Monday, November 7, 2011

Book Report Monday: The Magician King

Title: The Magician King, sequel to The Magicians

Author: Lev Grossman

Genre: Adult Literary Fantasy

Synopsis: The Magicians was praised as a triumph by readers and critics of both mainstream and fantasy literature. Now Grossman takes us back to Fillory, where the Brakebills graduates have fled the sorrows of the mundane world, only to face terrifying new challenges. 

Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are starting to pall. After a morning hunt takes a sinister turn, Quentin and his old friend Julia charter a magical sailing ship and set out on an errand to the wild outer reaches of their kingdom. Their pleasure cruise becomes an adventure when the two are unceremoniously dumped back into the last place Quentin ever wants to see: his parent's house in Chesterton, Massachusetts. And only the black, twisted magic that Julia learned on the streets can save them. 

The Magician King is a grand voyage into the dark, glittering heart of magic, an epic quest for the Harry Potter generation. It also introduces a powerful new voice, that of Julia, whose angry genius is thrilling. Once again Grossman proves that he is the modern heir to C.S. Lewis, and the cutting edge of literary fantasy. (from Goodreads)

Why did I pick it up?: I read The Magicians and honestly I wasn't a big fan of it. It wasn't the writing, Grossman is fantastic. It was Quentin Coldwater. He was so unlikable in The Magicians, he was miserable no matter how many of his dreams came true. And he didn't seem to learn his lesson or change until the end of the book. So when I heard there was a sequel coming I crossed my fingers and prayed that Quentin wouldn't let me down.

Favorite Lines: "If this was madness it was an entirely new kind of madness, as yet undocumented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. She had nerdophrenia. She was dorkotic."

My Review: Grossman does not disappoint with this sequel. Quentin has grown as I hoped he would. In The Magician King Quentin is transformed from an anti-hero to a legit hero. Way to go, Quentin. The story is a combination of Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Reality Bites. This not a kid-friendly story about magicians. There is sex, booze, violence and lots of profanity. It's gritty.

Like Winona I had a thing for Ethan Hawke.
Fun fact: Anyone can learn magic if they are intelligent enough. So magicians in Grossman's books aren't just capable of magic, they are capable of vector calculus too.

Fillory is a magical word like Narnia. There were even books written about children who traveled to Fillory, exactly like Narnia. The Magicians tells how Quentin and his friends discover that the books they loved growing up were actually based on true events and make it their mission to get to Fillory where there is a  talking ram called Ember who is the God of the magical world.

The  book is divided between the--we'll call it the--current events where Quentin is the main character and he is adventuring between worlds with Julia, and past events where Julia is the focus. That story line explains what Julia was doing while Quentin was at Brakebills-a secret Magician College. It tells how she learned her magic and what it cost her. Julia's parts are told in such a fantastic voice, I forgot I was reading.

I really enjoyed The Magician King and have my fingers crossed for a follow up, maybe in 2013.

Recommendation: Fast, exciting fantasy read for adults. Read The Magicians first.

Next Week: Crossed by Ally Condie


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