Disappointing. The author makes obvious steals from great writers (C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Rowling, even Burroughs) to prop up his story. The plot is very simple: it's the chronicle of a person's dreary dissolute life as he interacts with his dreary dissolute friends. Throw in stolen imaginative ideas and that's it. Not much else going on. How it got good reviews is beyond me.
A profane, blinding whirlwind of well-written fantasy so gritty and grounded you will wonder what genre you are reading. Like Harry Potter with sex, drugs, alcoholism, and a general malaise, this book spans a disconcerting six years or so in the life of a young magician. The content leans toward Catcher in the Rye, but the writing is so good that you will find it compelling and irresistible.
This is a brilliant book, impossible to put down. This is a neglect-your-family-so-I-can-read good.Harry Potter meets Chronicles of Narnia. But very much written for adults. Grossman has a sequel coming out this summer, I believe, so it's a perfect time to read or reread the original.