Loyola University Chicago Libraries's Reviews > The Magician King

The Magician King by Lev Grossman
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's review
Oct 19, 2011

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bookshelves: beth

Really, I should just copy and paste my review of The Magicians into this space; I have the same complains about the sequel that I did about the first installment. In a nutshell: creative, engrossing book with very little heart or warmth.

Quentin and his friends are now the Kings and Queens of Fillory, but because presiding over a magical kingdom isn't enough for Quentin, he goes in search of adventure and basically threatens the future of magic. As his story unfolds, we also go back in time a few years and discover how Julia, Quentin's high school crush, got herself into magic (and Fillory) by using a very different path. Predictably, these paths eventually collide, and Julia's personal experience becomes a critical tool in saving the future of magic.

Lev Grossman is gifted in so many ways -- his pacing is wonderful, his prose makes me laugh out loud on a regular basis. But there's something so cold and dank and inhuman about the whole enterprise, the characters and their relationships and the spirit behind the story. I know this is supposed to be Harry Potter for adults, but J. K. Rowling managed to go to some pretty dark places while maintaining the warmth and integrity of her characters. I didn't feel attached to a single person in The Magician King; the characters are not only unlikable but kind of soulless. The plot was exciting enough to keep me reading, but again, I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth on the final page.
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