Quentin is a brilliant person. He is at the top of his classes, and is a genius. He is also completely miserable with his life. His life seems devoid of anything special or meaningful. He finds himself returning to his favorite fantasy novels from when he was a child. A series of books about a magical land called Fillory. He longs for a life as special and magical as the world in these books. One day, he receives an invitation to a secret magic school called Brakebills in New York. But first he must pass the test to get in. As he learns about magic Quentin is disappointed to discover that his life still seems empty. Magic has not brought him the happiness he always thought it would. Little does he realize that there are unbelievable discoveries to be made and more to magic than he realized.
This is the first book in the trilogy. I thought it was wonderfully depressing! Quentin is an unhappy person, and is always looking for the next thing that will make him happy. I liked that magic was not a cure all in this story. Life is not immediately better because the characters find out magic exists. I liked the idea that things happening or being extraordinary is not what will make you happy.
I loved all the book references particularly to Narnia and Harry Potter. It is always a pleasure when a story includes other well known tales in a clever way that shows true appreciation for them. I thought it was interesting to read about a character that loves a story so much, and is confronted with the reality of that fantasy world.
I will admit that this was one of the best books I have read this year, and immediately went on My Favorite Books list. Everything from the incredible character development to the rules about magic were completely engrossing. I was very impressed with this book. That being said, I think it will not be to everyone's taste. I would recommend trying it, but not everyone will agree on how wonderful this book is. You have to get through a lot of parts that could be viewed as depressing or dark, which were well done, but will not be to everyone's taste. I really enjoyed the dark satire of this book. It was incredibly written, and as soon as I finished reading this book, I immediately began the second book The Magician King and put myself on the wait list for the third book Magician's Land at the library. I cannot wait to discover what happens with the characters and story.
I highly recommend reading this book.