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Lev Grossman

Lev Grossman(1969- )
Lev Grossman, the son of two English professors, grew up in Lexington, MA. He has a degree in literature from Harvard and has worked as a free-lance journalist and as a book critic and technology writer for The New York Times. He now lives in Brooklyn, NY. Learn more about Lev Grossman at his website.

The Magicians

The Magicians — (2009-2011) Publisher: Quentin Coldwater’s life is changed forever by an apparently chance encounter: when he turns up for his entrance interview to Princeton he finds his interviewer dead — but a strange envelope bearing Quentin’s name leads him down a very different path to any he’d ever imagined. The envelope, and the mysterious manuscript it contains, leads to a secret world of obsession and privilege, a world of freedom and power and, for a while, it’s a world that seems to answer all Quentin’s desires. But the idyll cannot last — and when it’s finally shattered, Quentin is drawn into something darker and far more dangerous than anything he could ever have expected…

fantasy book review Lev Grossman The Magiciansfantasy book review Lev Grossman The Magicians 2. The Magician Kingfantasy and science fiction book reviews

The Magicians: A bandage of irony for your self-esteem

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The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Lev Grossman’s The Magicians attempts to take the unreal world of fantasy — magic, spellcasting, other worlds, fabulous beasts — and tie it much more tightly to the real world than is usually done. And (I think) the attempt as well is to tell a “realistic” novel which takes as its premise that magic exists and is being used (not quite the same thing as the first). I’d say he only partially succeeds, though he does so often enough that the book makes a worthy, if not fully satisfying, read.

The Magicians is divided into sections. Book One introduces Quentin on his way to a school interview with his best friend. Eventually, Quentin somehow ends up at Brakehill Academy for a different kind of test and interview — to enter Brakehill’s school of magic (which is like a g... Read More

The Magician King: Postmodernism meets Narnia

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The Magician King by Lev Grossman

In Lev Grossman’s novel The Magicians, Quentin Coldwater — a geeky fantasy-loving high school senior — has his life turned upside down when he is invited to take an entrance exam for Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy. After spending years learning the craft, and some time outside of school in a Bret Easton Ellis novel kind of existence, life is turned around again when he and several of his newfound magician friends discover that Fillory — the magical setting of a series of beloved children’s books (think Narnia and you’ve got it) — is real. And they can go there.

“Real” is a key word in The Magicians and in Grossman’s follow-up, The Magician King. Fillory, it turns out, is more “real” than people might want; it has all the ills ... Read More

The Magician’s Land: A big and beautiful finish

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The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman

The Magician's Land, by Lev Grossman, is a superb finish to what is one of my favorite fantasy series of all time. I read it elated, skin tingling and brain buzzing, savoring every word to make it last longer. When I finished, I wanted to read it again immediately. And yet, I also finished the book feeling a persistent ambivalence about the conclusion Grossman has created for his characters.

In The Magician's Land, Quentin Coldwater, the protagonist, has grown up; he's thirty now, twelve years older than when we first met him in The Magicians. Having been ejected from Fillory, the magical land of his childhood dreams, he is now a junior professor at his old school, Brakebills, and has found his special... Read More

Warp: Lev Grossman’s first novel

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Warp by Lev Grossman

Hollis Kessler has just finished college, and now he’s coasting. He has neither purpose nor direction and can only tie everything he sees into a pop culture web of references. When he sees a woman, for example, he and his friends will immediately tell her what famous woman she resembles. The first woman they see looks like Denise Crosby, who played Lieutenant Tasha Yar in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Hollis and his friends otherwise spend most of their time together gossiping about what jobs and internships their peers have gotten while waiting for something more interesting than their web of pop culture references. Unfortunately, Hollis is becoming increasingly distracted by his memories when he spends time with his friends. Though Star Trek might be ... Read More

Codex: A must-read for Grossman fans

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Codex by Lev Grossman

There are disadvantages to finding a trilogy you really love, and they usually surface somewhere between the second and final book. I discovered this whilst waiting for The Magician’s Land to be released, after devouring the first two novels of Grossman’s Magicians series. It was at this point I turned my attention to the rest of Grossman’s literary corpus and discovered a stand-alone novel published five years previously to The Magicians: Codex.

Codex centres around the twenty-something, highly paid investment banker, Edward Wozny. Wozny is a disillusioned, slightly listless New Yorker (sound familiar?) who’s got two weeks off between his high-flying job in New York and his high-flying job in London. He’s spent his enti... Read More

A chat with Lev Grossman

We have with us today, Lev Grossman, in addition to writing book reviews for Time Magazine, Lev is also the internationally best-selling author of The Magicians, Warp, and Codex. His Nerd World blog has recently relaunched as Techland.com. But Lev promises that a) he is still a nerd; and b) he will still be blogging about nerd culture.


SB Frank: I was looking at your website and I saw that you’ve written on some fascinating topics.  One article in particular that caught my eye was a piece “Catalog This,” that talked about the bizarre things that are sometimes bequeathed to libraries as part of the estates of famous personas, such as Dante’s ashes, etc.  If you could pick one ...

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DragonCon Day 2: or, In which I chase Lev Grossman around Atlanta

The first panel on my Sunday list was “Modern-Day Magic,” with Jim Butcher and Lev Grossman at 10 am. I was pretty excited for this; on Saturday, I had a chance to see Lev in the Delphic Oracle panel but had thought “it’s fine, I’ll see him tomorrow,” and decided to go to the Writing Track panel instead. If only I had the powers of the Delphic oracle to see into the future . . .

I left for downtown at 9:15, and made it to the con with plenty of time to spare. However, I misjudged how popular this panel would be. When I got there, it was completely full, with a “waiting” line that wrapped around the hallway. So I went to “Real History of Science-Fiction: Aliens” instead, hosted by Diane Hughes, Jaym Gates, and Michael Z. Williamson. It was a fairly casual conversation between three SF enthusiasts about the... Read More

Kate chats with Lev Grossman

Last month, I had the privilege of meeting a hero of mine, Lev Grossman, at Dragon*Con and the Decatur Book Festival. He was kind enough to put up with my incessant questions. I hope you’ll enjoy our conversation. Comment below for a chance to win a Kindle copy of The Magicians or any physical book from our stacks

Kate Lechler: I read your book Codex several years ago, for a graduate class exploring the history and idea of “the book.” How did ... Read More