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Lev Grossman biography and books reviewed

Lev Grossman was born in 1969, the son of two English professors, and grew up in a suburb of Boston. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in literature and went on to the Ph.D. program in comparative literature at Yale, although he left after three years without finishing a dissertation.

After Yale Grossman worked for a string a dot-coms while writing freelance articles about books, technology and culture in general for numerous magazines, newspapers and websites, until he was hired by Time in 2002 and became the magazine’s book critic as well as one of its lead technology writers.

He is also the author of the international bestseller Codex.

“Once I'd figured out that I wasn't going to be an academic, I set about gradually turning myself into a journalist. I worked for a string of dot-coms while writing free-lance articles about books, technology and culture in general for various magazines, newspapers and websites, including Lingua Franca, the Village Voice, Entertainment Weekly, Time Out New York, Salon and the New York Times. In 2002 I was hired by Time and became the magazine's book critic as well as one of its lead technology writers. The New York Times says I'm “among this country's smartest and most reliable critics.”

... on The Magicians ...

“The Magicians brilliantly explores the hidden underbelly of fantasy and easy magic, taking what's simple on the surface and turning it over to show us the complicated writhing mess beneath. It's like seeing the worlds of Narnia and Harry Potter through a 3-D magnifying glass.” Naomi Novik

June 10th 2009 interview with Lev Grossman

Lev Grossman, the son of two English professors, grew up in a suburb of Boston. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in literature and went on to the Ph.D. program in comparative literature at Yale. He worked for a string of dot-coms while writing freelance articles about books, technology and [...]

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Lev Grossman reviews

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The fantasy genre always needs an author to come along a show it in a different light and this is exactly what has Grossman has done with The Magicians. He has injected sexual tension and questionable morals into a school for wizards and the result is a rousing, perceptive and multifaceted coming of age story that is both bright and beguiling. The Magicians is a perfect fantasy book for older teens that will find that the author understands them, and their feelings, possibly better than they do themselves.

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The Magician King by Lev Grossman

Nothing is ever as it seems. Quentin Coldwater is king of the bizarre and wonderful land of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are losing their appeal and Quentin is getting restless. Even in heaven a man needs a little adventure. So when a steward is murdered on a morning's hunt that is exactly what Quentin gets. But this quest is like no other. What starts as a flight of fancy, a glorified cruise to faraway lands, soon becomes the stuff of nightmares when Quentin is unceremoniously dumped at his parent's house in a decidedly un-magical suburb in Massachusetts. Back in this grey reality, Quentin has never wanted his magical kingdom more. Fortunately he is accompanied by his old friend Julia, who learned her own brand of black and twisted magic outside Brakebills College at an illegal, underground school in the real world. As they struggle through the paranormal alleyways, past Venetian dragons and fairytale houses, it becomes clear that only Julia's black arts can save them. But there is a greater power at work, one that is threatening to destroy Fillory forever, and to defeat it they must unravel the secrets of Julia's tragic past, and the terrible pact she made to gain her power.

"The Magicians, which I first read in 2009, was a real highlight of that year for me. I made it Book of the Month on this very site, so much did I enjoy it and I still hold to the claim I made then that few books have reminded me quite so evocatively of what it was like to be a teenager. So I had been anticipating the follow up, The Magician King, for quite some time, even going so far as to request a review copy (which is a rarity nowadays as I am submerged under review copies) and was excited when it arrived and began reading it almost immediately. I finished the book in pretty short order (which is in itself a good sign) but this was now a number of months ago. You see, my feelings on the book were, and still are, rather jumbled. I'll get this out of the way straight away - I did enjoy The Magician King but not to the same extent as its predecessor, it just didn't seem to immerse me in the same way. So this review is an attempt to bring clarity to my feelings."

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The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater has lost everything. He has been cast out of the secret magical land of Fillory and now, friendless and broke, he returns to where his story began: Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But Quentin’s past soon catches up with him...

Meanwhile, Fillory’s magical barriers are failing, and barbarians from the north have invaded. To save their beloved world from extinction, Eliot and Janet, High King and Queen of Fillory, must embark on a final, dangerous quest.

Quentin’s adventure takes him from Antarctica to the enchanted Neitherlands, where he finds old friends. But all roads lead back to Fillory, where Quentin must put things right, or die trying.

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