I had been curious about this book after Viking did a big push for it during Comic Con, so when I found a copy at work, I was pretty excited. It's kind of a mix of Harry Potter (not that I've read any of those books, but I imagine that in setting much of the book at a college for magicians it must bear at least some similarity to that series) and the Chronicles of Narnia, but with sex, drugs, despair, and a whole lot of f-words. I've read some criticisms claiming that the purpose of reading a fantasy novel is to escape from all the negative aspects of real life (despair, for one), and thus this book cannot really be considered a fantasy novel. However, for someone who doesn't really delve too deeply into the genre, if it's got magicians, magical worlds, talking animals, and centaurs (and this book has all four), then it's pretty safe to say that it's a fantasy novel. The real life troubles and heartaches only serve to make it all the more compelling. So take that, nerds.
I love the map of Fillory (the stand-in for Narnia) printed on the endpapers. It's one of the reasons the book actually made it to my shelf. As for the read itself, it wasn't a bad one (I loved the first couple of Narnia books when I was a kid, so that might be part of the appeal), but not particularly exceptional. I'll read the sequel though, should one ever be published.