Viking, Aug 11 2009, $26.95
In Brooklyn, high school senior Quentin Coldwater conceals his only love in life, children fantasies from everyone else as he knows the ridicule would be unbearable. So Quentin is bored and miserable except when he hides in his closet re-reading Fillory and Further for the quadrillionth time. Drifting with no future, he stumbles upon a portal to the elusive and exclusive Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy and easily passes the impossible to pass for the magically deprived entrance exam.
Quentin feels uplifted as he has found his home. He and the other misfits from the mundane world begin to fit in together. He and reticent Alice become lovers and Eliot becomes his best friend. They learn at school how to apply the energy currents of the universe to cast spells; After graduating, in spite of Alice’s warnings, Quentin returns to drifting supplemented by drinking as he has had a taste of another life only to see it end with him back in the boring mundane. When he betrays Alice, Quentin feels remorse and misery as he has never felt before. However, he learns Fillory exists and seeing an opportunity to redeem himself with Alice, Quentin seeks purpose there, but finds the place much dangerous than the novels portrayed.
This is a deep dark romantic fantasy starring a strong cast while paying homage to classic young adult sagas like Narnia, Harry Potter, and the Lesley Simonton School for the Magically Gifted (trilogy by E. Rose Sabin). The story line is fast-paced and filled with action, but totally owned by the relationships between Quentin and others especially with Alice and Eliot that drives the plot. Fans will enjoy Quentin’s quest for redemption as he returns to Fillory after letting down his Alice.