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The Magician King: A Novel (The Magicians) Paperback – May 29, 2012


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The Magician King: A Novel (The Magicians) + The Magicians: A Novel + The Magician's Land: A Novel (Magicians Trilogy)
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Product Details

  • Series: The Magicians
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (May 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780452298019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452298019
  • ASIN: 0452298016
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (247 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2011: This second volume in Lev Grossman’s celebrated series picks up just after the events of its 2009 prequel The Magicians. Quentin, Eliot, Janet, and Julia are now the High Kings and Queens of Fillory, a fantastic realm not unlike Narnia, and they pass their days “deliquescing atom by atom amid a riot of luxury.” To ease his royal boredom, Quentin embarks on a quest with Julia. Despite his romantic visions of heroic feats and easy accolades, the quest goes horribly awry, and they find themselves back in the depressingly real world of Chesterton, Massachusetts. With the help of seedy underground magicians, a dragon, and a young boy named Thomas, they undertake a desperate journey back to Fillory. Grossman’s writing here is sharp and self-aware, and the characters feel like people you actually know, but cooler: they are delightfully profane and dripping with irony, they are arrogant and shallow, they are finding their way in a magically perfect world that somehow still lets them down, and they are learning to fight for the things they love. The Magician King is a triumph of (and an homage to) modern fantasy writing, and a must-read for grown-up fans of Narnia and Harry Potter. --Juliet Disparte --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“[A] serious, heartfelt novel [that] turns the machinery of fantasy inside out.”
The New York Times (Editor’s Choice)

“A spellbinding stereograph, a literary adventure novel that is also about privilege, power, and the limits of being human. The Magician King is a triumphant sequel.”
—NPR.org

“[The Magician King] is The Catcher in the Rye for devotees of alternative universes. It’s dazzling and devil-may-care. . . . Grossman has created a rare, strange, and scintillating novel.”
Chicago Tribune

The Magician King is a rare achievement, a book that simultaneously criticizes and celebrates our deep desire for fantasy.”
The Boston Globe

“Grossman has devised an enchanted milieu brimming with possibility, and his sly authorial voice gives it a literary life that positions The Magician King well above the standard fantasy fare.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Grossman expands his magical world into a boundless enchanted universe, and his lively characters navigate it with aplomb.”
The New Yorker

“Grossman is brilliant at creating brainy, distinct, flawed, complex characters, and nearly as good at running them through narrative gauntlets that inventively tweak the stories that generations have grown up on.”
The Portland Oregonian

The Magician King, the immensely entertaining new novel by Lev Grossman, manages to be both deep and deeply enjoyable.”
Chicago Sun-Times

“Readers who have already enjoyed The Magicians should lose no time in picking up The Magician King. For those who haven’t, read both books: Grossman’s work is solid, smart, and engaging adult fantasy.”
The Miami Herald

“Now that Harry Potter is through in books and films, grown-up fans of the boy wizard might want to give this nimble fantasy series a try.”
New York Post




“Lev Grossman’s The Magician King is a fresh take on the fantasy-quest novel—dark, austere, featuring characters with considerable psychological complexity, a collection of idiosyncratic talking animals (a sloth who knows the path to the underworld, a dragon in the Grand Canal), and splendid set pieces in Venice, Provence, Cornwall, and Brooklyn.”
The Daily Beast

“In this page-turning follow-up to his bestselling 2009 novel The Magicians, Grossman takes another dark, sarcastically sinister stab at fantasy, set in the Narnia-esque realm of Fillory.”
Entertainment Weekly

The Magician King is clearly the middle book in a trilogy, but it’s that rare creature that bridges the gap between tales and still stands on its own. And just as the first book showed that growing up is hard no matter how much power you have, it shows that becoming an adult involves far more than just reaching the right age.”
The A.V. Club

“Fabulous fantasy spiked with bitter adult wisdom—not to be missed.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Fans of The Magicians will find this sequel a feast and will be delighted that a jaw-dropping denouement surely promises a third volume to come.”
Booklist


More About the Author

Lev Grossman is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels The Magicians and The Magician King. The third book in the trilogy, The Magician's Land, will be published in August 2014. The New Yorker named The Magicians as one of the best books of 2009. In 2011 Grossman was awarded the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer by the World Science Fiction Society.

Grossman is also the book critic at Time magazine, and he has written about books and technology for the New York Times, Salon, the Wall Street Journal, Wired, Lingua Franca, the Village Voice and the Believer, as well as NPR.

He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three children. He's 43, slightly built and probably wouldn't last long in a post-apocalyptic, eye-for-an-eye world.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

111 of 119 people found the following review helpful By Susan Tunis TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Can it possibly be only two years since I read Lev Grossman's The Magicians? If you asked me about that novel, I would immediately tell you that I loved it. Apparently, that's about all I could tell you. Having just read Grossman's engaging follow-up, I regret not having reread, or at least brushed up on, the first novel. References to prior events were plentiful, and rather than jog my memory, they highlighted just how fallible it is. Hopefully yours is better, or you will take the steps I didn't prior to reading the sequel. Oh, and it goes without saying that if you haven't read the first novel, don't start with this one.

Nonetheless, my inexact memory did not keep me from enjoying the latest adventures of Quentin Coldwater et al. Even I recalled that at the end of The Magicians Quentin, Julia, Elliott, and Janet had left our world to become the co-queens and kings of the magical (and not fictional after all) land of Fillory. The end. I thought that was the end. It was a good ending, and I didn't expect any more. As we catch up with Quentin and co., they are living their "happy ever after." It's glorious. It's perfect. It's boring. To some degree, this has ever been the issue of life in a magical world.

Quentin is itching for a quest, but this is countered by the reasonable fear of screwing up a perfect life. When a safe-looking mini-quest comes along, Quentin goes for it--and screws up his perfect life. The mini-quest evolves into a major-quest with the highest of stakes. While this primary drama is unfolding, there is a second story being told in reflection. The Magicians recounted the education and coming of age of Quentin, Elliott, and Janet. Finally we learn what "hedgewitch" Julia was doing all of those years, and how she learned her craft.
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66 of 80 people found the following review helpful By RRZ on August 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not as good as The Magicians. This book felt rushed to publication, as the author seemed to default to "the item magically appears so that quest could be completed..." theme over and over and over. My impression of the first book was that the reader would come to that same conclusion (that fortuitous events mystically occurred occasionally in order to move the quest along), but in the first book, such intervention of "fate" seemed indirect and subtle. In the sequel, the appearence of the missing items doesn't surprise the reader (or the characters within the story) and appeared to be the norm and not the exception.

I still love the author's books and his numerous references to modern events and terminology, but overall, the book was mildly disappointing. The first book seemed so "meaty," with exhaustive portions of the story containing riveting explanations of unusual people, places, events, emotions and relationships. (Who didn't love the development of friendships and antagonistic relationships at Brakebills?). The sequel, on the other hand, seems rushed, with very little for us to sink our teeth into. In the first book I found myself loving (and rooting for) many of the main characters and I empathized with so many of the characters in so many of the scenes. Who wasn't heartbroken when primary and secondary characters died in the first book?

In the sequel, the characters seemed to simply be scenery. They just seemed emotionally checked out and disconnected from each other (none of them seemed to rely on each other for anything in the least). I didn't find myself emotionally invested in the characters in the sequel.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By John Cullom on August 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The concept that drew me to these two books was that they're an adult literary treatment of a concept that has largely been addressed with either young adult or pulp adult writing and characters. I feel like The Magicians squeaked by in meeting that criteria (although the moral center did not hold). The Magician King does not. I think this does work as pretty good fantasy. There's a good deal of inventiveness, plot twists based on the created rules of the world, characters we basically care about. There's one very high quality creation in the gods which is severely underexploited. But overall, it's not great fantasy.

But it is definitely not literary. The quality of the writing has dropped significantly from the first book, and a great deal of it seems plain lazy. I don't think any of this would bother me except for the fact that I think Lev Grossman has the chops to do this right. There have been astounding sequences - e.g. Brakebills South, and I think that LG has brought a character to the page that is new to literature but common to life - nose to the grindstone type, with the realistic tradeoffs that are made to become good at something. There's a working metaphor with magic and writing that is working under the surface that he is able to tap to create a credible portrait of a teenager learning to become a powerful magician. That's no mean feat.

The book that comes to mind, and that I'm probably unfairly expecting, is The Corrections. The Corrections starts in the slang and quotidian of the suburbs, but elevates that life to literature. I think part of the reason that this works is that The Corrections knows what it is: literature.
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