Review: The Magician King by Lev Grossman

Review: The Magician King by Lev GrossmanThe Magician King by Lev Grossman
Amazon|The Book Depository
Pages: 400
Series: The Magicians #2
Published by Penguin Group on 2012
Genres: Fantasy

Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to the New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon, The Magicians, now an original series on Syfy, from the author of the #1 bestselling The Magician's Land.
Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory--a fictional utopia--was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring.
Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off--only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they'd hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia's illicitly learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.


I’m surprised by my own three-star rating for this second book of the Magicians series. I wasn’t completely spellbound by the first (review here), but if anything the Magician King was slightly more engrossing than the first.

The book opens up with Quentin and his band of Fillory kings and queens on the hunt for some kind of future telling hare, and from there on out we follow Quentin in his narcissistic and selfish need for a quest through Fillory, Earth and a few other magical lands. The saving grace of this book, for me, was the slow unfolding of Julia’s backstory. I started this book in June and around mid-August I finally mustered up enough stamina to power through the rest of Quentin’s bullshit to finish this book.

If you enjoyed the Magicians, then you will probably enjoy a majority of the Magician King. Once again not a huge fan of the fox-rape scene that seems to be a reoccurring theme for Grossman. The characters are almost too flawed to a point where they aren’t very relate-able. And the  ending was lackluster, awkward, dry and very posed to give the third book a little more “oomf”. I find myself always so surprised the book is ending on a bland note, there was no cliffhanger or real motivation to want to pick up the next book (other than I borrowed it from my brother-in-law).

I remain some-what ambivalent towards this series, and very undecided if I’ll continue on to the last book. While it is a very different approach to the fantasy genre, it’s almost too different to even really call itself fantasy – this kind of realistic fairy-tale that tends to be more fiction with a few key fantasy elements.

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