Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Magician King (The Magicians, #2)” as Want to Read:
The Magician King (The Magicians, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Magician King

(The Magicians #2)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  91,700 ratings  ·  6,622 reviews
Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to the New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon, The Magicians, from the author of the forthcoming The Magician's Land.

Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory—a fictional utopia—was actually real. But
Kindle Edition, Reprint Edition, 418 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by Penguin Books (first published 2011)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Magician King, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Elizabeth Barcelos Fillory is more fleshed out in this book. If you liked Voyage of the Dawn Treader, you'll like this book.…moreFillory is more fleshed out in this book. If you liked Voyage of the Dawn Treader, you'll like this book.(less)
Ayla Well this series has been refered to a " Harry Potter for adults". So I would suggest college age and up myself due to the amount of drinking, sex and…moreWell this series has been refered to a " Harry Potter for adults". So I would suggest college age and up myself due to the amount of drinking, sex and other things.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  91,700 ratings  ·  6,622 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Magician King (The Magicians, #2)
If Quentin Coldwater stumbled on a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, he’d constantly complain about how heavy it was and how the coins didn’t fit in any vending machines and why couldn't they have just put the money into a nice cashier's check that he could have fit neatly in his wallet and then deposited in the bank?

In the first book, Quentin was a brilliant but disillusioned teenager who found life a boring slog and desperately wished that things were more like his favorite fantasy series
mark monday
The Continuing Adventures of a Smug Magical Asshole, as written by An Asshole. and now featuring The New Adventures of a Completely Self-Absorbed Bitch.

i suppose i understand the acclaim that has been heaped on Grossman. he is playing with tropes as his characters play with magic. he has a puckish sensibility that makes reading his series a tart and spiky experience. his tone is breezily casual and entirely unsentimental. and since Snark is the New Law of the New Millenium, the snark that is del
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, if you didn't like the first one? Pass!
You're not going to suddenly fall in love with these characters or this style of depressed storytelling. But for those of you who loved The Magicians, or maybe even those of you who were on the fence, I think this will be a winner for you. Because instead of starting out in Hogwarts and ending up in Narnia, this one is basically just a huge adventure quest, so it doesn't leave that odd sort of fractured plotline taste in you mouth.
Not saying tha
The Magicians, book #2: After the thoroughly shocking genre busting end to the first book, you'd think that this is it now, we're in a magical real with a dark underbelly? Strike out! This sequel continues with what worked well in the first book, an ingenious mix of urban and dark fantasy, as we follow the next steps of our Magician cast and also catch up with one of the original Brakebills' test failures! Quentin and co. go against all genre norms and actively avoid even a sniff of a quest, sag ...more
Dec 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nihilists
A book has never made me so angry before. I am absolutely bewildered that 93% of people like this book. No offense, but I think you all deserve a fucking double-slap across the face.

This was, hands down, the worst book I've ever read. Where is the zero star possibility, Goodreads? Because, for this shitty fucking book, we need one. In The Magicians, I felt that Lev Grossman was actually a beautiful writer, and that's one of the reasons I gave it two measly stars. Here, though, Grossman just sh
Dan Schwent
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Quentin and friends are the kings and queens of Fillory and everything is marvelous. Or it is, until it becomes apparent that something is wrong. King Quentin takes it upon himself to fix things. With Julia in tow, he sails to the ends of Fillory to fix the world. Can he succeed in the quest of a lifetime and save Fillory?

If The Magicians was Lev Grossman's Harry Potter with a healthy slice of Narnia, The Magician King is Lev Grossman's Lord of the Rings. Grossman takes all the quest story stapl
Jeffrey Keeten
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
”She’d always liked Quentin, basically. He was sarcastic and spookily smart and, on some level, basically a kind person who just need a ton of therapy and maybe some mood-altering drugs. Something to selectively inhibit the voracious reuptake of serotonin that was obviously going on inside his skull 24-7. She felt bad about the fact that he was in love with her and that she found him deeply unsexy, but not that bad. Honestly, he was decent-looking, better-looking than he thought he was, but that ...more
Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
"...he thought he'd learned a lesson about the world, and now he was realizing that the lesson he learned might've been the wrong one."

I would say that I enjoyed this installment only slightly less than The Magicians.

I've seen quite a few reviewers say the last two books in this series made up for how little they enjoyed the first, but having read The Magician King I honestly don't understand that statement.

The storytelling is somewhat more focused on a "quest" if you will, but for me this book
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites-2016
This series can be really frustrating because it takes everything you expect and think you know and goes "....nah."

I enjoyed this book so much more than the first one. The characters, while still realistic and frustrating, grew on me a lot and I found myself really caring for them. The introduction of a "new" character was also a great addition as well, and I enjoyed learning about their backstory.

I noticed a lot of connections being made between situations and characters in this book already,
Let me begin this review by saying that I really enjoyed Lev Grossman's The Magicians. I didn't think it was perfect, by any means - I wasn't keen on Quentin, and the saga of his relationship with Alice and how he behaved about it really pissed me off - but altogether I found it to be an original, enjoyable, and gloriously escapist read. I will admit that I am not the biggest fan of all-out fantasy, but I liked the fact that The Magicians couched its fantastical elements in a recognisable versio ...more
Oct 28, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ya
*** 3.44***

A Buddy read with the Wednesday Group @ BB&B

This was better. Better because we had the story of Julia. When the book started I thought I had missed something, since it was an idyllic picture of life in Fillory, where Quentin and Julia were co-rulers of the magical world, together with Eliot and Janet. Eliot is settling very well into the role of High King and all seems to go very well. I was a bit stumped... Why Julia? I was very pleased to be filled in into her story after she failed
Jun 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Volume 2 of a trilogy! (Pause for review readers to leave in droves)

OK, thank you for staying. So, The Magician King is indeed volume 2 of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians trilogy. The first book in the series was a New York Times bestseller, I don’t know if the other two books are also bestsellers. I read The Magicians in 2014, I thought it was pretty good but, like many Goodreads reviewers, I disliked the protagonist Quentin Coldwater. I thought he was a twat, useless, annoying and selfish. For t
Jan 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
When I finished The Magicians I found myself confused. Was Grossman satirizing the genre or contributing to it? I decided that he had set out to do the former, and wound up doing the latter. He somehow fell into that enviable position where his fantasy work was considered literary by the mainstream community that often scorns genre work.

A sequel, it would seem to me, is more of a declaration. Satires don't have sequels. So called literary fiction doesn't often have sequels. Grossman goes all in
3.5/5 stars
I've gotta admit, I didn't enjoy this as much as book one, but it's still so interesting. I love that this series is like a more "realistic" fairy tale where not everything is perfect and amazing all the time, but it's still not really an anti-fairy tale.
The characters are still wonderfully flawed, and I really enjoyed getting to see more of Julia's back story, but it was just harder to get through. It didn't grip me as much as book one did.
The audiobook narrator is still fantastic th
Aug 19, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Book two is fulled with even more sexism then the first one, which is almost hard to imagine, but Lev Grossman manages to pull it off by writing like some kind of horny per-pubescent teenager looking for any flimsy excuse whatsoever to get his female characters topless so he can describe their breasts in feverish, obsessive, totally unnecessary and excruciating detail.
Jul 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
(This review contains spoilers for The Magicians (book 1 in this series), but no significant spoilers for The Magician King. It was originally published on on 8/8/2011 and on on 8/16/2011.)

At the end of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, Brakebills graduate Quentin Coldwater abandoned a cushy but dead-end insecure job to become co-ruler of the magical land of Fillory with his former classmates Eliot and Janet and his erstwhile flame Julia. I absolutely loved the
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
_The Magician King_ is a good book. Still, I found the first half to be a bit of a slow start that was by turns frustrating and enjoyable in almost equal measure, so I kept vacillating between a 3 and 4 for it, so I think it ends up for me at a fairly solid 3.5. The book itself is divided into two more or less equal story halves: one follows Quentin and his friends in Fillory as they go on a diplomatic mission of purely cursory import that turns into a fairly inconsequential 'quest'…this in turn ...more
Wow, I didn't think I could like Quentin Coldwater *less* than I did in The Magicians, but it is, in fact, possible. There is no moment in this book when I do not despise the protagonist.

At least in this one, we got Julia's story, which had some interesting moments, especially the scenes in the safe houses. It also had some really bad moments. In no particular order: I am insulted on behalf of us non-magical scholars that the Murs magicians come up with a system that ties together all world reli
Stephanie *Eff your feelings*
Though I wasn't totally in love with the first book in this series, The Magicians, I did like this book a bit better.

In the Magician Kings we meet up with Quentin and friends again, this time as kings and queens of Fillory. Fillory is a magical place outside of Earth as we know it. I found this king and queen stuff corny, and I still couldn't stand the whiny, self absorbed Quentin......twerp. I'm sure the author ment for him to be that annoying but I could bearly stand him. For the first half o
"The hero pays the price."

Well, shit.

If you would have told me last month that not only would I give The Magicians (THE MAGICIANS) four stars, but that I would get so worked up by its sequel that I would burst into tears, I would NOT have believed you. I got soooooo mad and weird when I read The Magicians five years ago, I swore I would never read any sequels, or anything else Lev Grossman ever wrote, and then somewhere along the line I changed my mind, acquired the sequels (in hardcover even) a
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
"So Madeline," say you, my imaginary reading companion, "what did you think of The Magician King, Lev Grossman's sequel to that book that smashed your childhood love of fantasy stories into smithereens? Does the second book achieve similar levels of heart-crushing, or is it more of a balm after the pain of the first book (since in this one, the kids get to live in Fillory and be royalty)?"

To you, faithful reader, I reply that everything you need to know about what kind of book The Magician King
R.K. Gold
1.5/5 but closer to 2
Like the first it succeeded in entertainment but not much else. There wasn't so much as plot holes as insufficient fillers that seemed a little rushed. It wasn't enough to take me out of the story but I did ask myself a few times while reading this what the point was with a few scenes and why certain things were explained in such detail while more important elements were just glossed over.
Most of the book had transformed into boilerplate fantasy adventure. If I had a nickel for every time that Quentin used his byline, "Let's go on a quest," I could probably afford a bean burrito at Taco Hell. He steamrolled everything and everyone in his path to get exactly what he wanted or what he believed to be a righteous cause, and except for a few casualties along the way, we, as readers, get to watch him be the the greatest casualty of his own adventure.

The last development somewhat redeem
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of the first book
I clearly liked this book better than The Magicians, as I rated it five stars, where I rated the prior four stars. But why? A number of reasons:

1) The world-building was already done.

In the first book, Grossman took a lot of time to set up his fantasy multiverse, including creating a quidditch-like game, Welters, which didn't add anything to the overall story, and sending Quentin-and-company on a semester abroad to the antarctic as geese, which, despite being in a fantasy novel, was still too r
I had really enjoyed The Magicians but I was a little confused about its intentions – was it a deconstruction of, and comment on, the fantasy genre; or did it want to be taken seriously as a work of fantasy in its own right? There was a sense of Grossman trying to have his cake and eat it too, and although the results had an inherent tension that I found very rewarding, it also somehow fell between two stools. Have you got that – a half-eaten cake between two stools? Right, we're on the same pag ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Although it wasn't a perfect book, this is a worthy follow-up to The Magicians. There is advancement in Quentin's story, and he's actually growing up and being less of a putz. I did like Quentin more in this book, but he'll never be a favorite hero of mine. Actually, none of the lead characters are especially likable, to be honest. Julia has more of a POV in this book, and I found that I had a violent dislike for her in some aspects of the story, and mild sense of sympathy in the others. Overall ...more
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
I’ve been sitting on this review for weeks, waiting for my thoughts to settle. This is a frustrating, slippery, controlled, funny, beautiful book, and it left me with very complicated feelings.

It’s a double-stranded narrative: one is Quentin, bored with being King of Fillory and off on a grand sea voyage that takes him through multiple worlds and to the making and unmaking of universes. The other is Julia. Oh, Julia. Who didn’t make it into special people magic school like Quentin, and who had t
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Back in my review of The Magicians, I wrote that you could have a miserably unlikeable character for the sake of writing a miserably unlikeable character and that I wouldn’t mind, just as long as you could give me a reason to care about him or her. While that’s still true, it does really help if your protagonist isn’t a whiny little ingrate and actually shows growth over the course of the novel. I really think that’s why T
May 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
The first book in this series, The Magicians, started out soooooooo slllloooooowwwwwlllllyyyy.
But when I was finished, I thought the journey was worth it.

This story gets moving a little quicker than The Magicians, and it's more engaging, I think.
It's told from Quentin's point of view in the present, and Julia's point of view in the past.

For the first half of the book, I would not have been able to tell you what the story was about.
But about 50% through, the story threads start to come together.

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
You Are Never Too...: The Magician King 6 5 Nov 27, 2019 11:32AM  
Parts that didn't add up 3 161 Jun 18, 2018 03:32PM  
The #Magicians16 ...: The Magician King: Chapter 7--Chapter 13 3 20 Aug 04, 2016 08:45AM  
The #Magicians16 ...: The Magician King: Beginning--Chapter 6 3 21 Aug 04, 2016 05:10AM  
The #Magicians16 ...: The Magician King: Chapter 21--End of Book 2 20 Aug 03, 2016 12:05AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Magicians: Alice's Story
  • The Magicians #2
  • The Magicians #1
  • Ready Player Two (Ready Player One, #2)
  • Brainwalker
  • The Magicians: The New Class
  • Piranesi
  • Fascismo à brasileira: Como o integralismo, maior movimento de extrema-direita da história do país, se formou e o que ele ilumina sobre o bolsonarismo
  • A Deadly Education (The Scholomance, #1)
  • Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1)
  • Our World (The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game, #2)
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
  • The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2)
  • The Starless Sea
  • The Amber Spyglass
  • Magic for Liars
  • The Subtle Knife
  • American Gods (American Gods, #1)
See similar books…
My novel The Magicians was a New York Times bestseller. So was the sequel, The Magician King. The third book in the trilogy, The Magician's Land, will be published in August 2014.

There's yet more information about me and my books on my website.

Other books in the series

The Magicians (3 books)
  • The Magicians (The Magicians, #1)
  • The Magician's Land (The Magicians, #3)

Related Articles

I think everybody feels a bit out of place in life—like they've been slightly miscast or incorrectly routed. We're wired to expect the world to be...
2 likes · 10 comments
“That was the thing about the world: it wasn't that things were harder than you thought they were going to be, it was that they were hard in ways that you didn't expect.” 276 likes
“Though the funny thing about never being asked for anything is that after a while you start to feel like maybe you don’t have anything worth giving.” 135 likes
More quotes…