By Lev Grossman. Published in 2009.
For a book with such an obvious sales gimmick—in this case, “Harry Potter for grown-ups”—The Magicians is strikingly well imagined. It might be opportunistic, but it’s not uninspired, and author Lev Grossman is a talented enough writer to find new ways around familiar elements while exploring fresh themes. The result is a book that’s less a fantasy novel than a dark coming-of-age tale—magic without the carefree whimsy and bright moral lines that usually accompany it.