The better book: Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
I couldn't finish this book. I got about 3/4 of the way in, but then I couldn't bring myself to read any more (which is really rare for me). What first drew me into the book was the interesting set-up of the magical world of Brakebills school, and the intricacies of learning magic. I wanted to know more about this world and how the magic in it worked. However I soon found the book to drag. If you've grown up reading Harry Potter, you're used to the format that something happens every year, and each book has an overall story to it. This... didn't. I kept trying to figure out the plot, and fit the events of the book into a bigger overall story than "here are some things that happened to Quentin while he went to school." The characters themselves are pessimistic, with rarely any redeemable qualities that would make me either relate to them, or even like them very much. It's overall a pretty depressing book. By the time they discovered Fillory (basically in the last third of the book), it seemed like there would finally be something interesting happening in this book. However, by then I had already been disappointed by any hopes raised earlier in the book, that I wasn't interested in finishing it. I might try reading this again though, to see if my impression of it will change.