The Magician King (The Magicians #2)
Author: Lev Grossman
Release date: August, 2011
Length: 400 pages
Fillory is real! It’s getting ugly!
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 cutting edge of literary fantasy.
What a book! The second book in this magical trilogy has taken me by surprise. For one, Julia is a Hedgewitch! How is that even possible?! If you haven’t read the first book, The Magicians, you are briefly introduced to Julia as Quentin’s high school best friend/ first love. While she is barely in it, she becomes a key player in this book. My is she different! Being King has transformed Elliott, but overall Quentin has remained the same–eager to be a hero. With quests, revealing character arcs, and twists this book holds its own compared to the first book in the series.
Fillory is real. It’s real and feisty. Magic is being threatened. But, why and how? As the story develops, you learn both reasons. It isn’t what you think, either. It’s shocking and a tad sad. Scratch that, super sad. There is a trigger warning towards the last fifty pages of the novel that took me by surprise. Something trigger warning happens without much of a heads up.
Janet isn’t in this one as much. She kind of is written aside as the real action takes place. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. In the scheme of things, it makes sense. There is a new major character introduced. Poppy is an Australian magician who specializes in Dragons. They do exist! Living in the most obscure of places. She doesn’t believe Fillory exists. She is happily naive. It suits her. The adventure she gets wrapped up in is definitely interesting to say the least. In Fillory, there is a quest for seven mythical keys scattered throughout. Elliott is tasked with finding them; wherein Quentin and Julia are back on Earth accidentally with no way to get back. As each character deals with their respected “quest” you learn more about Julia’s origins throughout. I loved the way Grossman weaved these two story lines together. He does it so seamlessly. It’s almost effortless the way the transitions flow. I truly love the way Grossman tells a story.
There were parts, specially in the beginning, that felt slow and a little contrived. Oh, does the rest make up for it! When it hits the thrilling parts about halfway through, the speed never slows down; it just continues to speed up. I forgot all about the slowness once I was sucked in. I enjoyed myself and the reveals immensely. Each character’s arc is fluid and ever evolving. The pacing was pretty spot on.
Although I can’t quite determine a favorite; each one having their own flaws and pluses, it’s hard to separate them. They fit quite nicely as a pair. I am expecting the last book in this trilogy to be nothing less than suitable. I have hopes the pacing and reveals will be worthwhile. I am no doubt hooked on this series by now. I am looking forward to the final book. Although this trilogy is all of Grossman’s work published, I am looking forward to whatever he tackles next. I am glad I was recommended this series; and, I actually listened! It has paid off tenfold. I often read this and the previous in long sessions because I needed more. I wanted more.
Read this! You won’t regret it. I promise. I have said this before. My feelings remain ever strong.