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Waiting for the next book now: The Magician King by Lev Grossman

If you’ve read The Magicians by Lev Grossman (reviewed by me in 2009) you can expect the same high level of humor, action, cool-nerd references, and weird magical adventures from the sequel, The Magician King, along with the same underlying levels of both deep-seated sadness at the human condition and giddy awareness of the preciousness of life.
For King Quentin, life is simple in Fillory when the story opens. The magical land described in the beloved children’s books is where he had always wanted to be. But the pleasures of a settled existence and royal routines (waving to the Fillorians from the balcony, sitting ceremonially on one of the four thrones, etc.) have started to wane, especially when he remembers the dangers he faced before settling down to rule over Fillory. Plus, Queen Julia (always a bit strange and a little rough around the edges) is exhibiting signs of restlessness. This worries Quentin, who cares for her in his self-absorbed way. When unusual events start occurring beyond the castle walls, Quentin decides to do something. King Eliot and Queen Janet — content to remain as they are– only protest for form’s sake when Quentin and Julia set off on a voyage. The voyage turns into a quest, which turns into a life-or-death struggle for the future of the magical kingdom.
Alternating with the present is the story of Julia’s past and her dangerously unorthodox route to magic  that led to her being scarily more powerful than the others. (Unlike Quention, Eliot, and Janet, she’s not a Brakebills College of Magic graduate.)
You definitely need to read The Magicians before this one to get the references to the earlier book. Also, be aware that this is a book for adults and there is adult content. It is not the book to buy for your ten-year-old looking for something to read after Harry Potter. If you liked American Gods by Neil Gaiman or Patrick Rothfuss‘s Kingkiller Chronicles, but skipped over The Magicians when it came out, you might want to get started on it now. This sequence of Magician novels seems like a sleeper that should slowly become a cult classic, but more fortunately for the author, it’s well on it’s way to being an open secret.
Read an excerpt of The Magician King here.
Read the Boston Globe review here.
Other opinions about The Magician King (mostly good):
Entomology of a Bookworm
Escape Reality, Read Fiction
Jenn’s Bookshelves
The Ranting Dragon
Uncertain Principles

2 Responses

  1. I found your review from book blogs! I just finished this book (in audio form) and reviewed it on my blog, I thought you might be interested!


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