Thursday, January 28, 2016

Inspired by Reading: The Magicians

It's January and that means that, after taking a little break for the holidays, the Inspired by Reading Book Club is back in session!  Our first book of the new year was The Magicians by Lev Grossman.  It's the first book in a trilogy and I'm interested in tracking down the sequels soon. 

The story opens with Quentin Coldwater and his best friend heading to a college admissions interview that ends up going very wrong and sets some unexpected events in motion.  Quentin ends up literally stumbling onto the grounds of Brakebills Academy where he discovers that magic, like in his beloved childhood book series about the enchanted land of Fillory, is real and that he possess abilities himself.

To me, the whole Fillory story line felt very much like the author wanted to use the Narnia books but wasn't allowed to do so.  I mean, a family of children temporarily without their parents who find a magical world through a portal and become kings and queens there but are never allowed to stay?  Instead of a majestic lion you have the rams Ember and Umber.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the storyline and remember wanting to find my own passage to Narnia as a child, but it all felt a bit too derivative for me.  I wish he could have come up with a magical world that was more original and his own thing.

I always struggle to say enough about the book without giving too much away... there's nothing worse than spoilers!  I'll leave it at this:  this first book in the series follows the characters through school and back into the real world where most of them find themselves pretty lost and adrift until Adventure (yes, with a capital "A") finds them and turns their lives upside down.  I'm curious where the sequels will take the story next.  If anyone has read them, I'd love to hear your thoughts on if it's worth continuing.  Now onto my creation for this month!

With a lot of things on my plate right now, I didn't really leave myself time for anything too ambitious.  Naturally, this means I started thinking earrings!  Early on in my reading, I was struck by the description of the Brakebills crest known as the "key-and-bee."  "Each jacket had an embroidered coat of arms on it, a golden bee and a golden key on a black background dotted with tiny silver stars."  Here's my interpretation!

Since I own practically every charm that Vintaj makes, I knew that I had a couple of different bees and keys to choose from.  Now, unless they are buffed, they aren't exactly gold, but I'm going to call it close enough since I don't really use gold.  I made some alterations to the "Queen Bee Connector" and paired them with my favorite key charm (yes, I have a favorite!).  For the black background I chose an Arte Metal blank and added silver "stars" using a fun technique from Heather Powers' new book Beautiful Elements.

I've got two more challenges to finish before the month is up, so I'm off to work on those...  Happy reading and beading, everyone!


  1. Great interpretation!
    I totally understand about being overwhelmed!

  2. I have mixed feelings about the book. Part of me really wanted to like it... because, you know, magic. I'm a sucker for it. But the angst of young adulthood, while it was interesting to live through, is not so much my cup of tea nowadays. It's like, "Y'all know magic... be worthwhile, b*tchez!" I wasn't super off-put by the Narnia feel. So much of those stories follow the pattern of little lost child, touchstone, and benevolent guardian spirit that guides child through trauma/life lesson/puberty. I think the author may have been making commentary on these types of stories, because the Fillory author's story is very much like J.M. Barrie or Lewis Carroll.

    Anyways, I love your earrings! They're super charming! Pun intended! Thanks so much for playing along! I always look forward to seeing what you'll create and how you interpret the books!

  3. Great earrings-- the silver stars add a lot, nice touch.