Five stars for wit and pace. And for mashing together different genres with a wry nod to the big name fantasy novels. What would happen if bored, self-absorbed teenagers became powerful magicians in a fantasy land where nothing could stop them? With iPhones and the internet?
But it's right towards the end things come apart. The none too subtle attacks on theism and elevation of magic as 'deeper' and more insightful about 'reality'. He serves up rehashed, watery, paganism presented as some sort of 'truth' in an attempt, perhaps, to say something about our world. And poor fare it is.
On the way is an explicit rape scene which adds nothing and makes the book unsuitable for children. The cover blurb trumpets Grossman as "the modern heir to CS Lewis" something I'm sure Grossman would be embarrassed by. In reality this poor stuff cannot hold a candle to Lewis or Rowling.
I borrowed it from the library on a whim and I'd recommend you do the same if you're curious.