Jesse Cozean's Reviews > The Magician King

The Magician King by Lev Grossman
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's review
Dec 28, 2012

really liked it

This is a book that inspires a strong reaction - most people seem to love or hate it, without much ambivalence. I enjoyed the first book in the series very much, and was looking forward to this one.

The main theme of the book, at least for me, is the struggle between our love of "the same" and our need for "the new" - in this case, manifested as the comforts of being king of the magical world of Fillory and going on new adventures. C.S. Lewis writes a lot about this subject, and uses a fantastic metaphor. He says that our love of the new is satisfied by the changing of the seasons, but that our love of the same is fulfilled because they are the same season each year. Quentin struggles throughout the book to find a balance, to find purpose, and I think that is why this story continues to resonate for many of us (and, conversely, why it falls so short for others).

I only gave it four stars because I thought there were a lot of loose ends that weren't tied up and themes that weren't taken to completion. At one point, Quentin embraces his inner "Magician King", storming a castle single-handedly. But this theme is given up moments later. He ventures into the underworld, but this, too, seems downplayed.

For me, the ending of the book redeemed the rest, particularly the closing line: Stubborn green shoots were forcing themselves up between the paving stones, cracking the old rock, in spite of everything

Jesse Cozean
My Grandfather's War

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