cover image The Magicians: Alice’s Story

The Magicians: Alice’s Story

Lev Grossman, Lilah Sturges, and Pius Bak. Archaia, $26.99 (208p) ISBN 978-1-68415-021-2

This graphic adaptation of Grossman’s bestselling fantasy tale promises a fresh take—by shifting focus from the novel’s protagonist, magician-in-training Quentin Coldwater, to that of his classmate and love interest, Alice—but it never fully delivers. Bright, driven, and gifted, Alice finds Brakebills College, a hidden school of magic, where she hopes to learn the fate of her missing brother Charlie. But the adaptation gradually moves away from Alice’s character development and goals—the mystery of Charlie is resolved early and never brought up again—and falls into simply retelling the events of the novel from an only marginally different perspective. Quentin, Alice, and their friends become disillusioned with their decadent magical life, where “you can do anything, or nothing, and none of it matters,” and seek out the sunny promise of Fillory, a Narnia-like realm described in a series of children’s books. The brightly-colored art sets the right tone, enchanted but grounded in a modern adult sensibility. Artist Bak lavishes equal care on fantastic landscapes and ordinary dorm rooms. Though “Alice’s Story” doesn’t add much to the source material, Grossman’s devoted fans are still likely to enjoy this companion volume. [em](July) [/em]