, I look forward to Yuletide as one of my gifts every year anyway. There are things I could request, but I rarely find myself thinking, "Man, how come no one requested ___?" Other people, in aggregate, have very good taste.

And I have to be honest, I would just request exactly what I obsessively hunt down every year: The Dark is Rising, So You Want to Be a Wizard, Tamora Pierce's Tortall universe, The Thief, Disney and fairy tales. A little Sky High, The Fast and the Furious, and 80s movies. There's something about Yuletide that brings out that side of me that just wants to settle down with my favorite things from middle school and read all the things that didn't happen.

Yuletide is a step to the side of what I usually like in fanfic. I mean, I love reading long epic stories about Arthur and Eames, Arthur and Merlin, Kirk and Spock. But Yuletide brings me things like Genie trying to protect Aladdin and his kin, over 1000 years, and Hades making the terrible mistake of asking Apollo for relationship advice, and how the universe can never really be done with Will and Bran.


dancinguniverse: (Default)

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