I was told this book was going to be “Harry Potter all grown up”, and I was really excited to start it. This is a story about older teenagers/young adults in a magic school that’s more like a college, it’s more adult because there’s sex, drinking and other grittier themes that Harry Potter doesn’t touch on – but the magic school is really where the similarities to Harry Potter end.
Overall this book was “okay” for me, but I can see the appeal for others who may click with this better. Sometimes a review from someone about the aspects they don’t like will make others think “wow I really want to read that”.
My biggest problem with enjoying the book wasn’t actually a fault of the book – it’s that I didn’t click with the main character. I’ve heard a lot of people compare Quentin to Holden Caulfield, I would tend to agree. So, if you’re a person who liked Catcher in the Rye, and Holden in particular you may want to pick this up. The main character goes through a lot of depression, self doubt, and angst.
I liked where the book was going in the beginning, and overall I enjoyed the plot. The pacing was also pretty well done, although I wasn’t particularly attached to the main character or the side characters I kept reading at a decent pace and finished the book within a few days. It’s also not terribly long, so if you’re looking for a break from epic books that are 500-1000 pages this one will read fairly quickly.
I really struggled on how to rate the book on goodreads, and reading through the goodreads reviews there are people who LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!!! And others who post long ranting I HATE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!!! Kinds of reviews. I feel like I’m the only person in the middle going “That was okay, I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either”. There’s a whole subreddit r/breakbills that’s dedicated to this series, and the tv show. So, there’s absolutely a fan base around this series and I think it’s worth a try if you think my review sounds like something you’d enjoy.
Overall it’s well written, and if you like reading about characters who struggle with depression, who are trying to find the meaning of life and their place in it, and being introduced to adulthood – not a coming of age story, but what comes after, this may be a book for you.
If you pick this up after reading my review and hate it, I’m sorry. If you pick the book up and really like it YAY!