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The Magician King: A Novel (The Magicians)…

The Magician King: A Novel (The Magicians) (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Lev Grossman

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1,5501044,734 (3.84)140
Title:The Magician King: A Novel (The Magicians)
Authors:Lev Grossman
Info:Plume (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Magician King by Lev Grossman (2011)



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English (103)  French (1)  All languages (104)
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
I'm just not sure Grossman got it with this one. The story just seemed to constantly be missing something. It seemed to have a lot there to offer us but somewhere along the line something failed to deliver. As a positive, i will say that Grossman's writing really does keep you engaged.
Spoilers ahead. But let me admit ahead that a lot of time passed between my reading of The Magicians and my reading of this. It may account for a few of the comments below.
On the surface, Julia’s story offered to be truly fascinating. The premise of an underside to the magical community was interesting, and Grossman did an excellent job making it seem properly shady with a drugy parallel. But something about just felt off. Julia seemed to have something of an inferiority complex regarding Quintin, and this just never seemed to be explored in any significant detail. Julia just seemed so very entitled to magic, and I never really understood why she felt that way. To me it seemed almost as absurd as if I felt entitled to speed because I knew Hussain Bolt. That she become obsessed by it because she knew it existed and she knew it was being kept from her was certainly one motivating factor that made sense. But at some point she simply had to realize that if she didn’t get accepted into Brakebills, there certainly must have been a reason for it. One wonders if she would have had the same reaction to any universities that did not accept her.
The way Julia’s story ended also didn’t seem to work for me. The occurrences were fine, but it felt as if so much detail had been left out of it. To conclude it with a rape scene and not give us any of the information that came after that seems a bit odd. Particularly in consideration of the fact that moments before Julia’s terrible ordeal, she comes to the conclusion that she finally has found happiness with her French connections. She had the right quantity of human interaction she needed to be happy. And then it was suddenly and violently taken away from her. Rather, it was fragmented, and though we know that after what happens it will never be the same, I still felt that there were so many questions left unanswered between the rape and her coming to Filloroy. What happened to the surviving members of her group? Why did she fall out with them, or did they fall out with her? How did she become so bleak towards humanity? Sure, something came out of her during the rape, but was meant to be taken literally? I’d say no, and if it was I’d say it reeked of poor writing. If it was literal, then why did Julia ever bother with Filloroy and the people there to begin with? But more importantly, what happened after the rape? To retreat within one’s self is one reaction, but it seems strange to brush it off as if it was the only response. And particularly considering that she experience another kind of loss at the same moment, I would say she might have been more attached to the other survivors. Either could work as an explanation, but you must write it out for it to have any meaning.
And of Quintin’s story? This whole books seems to dispel whatever lessons Quintin should have learned by the end of the last book (the fine line between boredom, adventure, and consequences), which seems a bit strange at best, particularly considering that this book is little more than Quintin’s see-sawing back and forth between adventure and the desire to be home. One could say that maybe Quintin still has not learned that lesson during this book, but the theme certainly seemed much more masterfully handled in the previous book. What’s worse, the resolution of Quintin’s story feels arbitrary at best; he gets home and is quickly banished for no seemingly good reason. That Quintin takes Julia’s punishment without knowing what it is a bit foolish, and that he seems to justify it seems worse (had he been accepted to Harvard and she not, if that caused a downward spiral would that have been his fault as well?)
Also, if Quintin was ever told what Julia went through, I do not recall it. ( )
  M.Campanella | May 4, 2015 |
I really give this 3.5 stars. I have to say that this review may contain spoilers. I haven't decided yet. I think I am used to Mr.Grossman's writing style. He just hits you over the head, BLAM, this is what is happening NOW. BLAM this is what has happened to Julia. BLAM this is what is gong on now. BLAM.BLAM. BLAM. I hope I get my point across. I was rather disappointed that Janet was not present at all, I rather like her sarcasm. I did appreciate Julia's back story. We were given just 2 glimpses of her in the first book. In some ways her back story was far more interesting the the ACTUAL story. But a person does want to knock some sense in Quentin and say "Dude, its here in the "real" world where true adventure's lay" The dragon tried.Poppy tried. I will read that damn third book to make sure Quentin figures it out.

***I have thought about this and need to verbalize my thoughts: the rape scene with the fox really pissed me off*** ( )
  jaddington | Feb 16, 2015 |
Follows from [b:The Magicians|6101718|The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)|Lev Grossman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1313772941s/6101718.jpg|6278977] by the same author. Still feels a bit like Narnia meets Catcher in the Rye. The plot and the fantasy are just fine (for reference, I am also a fan of [a:Steven Erikson|31232|Steven Erikson|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1219169436p2/31232.jpg], [a:Guy Gavriel Kay|60177|Guy Gavriel Kay|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1218804723p2/60177.jpg], [a:China Miéville|33918|China Miéville|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1243988363p2/33918.jpg]), but it is the exploration of human character that makes this book.
  david_c | Jan 24, 2015 |
The Magician King, by Lev Grossman is the second book in the Magicians trilogy. So, how would I describe it?

Only slightly more optimistic. Not that that says much. In the first book, not much good happens. In this case, Quentin Coldwater—our stalwart hero—learns exactly what the hero of the story gets, absolutely nothing.

Compared to other trilogies I’ve read, The Magician King doesn’t suffer nearly as much from being the middle child as you’d expect. The story is self contained and wraps up fairly nicely at the end. In fact, if The Magician King had ended up being the end of a two part affair, I would have been satisfied with the ending. Far more than I enjoyed the actual ending to the trilogy.

Full Review:
http://sypherhawq.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/book-review-grossman-lev-the-magician... ( )
  sypherhawq | Nov 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
“Everybody wanted to be the hero of their own story,” Quentin declares, framing the novel’s theme in neat miniature. But by the end of “The Magician King,” he comes to realize that he just might not be. It’s a harsh lesson, and one that, in keeping with the preoccupations and innovations of this serious, heartfelt novel, turns the machinery of fantasy inside out.
added by melmore | editNew York Times, Dan Kois (Aug 26, 2011)
...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, surpassing, I think, the original. I can't wait for the next one.
Echoes from The Chronicles of Narnia [...] continue to reverberate, but Grossman’s psychologically complex characters and grim reckoning with tragic sacrifice far surpass anything in C.S. Lewis’ pat Christian allegory.
added by melmore | editKirkus Review (Jun 28, 2011)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lev Grossmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bramhall, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Quentin rode a gray horse with white socks named Dauntless.
This would be his quest: collecting taxes from a bunch of backwater yokels. He had skipped the adventure of the broken tree, and that was fine. He would have this one instead.
Quentin had an obsolete sailing ship that had been raised from the dead. He had a psychotically effective swordsman and an enigmatic witch-queen. It wasn’t the Fellowship of the Ring, but then again he wasn’t trying to save the world from Sauron, he was attempting to perform a tax audit on a bunch of hick islanders. It would definitely do.
That water must be ninety percent E. coli, and the rest was probably diesel fuel. This was not a body of water intended for swimming in.
Fortunately Poppy turned out to be excellent at this kind of cross-country dead-reckoning navigation. At first they thought she must be using some kind of advanced geographical magic until Josh noticed that she had an iPhone in her lap. “Yeah, but I used magic to jailbreak it,” she said.
When you get to that level of power and knowledge and perfection, the question of what you should do next gets increasingly obvious. Everything is very rule-governed. All you can ever do in any given situation is the most gloriously perfect thing, and there’s only one of them. Finally there aren’t any choices left to make at all.” “You’re saying the gods don’t have free will.” “The power to make mistakes,” Penny said. “Only we have that. Mortals.”
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Haiku summary
The boy is now king
Happily ever after?
Fate has other plans(Jannes)
How much would you want

to give up after a quest

to be a hero?


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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.… (more)

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