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The Magician King: A Novel (The Magicians Book 2) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 416 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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|Book 2 of 3 in The Magicians|
|Age Level: 18 and up||Grade Level: 12 and up|
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About the Author
- Publication Date : August 9, 2011
- File Size : 3615 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 416 pages
- Publisher : Penguin Books (August 9, 2011)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B004XFZ8X2
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #37,319 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The story dragged quite a bit. Yes, it's a long novel. I expect a little bit of drag. Not, however, the impending doom I felt every time I opened the book to reread the same few sentences over and over trying to keep anything in my head.
Our same band of extremely unlikable characters continues in Fillory, a wonderful world that's mostly a gory rip off of Wonderland and Narnia. Our antihero Quentin is now one of two kings of Fillory. And still not really worth a damn regardless.
Magical prowess beyond wonders, and he goes off the deep end over his ex, then screws an annoying secondary character that's around for a blink and gone.
The dual storylines between Quentin in the present and Julia in the past is the only thing that kept me reading, besides that I didn't want to waste money. Julia's past resonates with any person addicted to anything, she will do whatever it takes to get magic. However, the ending of the book was disappointing and underwhelming, and though I've been trying to chug through the third, since I purchased them all, it's been put on the back burner.
Lev Grossman's novels seem to be for people who enjoy reading dictionaries for fun. You can describe things to absolute death; description and entertaining writing are unfortunately two very different things.
Almost nothing is easy (even though, at times, some things seem disconcertingly so: mostly they're not, but sometimes, by grace, they are). Nothing is black-and-white. No one is immune, and everyone changes who can change. Those Who cannot change are Themselves, irrefutably, in ways that are not always convenient.
I'm rereading Grossman's trilogy because I feel like I'm in one of those parts of my life that fairy tales sum up as "ever after," but which shockingly never are forever and have a tendency to transition from the "after" of the last tale right into the "once upon a time" of the next. Grossman understands what it is to reach what looked like your "happily ever after," only to discover that it doesn't quite work like that. Deftly and surely, with rather a keen insight into human nature, he reveals that he understands.
The worst thing though, and what really dragged the whole experience down, is Julia's story. For a start, it should have been told in one go right at the start. The first book ends with her showing up out of nowhere and that was essentially the cliffhanger that I wanted resolved, but I don't think it even was. Instead we get her backstory doled out piece by piece in alternate chapters, stopping just short of the bit where she actually meets the others.
That's not the biggest issue though. The way the other characters were written made it possible to believe they were geniuses, because we were told they were and never got any details to contradict that. But for some reason Grossman felt he had to prove Julia's intelligence and it all comes across as incredibly phoney. Especially the internet stuff, but all of it really. I can't believe I'm saying this, because it was season one and season one was bad, but the TV show did Julia's story way better.
And Quentin's story just didn't feel real. In the first book he's very believable and very relateable. In this one he's much shallower. He's more like a children's story protagonist, a blank slate with stuff happening to and around him without much input or intent on his part.
There were things I liked about the book, but most of the time it just lacked the qualities that made the first one good and didn't bring anything of comparable value to replace them.
I appreciated the way Quentin, the callow protagonist of the main story, came to understand that he knew next to nothing about the beauties of the Earth that he so eagerly abandoned for the magical world of Fillory. He started to realize how shallow his dreams had been. He is still terribly impatient, though. I wish the author could let Quentin spend 15 or 20 years, not a couple of days or a week, working on a problem or traveling from one place to another. Maybe this issue will be confronted in the third volume!
Finally, would it be too much to ask that the author acknowledge the existence (and possibly the value) of people who are not upper-middle-class white nerds? In this book, the action moves outside the U.S., visiting England, France, and Italy, with a mention of Australia, but its heart is still in the Ivy League, and everyone is under the age of 25, no matter how long they live.
Top reviews from other countries
This picks up a little while after the first left off. Quentin and friends are kings and queens of Fillory. Quentin is bored, and thinks he needs a quest, or an adventure, but when one actually presents itself he backs off. As a result he takes a non-adventurous side trip and ends up back on Earth for a little while.
This book is not just Quentin's story though. As we progress it starts to alternate chapters with Julia's back story, which leads us (right at the end) to the reason Fillory (and magic in general) are in danger. Everything starts to tie together nicely.
I'm not convinced everything holds together, but then again there is a 3rd book to be read, and perhaps that fills in the gaps. The whole question of "passports", which only Quentin seems to need, is a rather odd one, for example.
On the whole though, this is shaping up to be a pretty good trilogy ... now, on to book 3!!
(Edit: I've just noticed that the price of book 3 rose from 3.99 to 6.98 yesterday ... I guess I'll be holding off on reading that until the price drops again. What are the publishers playing at??!)
Personally I think we could lose the Potter references, as well as the twee Narnia background to Fillory, but I guess that's part of the subversion so I can get over it. Aside from this, the story felt original and I enjoyed reading a book in this genre written for adults. One comment I would make was that the characters all had the same superior, sarky tone. I understand how this rests on them being inside something special and all being highly superior intellectually, but the Brakebills crowd sounded the same as the non-Brakebills crowd and I think if you take any piece of dialogue it could have been any of the magician characters speaking. The book's good enough to get over that too though. A great read and I'd highly recommend it.
I enjoyed this book, however in my mind it wasn't as good as the first. In the first book you find Quentin discovering his magical abilities, whereas "the magician king" has Quentin going on adventures in his magical kingdom of Fillory
It was. Really good book, and you get to see th characters develop.
It wasn't until chapter 25 that the book got interesting, this is where the story actually begins, the rest is just filler nonsense.
However, from chapter 25 the story was capturing, I couldn't put it down. The ending was heartbreaking and yet utterly satisfying.
Quentin remains his annoyingly depressing self throughout the entire book, never finding satisfaction in anything and moaning about how bleak his perfect life is as King of Fillory. The chapters about Julia, while essential, were pretty grueling to read.
However disappointing most of the book is, the ending does make up for it (however not enough to give it five stars, this is still about 5 hours of my life gone) and does make you eager to start the next.