After the third book, I did not have high hopes for the end of the series. The previous books had left too much unfinished - too many characters had d...moreAfter the third book, I did not have high hopes for the end of the series. The previous books had left too much unfinished - too many characters had dropped off the map, too many unexplained occurrences, too much dull backstory (*cough* book three)
This book, however, was fantastic. The writing was fantastic, the plot moved along at a good clip, and storylines and characters were wrapped up in a very satisfying way. I enjoyed the callbacks to the previous books, musical, and movie - though I'm sure some will find those to be cheap distractions. It absolutely exceeded my expectations, as I feared there was just too much there for Maguire to work with. I should not have worried!
I felt this was excellent way to end the series. If you enjoyed books 1 & 2 (even if you weren't a huge fan of book 3, like me), you're really going to enjoy this final volume. (less)
This book does many things well -- most of the Fillory sequences were great, and there was plenty of the inventiveness that characterized the first en...moreThis book does many things well -- most of the Fillory sequences were great, and there was plenty of the inventiveness that characterized the first entry in the series. However, the parts of the first book I liked the most were harder to find here. At times, I got a hint of Terry Pratchett, occasionally a hint of Douglas Adams (bumming around between island/planets with the leader of the universe/world), but that was only ever for too-brief flashes.
(view spoiler)[Quentin's emotional state seemed more stuck -- and less interesting -- than before. The whole Julia storyline, a huge portion of the book, seemed both too intense and too separated from the other story to be as meaningful as the author intended. The character remained so distant that I'm not sure she had any value in the story at all. The other characters were actually often more interesting than those two, and the tiny flashes of Benedict screamed for far more backstory. What we got could have happened on Earth. (hide spoiler)]
It seemed like this sequel was not meant to be written; that it was artificially adding to an already complete story. We really didn't need to know what happened after that story ended. In any case, I wonder if I'll feel the same way about the next entry in the series (well, there will probably be one, right?) I still feel like there's so much potential here, we're just not seeing it. It was enjoyable, but not what it could have been.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Classic Murakami. After the somewhat disappointing 1Q84, it was nice to return to a vintage full-length Murakami work. There were a few variations fro...moreClassic Murakami. After the somewhat disappointing 1Q84, it was nice to return to a vintage full-length Murakami work. There were a few variations from the usual surrealism -- it seemed much better explained than his other works -- but it carried through so much of the familiar patterns and tone. It's amazing, the tone just sucks me in, every time. There are also the great characters, which are vivid yet dull, intricately ordinary plotting, and crystal clear settings (the only Murakami book I've ever seen to contain a map!)
The themes here are nothing new for Murakami -- loneliness, fitting in to society, finding a purpose in one's life -- and that's a little disappointing. The novel looks at them in a unqiue structure, but there's nothing new about the topic matter. Though, it would probably be grounds for alarm if Murakami wrote something that wasn't about those themes. It was still enjoyable, in any case.