The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney
This wonderful, intelligent adult fantasy by Lev Grossman, Time Magazine's book critic and the author of international best-seller, Codex, is a homage to the Narnia books but much, much darker than the original with sex, drugs, alcohol, swearing and heaps of vividly realised, splendidly detailed magic. It's essentially a story of student-life but one in which the students, all ferociously high-achievers, are also magicians. Grossman's achievement is to somehow make the magic both intellectually and emotionally satisfying. Yet ultimately it's the characterisation that carries the book. It's a story about the perils of idealism, the sadness of growing up and the pain of lost love. Unputdownable.