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The Magician King: A Novel by Lev Grossman

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

by Lev Grossman

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1,6951134,207 (3.85)145
Title:The Magician King: A Novel
Authors:Lev Grossman (Author)
Info:Viking (2012), Edition: eBook, 362 pages
Tags:fantasy, fiction

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The Magician King by Lev Grossman (2011)



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Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
Quentin is now living in Fillory. And he is king, or a king, one of four human kings and queens who rule this magical land. In the first book of the trilogy, we saw Quentin accepted at a magical university in New York and finally find his way to Fillory, which he thought was a fictional world from a children’s book.
He is living his childhood fantasy, but he is bored. Life is like living in a 20-star hotel and he is getting fat. Then one day, out hunting the Seeing Hare, one of the Unique Beasts of Fillory - this world is full of magical beasts which can talk or have special powers - a new adventure starts.
The big difference for me from book one of the trilogy is that the action starts straight away. All the setting-up has been done, the background is in place, Fillory is understood, key characters are established. Most intriguing is the presence of Julia, who was Quentin’s love interest in the non-magical world, briefly at the beginning of the first book. Quentin was offered a place at Brakebills, the magical college. Julia wasn’t. But now she is a magician too. She learned her magic the hard way, in the magical underground in the ordinary world. And she is moody and edgy. She talks to the animals, speaks in an old-fashioned cadence, she dresses in black. She is interesting. I liked Julia.
Quentin and Julia set sail on a magical ship, heading for the Outer Island to collect overdue taxes. They end up back in the real world, trapped, and unable to return to Fillory. Of course they manage it in the end, via the underground magic network, trips to Cornwall and Venice, an Australian magician, and a dragon.
This book is three quests, one after another. The action is continuous. I saved books two and three to read while on holiday, and read them back–to-back.
Read more of my book reviews at http://www.sandradanby.com/book-reviews-a-z/ ( )
  Sandradan1 | Nov 12, 2015 |
I wanted to enjoy this sequel to the Magicians more than I did. I had a hard time paying attention to the story at times, especially when the more outlandish things were happening to Julia. I love the premise of both books: that the world of magic is real and not only in Harry Potter books. But I have a hard time caring about the characters. ( )
  PerpetualRevision | Oct 25, 2015 |
I loved this book even better than the first in the series. In this volume, we really get to enjoy some adventuring in the land of Fillory, a land full of magic and danger. Friendships are strengthened, new characters are introduced and Quentin continues to learn from his mistakes. Every moment of it was fun and exciting. ( )
  WritingHaiku | Sep 13, 2015 |
I've come to expect, and even not mind (enjoy?), stretches of uneventfulness and discontented water-treading in this series. It's part of the atmosphere, and it suits the characters and the sad, absurd journeys they are on. The characters ring true, and there is not a false note of dialogue anywhere in the book. But there are a lot of loose ends, and the whole thing comes off as kind of a rambling yarn or a nanowrimo novel. In contrast to Earth, Fillory feels like a hastily-erected Potemkin village, a colorful surface without anything inside, but perhaps that is kind of the point? At any rate, making emptiness, lack of purpose and detail work for your story rather than against it is a cheap trick and amazingly it works pretty well and I definitely wish I had thought of it first. ( )
  joeld | Aug 7, 2015 |
Book two in Lev Grossman's Magicians series. I liked this better than the first one; if nothing else, it was a much faster read. But, like the first one, it never felt as if it did for me quite what it should have. I mean, this book has an awful lot going for it. It's well-written. There's some nifty, imaginative world-building. There are some very cool individual scenes. There's a snarky, nerdy sense of humor. And there's a sort of self-reflective, meta-fictional sensibility to it. All that stuff basically marks a straight line right down the middle of my alley. And yet, for most of the book, it just wasn't grabbing me all that much. It wasn't off-putting or anything. But it wasn't exactly compelling, either.

I think a lot of it is just that the characters are difficult to care much about. (Although this book does have an edge over the first one, there, as half the chapters are about Julia, who is at least somewhat more interesting than our usual protagonist, Quentin.) And part of it is that the plot feels unfocused; we aren't told what the stakes are for any of it until very near the end, meaning that the opportunity to give the whole thing a sense of urgency is almost completely squandered. The ending itself is pretty good, which did help my overall opinion. And I am interested enough to want to finish off the trilogy. But I just keep wishing that most of it had been a little more... something. ( )
1 vote bragan | Aug 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 112 (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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