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The Magician King by Lev Grossman

The Magician King (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Lev Grossman

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1,6241104,462 (3.85)144
Title:The Magician King
Authors:Lev Grossman
Info:Penguin Group (Usa) (2011), Edition: First Edition, 1st Printing, Hardcover
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The Magician King by Lev Grossman (2011)



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English (109)  French (1)  All languages (110)
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
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 |
The young magicians return to the mundane reality of our world and find they have a need to return the world of magic. Amazing fantasy. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
The Magician King is Lev Grossman’s sequel to the fantasy novel Magicians. Quentin Coldwater, the wizard who traveled to a mythical land Fillory to be its one of its kings in the first book, has gotten past his general morose and has settled into bored complacency. But something is driving him--isn’t he meant for great things? Shouldn’t he be carrying out some giant quest? However, Quentin gets more than he bargained for when he accepts an adventure and finds himself back on Earth—struggling to find his way back to Fillory. This time Quentin is accompanied by Julia, his friend from Brooklyn, who is a self-trained witch, with something dark and painful inside her. Along the way they reconnect with some of the other characters from the Magicians, Eliot (the head king of Fillory), Josh & Penny. Along the way we learn more about the Neitherlands, the gods (and magic), and “hedge witches.” This book is part of a trilogy and I have already put the Magician’s Land on my list to read soon. That was one of the frustrating things about reading this novel almost a year after reading The Magicians—I had to go back frequently to the first book to gather some of the plot and interactions between characters that I had forgotten. The book still presents a combination of Harry Potter, Narnia and more than little of Alice in Wonderland—for the adult reader. My favorite part of the book this time was the journey that Julia experiences and the final conclusion for both Julia and Quentin. 4 out of 5 stars. ( )
  marsap | Jun 8, 2015 |
Quentin still can't get no satisfaction.

This was the main theme of the first novel of the Magician Trilogy (The Magicians). The emptiness in your life follows you even if you accomplish the things you long for. You can't put a square block in a round hole. The Magician King begins with King Quentin still longing for that missing something.

What Quentin gets is a quest—a massive, no holds barred quest for the future of the entire multiverse. The plot is unpredictable and satisfying, at least for the reader. For Quentin, it's another story.

I suppose we'll find out in Volume Three, The Magician's Land, if Quentin ever learns, let alone finds what he's looking for. ( )
  StephenBarkley | Jun 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 109 (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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