The Magicians

The Magicians by, Lev Grossman
★★★★☆
The Magicians is a book not for everyone. Quentin, our main character, is magical, and missing something in his life. If he could only get to Fillory (a magical place found in his favorite books, and a very grown up version of Narnia) then everything will be OK. He first finds himself at Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic (think Harry Potter in a partying frat). After 4 years, he finally gets to Fillory. Throughout the story Quentin is forever longing for something that is just out of his reach that he never can grasp.

Lev Grossman is a master at opening Quentin’s mind and diving in to reveal those dark places that everyone lives in at some point or another. Grossman does such a wonderful job of writing that I couldn’t put the book down. He drew me in and I left only because I turned the last page. What is missed in the “feel-good department” it is made up through great writing.

The Potter Books? Read.

Harry Potter, Books #1-#7
Harry Potter, Books 1-7
★★★★☆

In 1997 J.K. Rowling published the first Harry Potter book that opened her world, and our’s, to things so magically wonderful. Over the course of seven books, eight movies, action figures, and theme park rides, the Harry Potter franchise has touched every corner of the world. In 1997 my daughter was only four years old, but by the time 6th grade came around she had her nose in the Harry Potter books and she only came up long enough to eat, take a bath, and go to school. Not only did she read all seven books twice (I think she actually read them three times), she saw all the movies (I enjoyed them right along with her), and then she went to discovered everything at the Wizarding World in Universal Orlando, Florida.

Here it is 2015 and I am proud to say that I have finally read all the books, once. The height of the Potter furor has died down a little bit and I felt, well, it’s about time that I find out what all the excitement was about. So, over the course of about a month I read all seven epic books. As mentioned, I have seen all of the movies so while reading the books I already knew many of the big moments in the plot so I need to say that reading a book post movie is not really the best idea. Yet, there were many instances that I actually understood some things that the movie just couldn’t bring out. It is great to finally understand the game of Quidditch. In addition, the book brought aspects of the story to life that the movie just didn’t have the room to squeeze in (like Nearly Headless Nick’s Death Day Party).

I found it interesting how J.K. Rowling would keep most of the text simple and easy to read for the young crowd she was writing for, yet the reader was respectfully challenged with higher levels of vocabulary and ideas.The progression of each book also grew more mature thematically allowing the reader to grow right along with Harry and his friends who not only developed as growing teens, but as people who were faced with horrendous choices in impossible situations.

Overall I loved this entire series of books. Although written to a young audience the Harry Potter series welcomes readers of all ages. The only fault, if one could be found, is the stretches that are just plain long. I found myself skipping over sections that were either repetitive (the obligatory restating of things early on in each book), or they just kept going on and on bringing the story progression to a stop. Thankfully these were just in a few places and the pace picked right back up. If you have not yet read this series of books then I think it is time you do. J.K. Rowling takes you into a magical world that, on the last page, you truly hate to leave.

 

Chelsea Brown

Chelsea Brown

Chelsea Brown

Welcome Chelsea Brown!
Chelsea is an aspiring author. She is absorbing all the knowledge she can that revolves around writing and the publishing industry, and working on her latest project.

K.J. ~~ What are you working on right now?
CHELSEA ~~ I am currently in the midst of a first draft for a Young Adult novel titled Dreamer. The novel revolves around a girl who’s on the brink of adulthood, and is doing everything she can to create a better life/future for herself, through the route of a college acceptance letter. While, at the same time, trying to survive the rest of the year living with her parents; who both suffer from drug addictions.

K.J. ~~ Where did your inspiration for this book come from?
CHELSEA ~~ I think I had multiple inspirations for this book. The first came from a pile of setbacks with another book that I was working on. The second came from the passing on of my grandmother earlier this year. The third I think being that Dreamer was something new and different than any other story I’ve written in the past. I’ve also had my own personal experiences; where I’ve encountered or have known different people, who have had their own struggles with addiction. So it was the combination of those different instances that have inspired me for this book.

K.J. ~~ You have a blog where you chronicle your writing path (The Jenny Mac Book Blog). What was your inspiration for starting this blog and how has it helped you through your writing process?
CHELSEA ~~ In the beginning I used the blog as more of a platform for my books and to help me build up an audience; however through the years it’s become more than just a platform. It’s become a place of learning, inspiration, and discovery for me. Therefore having the blog at this time in my life has not only bettered my writing process, but it’s also helped me find my voice as a writer.

K.J. ~~ Do you have strategies for getting past those days that are hard to write?
CHELSEA ~~ I usually just grit my teeth and push through it but, if I’m still feeling drained and not up for another day of writing, coffee will do in a pinch.

K.J. ~~What books or authors have influenced you the most and why?
CHELSEA ~~ The Harry Potter series, Holes, and The Casual Vacancy have been the most influential for me. I started writing at an early age, and when I was a child Harry Potter and Holes just blew me away. It literally reached a point where I said “I want to create stories like that.” So shortly after reading Holes I picked up a pen. The Casual Vacancy is a huge influence for me right now because it inspires me as I work on Dreamer.

K.J. ~~What are your favorite books that you have read simply for pleasure?
CHELSEA ~~ Inherit the Wind, Dear John, and Harry Potter.

K.J. ~~ If you took a two-week vacation in any book or story, where would you go and who would you be?
CHELSEA ~~ Okay the child in me is coming out. If I were to vacation in a book for two weeks it would have to be the Harry Potter series and the character I would be is Harry. I love the first book especially when Harry discovers this magical world that he’s apart of, and I would want to explore Diagon Alley so that I could take in all of the magic.
Contact info: http://thejennymacbookblog.wordpress.com/