Lev Grossman’s ‘The Magician King’

A Must Read 300This week I finally had time to pick up the second book in a trilogy I started a little over two years ago: Lev Grossman’s The Magician King. In this installment, Quentin Coldwater, our depressed, bored protagonist, has ruled the magical land of Fillory for centuries. True to his nature, Quentin eventually bores of even the magical charms of his childhood dreamland, and decides to abandon his rule alongside his friends, instead opting to explore the entire real of Fillory. In his quest to understand the connections between Fillory and the human world, Quentin comes in contact with an old acquaintance, and discovers that events are unfolding that could have grave consequences in both worlds.

If you remember my old review of The Magicians, then you may recall that there has almost never been a protagonist I have wanted to savagely beat as much as Quentin. For the most part, this is still true. Despite having all the wonders of a magical world at his disposal, Quentin still finds reason to complain about how bored he is. While I understand the message that Grossman is sending, the plot device still annoys me to know end. Luckily, Quentin has matured a good deal, and has decided to just make the best of things. The writing in this installment is much improved over The Magicians. While Grossman never really fell short in this department, memorable moments are much more prevalent in The Magician King. Overall, the story’s tone has shifted to be even darker, with one scene in particular holding a place in my “Most Disturbing” list. Still, if you know what you are getting into (and if you read the first one, you do), then you won’t be too awfully shocked by some of the characters’ depravity. All-in-all, The Magician King is a solid, fun read that is a step up from its predecessor in just about every regard. While it won’t take the throne for imaginative or fantastical fiction, it is a good read that finally manages to not feel like a Narnia clone. If you read the first book and weren’t sure whether you wanted to continue, I would suggest giving this book a go. If nothing else, I enjoyed my time with The Magician King and have a renewed interest in the trilogy.

Source: Jake Depew, Assistant Editor