Lev Grossman is writing young adult literature for adults as much as the YA crowd. I'm sure the same could be said for JK Rowling--especially given the aging of the subject matter along with Harry--but Grossman also keeps his finger firmly on the irony button, whilst taking on this heady, and well-worn genre. The Magicians, from its very title onward, is a book about magic, and the magicians who use it, but Grossman has a completely different take on who these magicians are, and how they relate to our world.
In the Grossman-Magicians universe, pop culture still has its fantasy stories, and his characters know and love these stories as much as we do, but they know them more intimately for what the are... and what they aren't. They also know about, and live with, the rest of pop culture, and as much as magic can help them with their everyday lives, its also a burden they must bear as they move through a world that doesn't know, and doesn't understand, what its is to tap into the magical power that is available to all those who choose to put their mind to it.
That may be the biggest leap in The Magicians: that magic just is. And at its very core, isn't anything mystical or fantastic, its just a science. Granted, a slippery, hard-to-get-hold-of kind of science that is essentially invisible to the rest of us, in much the way scientists now speculate that some dimensions in our own universe may be: there, just tucked away, curled in upon themselves, such that they are inaccessible to us, if only for the way we might look for them.
Lev Grossman, spins this idea into a charming, engaging fable about a young man named Quentin Coldwater, who just wishes his life wasn't so 'normal'. I've been wanting to read this since reading a great review about a year ago. Grossman has a follow-up called The Magician King, which I'm looking forward to now.
Read this book.