Whose face should I be bashing in right now for recommending this wretched book to me? It got off to a good start, a loner teen who dabbles in magic in Brooklyn and who stumbles into an entrance exam for Brakebills College, the prestigious magic school in upstate New York protected by a bubble of charms and hence unnoticeable by outsiders. Enter a whirlwind of cramming spells, wands, tests, along with the usual teen drama of hooking up, drinking. Quentin, Alice, and Penny singled out to advance before their time, Penny doesn’t pass. Q&A move on, become “sorted” with the “Physical Kids”, including Eliot who has a thing for boys.
I can’t decide if the overt Harry Potter vibe is a big wink-nudge-aren’t-I-clever attempt by Grossman, or just delusional parody. Quiddich is mentioned, as are hippogriffs.
Graduation day, everyone gets a demon tattooed into their back to help them in a big fight if needed. Quentin & Alice head off to Manhattan where the magical trust fund keeps them in booze and drugs for as long as they need. Penny turns up one day, clutching some magic buttons that take them to Fillory, the land Quentin has been obsessed with since reading the books as a child. They get into some scrapes, magic battles ensue.
This book runs off the rails about 100 pages from the end. I could swear there’s some section that says, “We need to get some unicorns up in here.” It tries to be modern, hip, ironic, and magical at the same time, and falls flat with a pretty weak ending.
Vomitous. Do not waste your time.