Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory--a fictional utopia--was actually real. Read more...
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Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory--a fictional utopia--was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring.
Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off--only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they'd hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia's illicitly-learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-07-25
- Reviewer: Staff
Grossman's stylish sequel to The Magicians smoothly fuses adventure fantasy, magic realism, and mythic fiction. It's been two years since Quentin, Eliot, Janet, and Julia have become kings and queens of the magical utopia of Fillory, but Quentin is becoming bored with his seemingly idyllic existence. Spurred on by a dark prophecy of the "Seeing Hare," "one of the Unique Beasts of Fillory," he and Julia decide to embark on a trip to a faraway island, but their voyage turns out to be more perilous than expected and they end up back on Earth. With no apparent means to return to their home at Castle Whitespire, they must somehow find a way back to Fillory and save their realm from imminent destruction. Grossman effortlessly injects innumerable pop culture and literary references (Monty Python, Harry Potter, Pink Floyd, the Lorax, the Teletubbies, etc.) into the fantastical storyline. Mainstream fiction and fantasy fans alike will find this fairy tale for adults rewarding. 10-city author tour. (Sept.)
Potter-style quest into the dark
It’s been said before, and it’s worth repeating: If you’re a grownup Harry Potter fan, New York Times best-selling author (and Time book critic) Lev Grossman is the new J.K. Rowling. In the wake of his triumphant debut The Magicians, this cutting-edge sequel does not disappoint.
The Magician King drops its readers back off in Fillory, the enchanted land that exists just outside the boundaries of reality. Quentin has been made King, with his loyal friends Eliot and Janet joining him on the throne (along with Julia, who was rejected from Brakebills School of Magical Pedagogy). Despite his lackadaisical days of leisure and rule, Quentin feels dissatisfied. However, when a recreational hunting trip in search of The Questing Hare takes the life of one of his own subjects, Quentin unexpectedly finds himself on the journey he had been searching for.
He sets out with the tempestuous Julia to find out what, exactly, is bringing harm to their kingdom. Armed with an enchanted ship and a vigilant crew, the two set sail for the outer boundaries of Fillory, only to find themselves thrust back into reality, on the doorstep of Quentin’s parents’ house. Here in Massachusetts, the King no longer reigns supreme and it is Julia—whose black magic skills were painfully earned on the streets—who must return them to Fillory in order to save it.
Grossman masterfully weaves Quentin’s narration of ennui with Julia’s tale of how she spent the years that the others were at Brakebills. It was a difficult time that included a nervous breakdown and a life in underground houses with magicians practicing their craft off the grid. Grossman perfectly gets to the core of his magicians’ emotions: frustration, desire, omnipotence and loneliness. While Quentin is on the search to become the hero, the author gently reminds his readers that the journey truly is the destination, and that in the end, not all men (or women) are destined to save the day.
The Magician King is one suspenseful novel that sucks you in and spits you out into a world where ships sail on sand, rabbits rhyme and fulfillment lies just out of reach.