I stayed up late finishing this book last night because it was compelling. It is a story about a very smart, very lonely teenager who is invited to a school for magicians. Even though I found this book to be so interesting, I felt a bit let down at the end.
In real life, I know I won't get all my questions answered. I have reconciled myself to this part of reality. But in the world of books, I expect some answers. This book gives few. I have more questions at the end of the book than I did at the beginning or middle. There are loose ends everywhere. I saw no indication that there will be a second book forthcoming that gives me some answers.
In spite of my frustration, I did enjoy this book. One of the overarching themes is the question of whether happiness is caused by circumstances or attitude. The reader must come to their own conclusion, because the author does not give a definitive answer. I personally feel that we must create our own happiness, but that was already my opinion. This book did give me the opportunity to look at my opinion again and re-evaluate.
Throughout this book, Quentin is fascinated by the fictional world of Fillory (roughly translated-Narnia). In the beginning of this book, Quentin believes that his interest is part of the reason that he is not dating the girl he likes. He feels that Fillory is a land where the choices you make are important, unlike the every day world. It is a land where happiness is possible, even probable. He eventually discovers that it is a real world and is able to journey there with his friends. He has to put his theory to the test. Is Fillory all that he dreamed it would be? Is he different because of being in Fillory? These questions are explored in this book. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to enter a fantasy world, this book is for you.
If you don't mind having unanswered questions at the end of a book, you should read this book. This book will stay in your thoughts for a while, because you will keep wondering about the things it left unexplained. Anyone who has a love of fantasy and magical systems will be intrigued by this nod to other fantasy books.
Update: After a bit more research, I discovered that Lev Grossman is coming out with a sequel to The Magicians. It should be out in 2011.