16 October 2011

The Magician King; Lev Grossman

The Magician KingThe Magician King by Lev Grossman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Grossman picks up the tale of Quentin and the others in Fillory - they're there, ruling quietly, when they go hunting. The hunting leads to the idea Quentin has of a quest (not that big a one, just a few days sail to get the back rent due from the Outer Island). As these things so often go, the quest becomes a Quest and Quentin ends up tackling more than he'd originally anticipated.

Accompanying Quentin is Julia, and I particularly liked how we got Julia's backstory (remember, she wasn't at Brakebills with the others). It's a very different trip to magic than Quentin's and by the end of the book I felt much closer to her than to the "Brakebills" magicians. I was also quite fond of sloth (the representative of the talking animals sent on the q/Quest).

Any reader familiar with the Narnia stories will see many similarities, but Harry Potter, Star Trek, Wind in the Willows and other YA-magical favorites are also referenced. At times I wondered if the similarities detracted from the story as a whole, where pure imagination could have done just as well. There's ample opportunity for another Fillory-esque book here, but a part of me hopes that we simply leave Quentin, Julia, Josh, Poppy and the others with their new lives.

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