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Magician King Paperback – September 1, 2011
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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
""The Catcher in the Rye" for devotees of alternative universes. It's dazzling . . . A rare, strange, and scintillating novel."---Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune
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Top customer reviews
I have a couple of friends who say they don't like the series because the narrator is "a whiner." I don't really understand this complaint: I have not tended to feel the need to love my protagonists. And I'd argue that one of the greatest fantasy series of all time is E. Nesbit's "The Five Children and It" series, narrated by a spectacularly pompous, self-satisfied young man named Oswald. As with Quentin -- the narrator of the "Magicians" series -- Oswald's heart is in the right place, but he is delightfully irritating. And the books would not be nearly so satisfying if the narrator were NOT so irritating, if he were less self-absorbed, more aware of his own fallibility, etc. Because in his irritatingness, he -- both he's -- is LIKE US. He's human. And that both makes his foibles funnier and gives his tragedies some real emotional weight.
This story is well written. The story is tight. The ending resolves the narrative dynamically -- zero deus ex machina, zero shortcuts.
The thing that most blew me away is how deep and abiding its treatment of its core material is: cosmology, metaphysics, magic, internal world rules, characterization. I teach mythology and cosmology. I don't mention that to put on airs, merely to stipulate that my bar of enjoyment (the depth I require to suspend disbelief) runs annoyingly high.
I was gleeful, quite literally, at how tragic and true-to-form the last quarter of this book was. I knew immediately that I liked this better a little better than the first book, and it progressively got better and better from there. I was continually surprised in the most pleasant of ways. I found myself saying, yes, that is novel and absolutely the way the story should turn. There is no better marker for a well-told story.
I cannot wait to read the 3rd book. I already own it. I will want to savor it as well, as it is the last installment.
Thank you, Mr. Grossman.
Most recent customer reviews
I haven't fallen into a series like I did "The Magicians" in a long time.
Only downside is there isn't enough. I want more!