- Series: Magicians Trilogy (Book 2)
- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (May 29, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0452298016
- ISBN-13: 978-0452298019
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 796 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Magician King: A Novel (Magicians Trilogy) Paperback – May 29, 2012
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“[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.”
“[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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
About the Author
LEV GROSSMAN is the book critic for Time magazine and author of five novels, including the international bestseller Codex and the #1 New York Times bestselling Magicians trilogy. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three children.
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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.
I like this book much better than the first book. Quinton is older and the story has lost the comparison to Harry Potter and Narnia that the first book had. This protagonist has grown and matured.
He spends a lot of time being flung unexpectedly out of Fillory and trying to find his way back into the magic land. In his quest for seven keys, he seems to spend as much time out of Fillory as in it. While out of Fillory his path crosses once again with Julia. She has spent her time becoming a master hedge witch and her magic skills are equal to Quinton. She has her own regrets. She spends time with Free Trader Beowulf with tragic results.
She helps Quinton complete the quest for the keys, but the result is what neither of them expect.
In the end none of the characters ever really connect with each other, not even at the points that are supposed to be emotional peaks of the novel. I suppose that might be the point, but for me it made the whole book kind of just fizzle. I kept waiting for the characters to truly grow or change, and they never did.
Along the way, in interstitial chapters, we learn the back story of Julia. Denied entry into Brakebills, but remembering instead of forgetting, she charts her own course into the world of magic. And it is a far darker and more gritty journey than Quentin took. With far greater loss and heartbreak.
With extraordinary skill Grossman narrates a story that is best enjoyed if you are an adult and have lived a bit of a life already. This isn't a childhood journey of childhood discovery. This is instead more of a bildungsroman, where both Quentin and Julia complete spiritual journeys and we are invited along for the ride. Shotgun!