The Magicians: Alice’s Story
Based on the novel The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Written by Lilah Sturges
Art by Pius Bak
Colors by Dan Jackson
Letters by Mike Fiorentino
Cover by Scott Newman
Publisher: Archaia Entertainment
Release Date: July 16, 2019
Before I dive into the review of The Magicians: Alice’s Story, I would like to give you a bit of the history of the source material. I was a store manager for a Waldenbooks, but little did I realize how close to the end that company was. In those days we got ARCs (advance reader copies) of virtually everything and let me tell you, that is no small perk. So when an ARC came in that was touted as an adult Harry Potter-esque book about a magical college, I was intrigued. I have some vague memories of starting it during a lunch break and being swept away by the realism of it all. Lev Grossman‘s book grabbed me by the throat and refused to let go. The book became a trilogy, then later a SyFy series that is spectacular in its own way. So yeah, this graphic novel only adds one more dimension to an already breathtaking franchise. Allow me to elaborate!
The original series was focused around one Quentin Coldwater. As a character, he is well developed and continues to grow throughout the series. Part of the central cast is another student, Alice Quinn, now the star of this graphic novel. They become romantically linked off and on, developing a complicated relationship that is a pivotal part of this story. For you see, this graphic novel is not just another part of the series, it is a different perspective of the original book. And while I always liked the character of Alice, this shines a different light on her and truly makes my heart ache for her.
Centered around Brakebills University, an exclusive school for the magically endowed, this tale starts off in a peculiar way. For while students are invited to test their abilities for enrollment, Alice actually finds the hidden school on her own. Not only is this a stunning achievement, she also rather quickly wins over the admissions team. As events unfold, the reader gets to see Alice’s take on things. We feel what she does, for good or for ill. One of my favorite characters from a book series I read in the ’80s said that all heroes have flaws, that is what makes them heroic. In this case we can see just how perception creates reality. For in the original series, Quentin and Alice have a dynamic that gets altered multiple times. Reading her thoughts adds a layer that was heretofore unknown. It truly changed how I see them both now.
But Alice is more than just her relationship with Quentin. She is strong willed, powerful, and, above all else, focused. It is how she got to Brakebills, it is how she became so skilled, and it is one of her most defining characteristics. As the tale runs its course, it is also the reason for the most tragic scene in the book. Her thoughts, feelings, and power create the perfect storm for her to practice her magic at levels most never attain. It is both awe-inspiring and heartbreaking.
This was an amazing addition to what was already one of my favorite franchises. Fans of the television series will not recognize the artistic renderings, they are drastically different. But readers will fall in love all over again. I cannot say enough great things here. If I have ever recommended something you liked, heed my advice once more. This is a must-own for fans of anything Grossman is connected to now or once upon a time. Over 200 pages that go by far too quickly, but you will want to read again and again.
Thanks for reading and enjoy!
The Magicians: Alice’s Story is an all new chapter set in the world of The Magicians trilogy of novels by New York Times bestselling author Lev Grossman that retells the events of the first novel through fan-favorite character Alice Quinn.
Alice Quinn is manifestly brilliant, and she’s always known that magic is real. During her years at Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, she rises to the top of her class, falls in love with Quentin Coldwater, and witnesses a horrifically magical creature invade their dimension.
It’s not soon after graduation when Alice, Quentin, and their friends set their sights on the idyllic setting of Fillory””a place thought to only live in the pages of their favorite children’s books””where magic flows like rivers . . . But in this magical realm nothing is what it seems and something darker lies behind the spellbinding facade. It is in the darkness where Alice will discover her true calling and her life, and those friends, forever changed.
Acclaimed novelist Lev Grossman joins New York Times bestselling writer Lilah Sturges (Jack of Fables), and breakout artist Pius Bak for a new chapter in the smash hit trilogy The Magicians.