Yes, I've read a book that was (all too briefly) on the New York Times bestseller list. Try not to freak out.
And it is very good. Scratch that, it's awesome. Grossman has basically freely admitted that he initially wrote the novel to contain all the awesome stuff he loves in fantastic fiction.
This is that rare work of fiction that, very like "Who Framed Roger Rabbit", rewards you for being a fan of the genre. And it also serves as a by turns bleakly funny satire and heartaching deconstruction of the fantasy genre.
The novel takes on two very big targets directly. The whole subgenre of wizard school novels a la Harry Potter and Earthsea is the subject of the first large section of the book. What happens when a magic student graduates anyway? And I'm not talking about a Ged or a Harry Potter or an Ender, just a no-name nerd in Ravenclaw house. What are they supposed to do after school?
A lengthy deconstruction of The Chronicles of Narnia forms the bulk of the second half of the novel, and as someone who was always subtly irked by the central conceit of a magical land populated by powerful mythical beings who for some reason require the aid of some random Earth schoolkids to save them, this made me very happy. The characters even call the Aslan-equivalent character out on waiting around for them instead of helping his people.
Really, though, read the book. It might be the greatest genre-busting novel I have read since The Time-Traveler's Wife (and, gosh, I need to rescue that review from the depths of my abandoned MySpace blog.) Do not resist the Awesome. I'd love to hear reactions from non-fantasy fans and readers new to the genre.
Oh, and here's the sketch of "The Final Charge" alluded to in the last post:
As always, click for massive. I'm not going to lie. This might be the baddest-a**ed thing I drew all summer.