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Fern-hunting parties became popular, allowing young women to get outside in a seemingly innocuous pursuit with less rigid oversight and chaperoning than they saw in parlors and drawing rooms. They may have even had the occasional romantic meetup with a similarly fern-impassioned beau. — Bree

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"The Prodigal Sister" for Ophelia Devine. Faked deaths, scandal, and schemes!
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The Magicians by Lev Grossman
The Magicians

A YA novel that is essentially Harry Potter meets Narnia but with drugs and alcohol. From goodreads:

A thrilling and original coming-of-age novel for adults about a young man practicing magic in the real world.

Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he’s still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.

He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin’s fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.

At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing, The Magicians boldly moves into uncharted literary territory, imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions. Lev Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren’t black and white, love and sex aren’t simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.

Was proposed as a "team read" of sorts back in March/April. Was also made into a TV series.

This is a discussion thread for people who have read or are reading the book in question. With that in mind, there are likely to be spoilers throughout. However, in the event of major twists or “how it ends”, please wrap content in spoiler tags.

[spoiler]Surprise!content here[/spoiler]

— Aldous walks with a cane and pronounced limp as the result of a splinching accident. —

— graphics by mj ❤ —
I have been 33% of the way through this book for a month and a half. It's frustrating, because if I hadn't already seen the show (which I love) and if Quentin was half as obnoxious, I know that this would be right up my alley. I don't dislike the writing style (though it's taking a little long to get to the ~point) and the world is excellent, but I just don't find it gripping yet.

— Aldous walks with a cane and pronounced limp as the result of a splinching accident. —

— graphics by mj ❤ —
*does the It Doesn't Get Any Better dance*

I also watched the first season of the show prior to reading the book and the best thing I have to say about the book is that it gave me a deeper appreciation for the things they changed when they made the show. :P

I said in the Goodreads thread and I still firmly believe that the entire first half of the book could be condensed down to a few lines of backstory here and there and the book itself could start at "Book II / Manhattan." There isn't any significant plot development in the first half of the book that wouldn't be done just as well and possibly better as an eluded-to backstory of stuff that happened when they were at school together. The whole section on Brakebills was basically just worldbuilding.

Not that the plot, when you get to it, is really worth the slog. I'm looking forward to seeing how it's handled in the TV show because so far the creators of the tv series have just taken Lev Grossman's ideas and made them 1,000% better on all counts.

This book also fell into the relatively common trap for the first book in a series of having an ending that wasn't an ending. There was no plot resolution and no real catharsis for any of the characters. The last chapter might just as well have been a trailer for the second book.

is it a crime to love too well?
To bear too tender, or too firm a heart, to act a lover's or a Roman's part?
Is there no bright reversion in the sky, for those who greatly think, or bravely die?
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So I got to chapter 3 and then gave up. I've been binge watching the series though and only have 1 episode left of season 2. Needless to say, I'm thoroughly enjoying the series and will never go back to the book. >.>; I tried.
I made a second attempt at the book, and to be honest got no further than I did the first time. I'm 15% of the way in and I just couldn't find anything to latch on to that would make me attached to the book. As per my habit I'll give it the good ol' third times a charm, but think I have to let it go for a year before I attempt it again.
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