2015 Reading Challenge: Pair 4

4. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling & “The Magicians” by Lev Grossman

Goodreads.com

Goodreads.com

Goodreads.com

Goodreads.com

The two books in this pair are Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling and “The Magicians” by Lev Grossman.  Here is the note from the BuzzFeed article:

Brooklyn teenager Quentin Coldwater of “The Magicians” likely grew up reading about Harry Potter. It’s the reason he spends his days wishing magic were real, and the reason he’s so excited when his fantasy is seemingly fulfilled by acceptance into the Brakebills Academy for magicians. But the magic world of “The Magicians” is a bit more tempered by reality — the studies are tedious, the practice is mired in bureaucracy — and even when Quentin discovers how far-reaching this magic is, he’s still not immune to some standard post-grad disillusionment.

Do you agree these were good compliments?  What did you think of the books themselves?

Note: I have linked my reviews to each of the respective books in the images in the beginning of this post.  Also, if you have not read the books, I will likely have spoilers below so watch out!

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This was a comparison I have waited a while to write as I wanted to allow myself some time to discern my true feelings.  As you may have seen from my review of “The Magicians”, I was not the biggest fan, but that is not the question at hand.  What I needed to figure out was if it is complimentary to “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (independent of liking or disliking the book personally).

“Harry Potter” and “The Magicians” are so very different to read I needed to focus in on the underlying themes of the books.  Yes, they both have magic referenced in them, but is “The Magicians” worthy to be put on the same level as “Harry Potter”?  In summary, I don’t think so.

These books are COMPLETELY different.  The entire Harry Potter series can be summarized as Good vs. Evil and Love vs. Hate.  Overall, Harry is a hero worthy of the title who overcomes hardships to consistently do what is right.  Quentin on the other hand is preoccupied with nihilism in so many ways.  Everything is handed to him and yet he still cannot find happiness.  This is a direct contrast to everything that Harry Potter stands for!  The belief that life is meaningful and that love - love above all - will make the difference in the world would be difficult to apply to "The Magicians". 

Using my wand while enjoing some Butter Beer...

Using my wand while enjoing some Butter Beer...

Stylistically, I also struggle to compare the two series.  Harry Potter is immersive and is incredibly easy to forget what is going on in the real world.  "The Magicians", in comparison, seems to go out of the way to remind you that you’re reading a book.  There are consistent references to Harry Potter as well as The Chronicles of Narnia series, which I found kept me firmly grounded in reality.

Finally, and perhaps the least important: I liked "The Magicians" ok, but I love love love Harry Potter.  Though very conflicted when writing my review of “The Magicians”, I found myself interested in the way people get fascinated by someone/thing you want to fix, despite knowing perhaps it is too far gone.  That fascination cannot compare to the complete and utter obsession that takes over while reading Harry Potter.  I am still waiting for my letter to arrive by owl…

Summary: I DO NOT think agree the books are complimentary.