Book Club 1: The Magicians

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Re: Book Club 1: The Magicians

Postby brightasyellow » Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:49 pm

Okay, here's the first question from the list I found and it's not spoilery

In many ways The Magicians depicts and amplifies the quintessential adolescent experience: depression, ennui, emotional carelessness. Would magic be a gift or a curse for the typical teenager?

Any one want to start with that?
And I do not want to be a rose.
I do not wish to be pale pink,
but flower scarlet, flower gold.
And have no thorns to distance me,

but be bright,
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bright as yellow,
warm as yellow.

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Re: Book Club 1: The Magicians

Postby xyz » Thu Dec 22, 2011 8:35 pm

Before we get into the specific discussion questions maybe we can share our over all opinion of the book? Or I need to do that at least, haha. I found many of the portions of the book entertaining, but overall I didn't enjoy it. Mostly because I really didn't like Quentin. It felt like he was petty, pretentious, and just annoying. I haven't read a book that I didn't enjoy in a long while which is probably a reason why it is sitting so cold with me right now.

I don't know if whirlingdervish would want us to hold off on discussion so she can finish but here are a few things I'd like to talk about:

Brakebills South: The fox stuff. What? This made me uncomfortable to the max.

Quentin/Janet/Eliot vs. Alice/Penny: When this was going down I officially stamped my "NO ME GUSTA" stamp on Quentin.

Eliot's "role playing" in the observatory: Again, what? There is something about this that just is weird to me, like a weird presentation of Eliot's sexuality. I don't know why but it feels like it was stuck in there to make it seem more deviant.

"The Beast": It was interesting to find out who The Beast was. I may have missed it but do they discuss how The Beast knows that these kids are going to be the ones that challenge him in Fillory? He makes mention that he ate the wrong one in the classroom or something but I don't know that I read anything sharing how he knows that they'll make it to the Tomb.

Julia: This poor girl?

Okay, that is enough for now while I ponder the first question for a bit. I hope nothing I said was spoilery or anyone that may still be reading!
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Re: Book Club 1: The Magicians

Postby brightasyellow » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:19 pm

I agree with you, xyz. On the whole, I didn't love the book. Quentin was really annoying. I also felt like the character development was very uneven.

Fillory was boring for me. I'm not a fantasy person unless the fantasy is based in reality. So I was fine with the magic while they were in Brakebills and all that, but Fillory seemed to follow no rules; it was just random animals everywhere and then a lot of running and fighting. If you want me to believe in a fantastical world, you can't just have it do everything you want it to - it needs to have some set of rules.

The whole Julia thing bugged me. It seemed so random.

I quite enjoyed the book up until they graduated from Brakebills. Mostly because it felt like a grown-up Harry Potter.
And I do not want to be a rose.
I do not wish to be pale pink,
but flower scarlet, flower gold.
And have no thorns to distance me,

but be bright,
bright,
bright as yellow,
warm as yellow.

* on Twitter
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Re: Book Club 1: The Magicians

Postby xyz » Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:56 am

brightasyellow wrote:I also felt like the character development was very uneven.
...
it was just random animals everywhere and then a lot of running and fighting.


Yes, exactly to the 1st point and :lol: to the 2nd point. I don't want onsilver_stars to think I am unhappy with her choice because even though I didn't particularly care for it I'm still glad I read it. Okay, on to the first question posted

In many ways The Magicians depicts and amplifies the quintessential adolescent experience: depression, ennui, emotional carelessness. Would magic be a gift or a curse for the typical teenager?

Impulse control is hard for teenagers so I can see how it could complicate things by quite a lot. Possessing that much power and controlling it would be more than most adults can handle. I think most teens would walk around with (even more) of a "you can't f with me" attitude even if on the inside they felt nervous/scared.
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Re: Book Club 1: The Magicians

Postby brightasyellow » Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:16 pm

Oh, I agree! I'm glad that I read the book!

As to the first question, I think that magic would be a curse for the typical teenager. I think that introducing magic to people as teenagers could be very confusing. At least in Harry Potter, many children grow up knowing about it and start learning it from a younger age, so they grow into it and it's not a sudden "OMG, this is so cool!" Perhaps this is why Alice seems (in general) to be more level-headed about the use of magic - she grew up with it (even if her parents were weird).
And I do not want to be a rose.
I do not wish to be pale pink,
but flower scarlet, flower gold.
And have no thorns to distance me,

but be bright,
bright,
bright as yellow,
warm as yellow.

* on Twitter
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Re: Book Club 1: The Magicians

Postby onsilver_stars » Sat Dec 24, 2011 4:49 pm

Ahhh!!! I'm so sorry I've been so absent, I've been working my butt off the last week. Tomorrow the first thing on my agenda after presents and food is catching up on the thread and posting a TON of thoughts :) Hope everyone is having an amazing weekend!
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Re: Book Club 1: The Magicians

Postby onsilver_stars » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:47 am

brightasyellow wrote:The whole Julia thing bugged me. It seemed so random.


Julia is insanely poorly developed in this book, but in book two she becomes essentially the main character. I developed such a girl crush on her. She becomes scary and weird and ethereal and it's wonderful. Also, I completely agree on the points that Fillory is boring- but it's partially why I love it. Are you guys familiar with the Narnia series? I think the reason that I love the play on Fillory is that it highlights how ABSOLUTELY ridiculous that series is when you look at it with a critical lens. Fillory is absolutely broken down in book two, and it makes it really like a "grown up Harry Potter". Sort of debunking the fairytales.
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Re: Book Club 1: The Magicians

Postby onsilver_stars » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:54 am

Other thoughts on what has been previously said:

Quentin is a big *. I'm not sure if * is an okay word in this forum, but he is. Just a big all around jerk.

The fox thing also weirded me out beyond belief. Can you even imagine how awful it would be if you were in high school and turned into a fox and then had uncontrollable urges to bang your peers? I don't even want to go there. It seems like a cruel, cruel social experiment.

I loved the geese portion. I'm not sure how you guys felt about it but it was one of my favorite parts of the book.

The Beast is terrifying. He just gets more terrifying. What he says about picking the wrong one is that he should have eaten one of the four that become the kings/queens to prevent them from fulfilling their destiny. Also, how gross is it to have a human beast who eats people? It reminds me of Labyrinth when that gross thing that holds its eyes comes after them.

Honestly, Julia is one of my all time favorite literary characters. I don't want to give away what she does/becomes in the second book unless everyone agrees that they disliked this book enough to not read the second :P
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Re: Book Club 1: The Magicians

Postby xyz » Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:54 pm

I did enjoy the geese portion as well. That was one of my favorite parts of the book. It was a nice break from all Quentin's boohooing. Haha.

I think the thing that creeps me out most about the fox stuff is that we are never aware of Alice feelings about the whole situation. The author makes it clear that Quentin is going on fox instinct but there is still something human there. It is never really addressed and then the assumption is all is good because she bangs him later. The seemingly mindless orgies at Brakebills South were an addition that were off putting to me as well.

I really wish there was more about Julia in the book. As it stands you can tell that she is supposed to be an important part of story but you get to know pretty much absolutely nothing about her.
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Re: Book Club 1: The Magicians

Postby brightasyellow » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:21 am

Agree with the part about Julia. I wanted there to be more about her. It's great that there's more of her in the second book, but was a second book already planned when the first one was being written?

All the sex was definitely off-putting.

Quentin seemed to go from this sweet, slightly dorky kid, to an egotistical *. The fact that he was angry that Alice slept with someone else but didn't understand how she could be angry at him for having a three-some? GAH.

I may have read The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe as a young child, but I really don't remember it.

I feel like, even though this is the beginning of a series, really good books in series will stand on their own and will have some payoff.

I have to return the book to the library today, but here's the second question:

Would Quentin ultimately have been happier if he had chosen not to attend Brakebills?
And I do not want to be a rose.
I do not wish to be pale pink,
but flower scarlet, flower gold.
And have no thorns to distance me,

but be bright,
bright,
bright as yellow,
warm as yellow.

* on Twitter
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