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The Magician King (The Magicians, #2)

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3.91  ·  Rating details ·  64,965 Ratings  ·  5,519 Reviews

Meet Quentin Coldwater, king of the bizarre and wonderful land of Fillory. But he is getting restless, even in heaven a man needs a little adventure. So when a steward is murdered on a morning's hunt Quentin gets exactly that. But this quest is like no other. What starts as a glorified cruise to faraway lands soon becomes the stuff of nightmares...



The Magician King is a g

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Kindle Edition, 418 pages
Published (first published 2011)
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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.
Shima It has a pretty explicit rape scene, plus mentions of sex, drugs and drinking. So I'd suggest High school and up.
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Community Reviews

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Kemper
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
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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
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Anne
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 that
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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
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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
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Samantha
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,
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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
Blair
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
Brandon
Dec 11, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Sheila
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.
Choko
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy
*** 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 fa
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Sarah
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.
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Apatt
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
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Maureen
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
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Stephanie
Aug 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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
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Stefan
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 www.tor.com on 8/8/2011 and on www.fantasyliterature.com 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
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Terry
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
Leave My
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.
Ashley
"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
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Eric
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Elizabeth
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
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Madeline
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
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Warwick
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
Lightreads
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
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
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Brad
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
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Rob
Executive Summary: A few minor complaints, but overall another enjoyable entry in this series, and far less depressing. If you enjoyed the second half of The Magicians, you'll likely enjoy this.

Audio book: Mark Bramhall once again does an excellent job narrating, making this a perfect choice to do in audio. Great inflection, and pretty good accents.

Full Review
This one started a bit slow for me. I wasn't really sure where it was going to go. Once it got going, it didn't slow down again.

I think
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Anne
May 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

I
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 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
Doug Bradshaw
May 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Magician King

As the pieces of the complicated puzzle, the final parts of the dizzy maze, the answers to the crazy riddles, all came together… or blew wide open, however you want to look at it, a feeling of real nostalgia came over me and I felt authentic love for these characters like they were my real family, my people, my flawed and nerdy friends. And however bad or selfish or immature much of their behavior may have been, their pursuit of magic really just a highly addictive and dangerou
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Kenchiin
Jul 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The deconstruction of the fantasy genre continues in this amazing sequel to The Magicians.
I still think Lev's writing is a hit-or-miss and only those who appreciate his writing should bother to continue reading this series.

Also: Julia, one of the best girl characters out there. Hands down.
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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.
More about Lev Grossman...

Other Books in the Series

The Magicians, (3 books)
  • The Magicians (The Magicians #1)
  • The Magician's Land (The Magicians, #3)
“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.” 224 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.” 112 likes
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