The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

GoodReads Summary:
Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose, he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic, but he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him.
Along with Plum, a brilliant young undergraduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of gray magic and desperate characters. But all roads lead back to Fillory, and his new life takes him to old haunts, like Antarctica, and to buried secrets and old friends he thought were lost forever. He uncovers the key to a sorcery masterwork, a spell that could create magical utopia, and a new Fillory–but casting it will set in motion a chain of events that will bring Earth and Fillory crashing together. To save them he will have to risk sacrificing everything.
I’m honestly so happy to be able to say that I FINALLY finished this series. I reviewed The Magicians here and The Magician King here. If I’m being super honest I almost DNF’d this final book. I just really wasn’t sure where the story was going and why it didn’t just end with the second book. I thought Grossman wrapped his story up very nicely at the end of The Magician King, but alas he thought a third book was needed. Now that I’m finished, I see why he did.
Once I made it past the halfway mark of The Magician’s Land, the story started to pick up. As with the previous two books, there’s backstory that is needed, but somehow it takes up the whole first half of the book. We meet new characters and learn their history and jump all over the place until the different perspectives meet up and once again all the characters we know and love (basically just Eliot and Quentin) meet up to go on a grand adventure and save the world. This time it’s just Fillory that needs saving.
The story was written beautifully. I could really picture this world. I definitely admire the imagery that Grossman gives. I wish I could create such a beautiful, complex and intriguing world. Between Fillory and the other side of it and Earth, there was some serious world-building (started in the first two books but continued in the third.)
I liked our new character Plum. She was a nice touch, young and fresh and eager to learn new things. I liked the surprise twist with her connection to Fillory too. She was a nice balance to the aging characters that we’ve gotten to know over these three books. Eliot, Janet, Josh, Poppy, and Julia are all present here and there. I liked that (almost) all of the original players are still present to partake in the adventuring. I like that we get to see how they’ve grown and changed (or not) in this final book. I think Janet really grew on me in this book. She’s always been a super bitch, but in this final story (and the last) she really just owns it. It’s who she is and she’s not ashamed of it in the least. I admired her dedication to being a jerk and she made me laugh quite a bit.

“Maybe the only place she’d even been happy was about to fall apart. But not even the end of the world was going to stop Janet from being a bitch. It was the principle of the thing.”

As for Quentin, he’s had some serious growth. He points it out himself several times that he’s not the same kid he was in the first book. He says it differently to a character I won’t mention because of spoilery reasons. But Quentin grew into a character that I ended up enjoying by the final pages of The Magician’s Land.

“He wasn’t desolate, and he wasn’t empty. He was full of emotion, full of feelings, bursting with them, and when it came down to it that’s what being a magician was. They weren’t ordinary feelings—they weren’t the tame, domesticated kind. Magic was wild feelings, the kind that escaped out of you and into the world and changed things.”

I’m so happy that he moved past the whole “you have to be miserable to be a magician idea.” That was getting on my nerves, but he definitely grew up and matured and I grew to enjoy him rather than be annoyed by him.
I liked this book, aside from the slow start. I think this was an excellent ending to this series. All of the loose ends were wrapped up. It may not have been a warm and fuzzy happy ending, but it was written well with an ending for all the characters that made me happy. I liked this book also because there were a few really excellent quotes in it. I ended up enjoying this book more than I thought I was going to, but boy am I happy I’ve finally finished with this story.

“It didn’t matter where you were if you were in a room full of books you were at least halfway home.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

The Magician King by Lev Grossman

GoodReads Summary:
The Magicians was praised as a triumph by readers and critics of both mainstream and fantasy literature. Now Grossman takes us back to Fillory, where the Brakebills graduates have fled the sorrows of the mundane world, only to face terrifying new challenges.
Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are starting to pall. After a morning hunt takes a sinister turn, Quentin and his old friend Julia charter a magical sailing ship and set out on an errand to the wild outer reaches of their kingdom. Their pleasure cruise becomes an adventure when the two are unceremoniously dumped back into the last place Quentin ever wants to see: his parent’s house in Chesterton, Massachusetts. And only the black, twisted magic that Julia learned on the streets can save them.
The Magician King is a grand voyage into the dark, glittering heart of magic, an epic quest for the Harry Potter generation. It also introduces a powerful new voice, that of Julia, whose angry genius is thrilling. Once again Grossman proves that he is the cutting edge of literary fantasy.

I’m a sucker for most things magical. So when I saw a trilogy that had been turned into a Netflix tv series I knew I was going to read and watch them. I read The Magicians a few weeks ago, check out my review here.
Like the first book, this story has a surprising but intriguing dark side. I’ve been finding myself reading more and more stories that have darker themes and ideas and loving every minute of it. The Magician King was dark indeed. From the crazy direction the story goes into the backstory we finally get on Julia, it was interesting, to say the least.
Quentin still pissed me off because he was a bit whiney. Everything was “poor me, I’m a king of Fillory and that’s still not good enough for me.” I think I mentioned this in my review of the first book but the characters seem to think that they’re magical because of their misery. Their theory is that you need to be deeply unhappy to wield magic. I get why they think this because they are all seriously damaged and unhappy individuals. Quentin was just more pitiful than the other characters (though this might be because the book is mostly from his perspective.) I mostly like him, but sometimes he was annoying. He kind of gets his shit together by the end of the book and figures out that he needs to stop throwing himself a pity party and make the best of the situation he’s in.

“So what if he wasn’t a king. It had been lovely for a while, but here was real life, and he would make the most of it like everybody else. What kind of hero was he, if he couldn’t do that?”

I really grew to like and appreciate Julia. The chapters alternate between Quentin’s point of view in the present and Julia’s experiences in the past. She was determined, but also kind of crazy. She even gave magic up completely because she knew she’d never be satisfied and it would ruin her life. But she got dragged back in. The things she did were not always acceptable, but she did what she thought she needed to. I felt bad for her by the end of the book because some bad things happen to her. I’m interested to see if we see her at all in the third and final book.

“Here’s the one thing I got wrong, she thought. I thought that they could never wear me down.”

I still really enjoy the magic system of the world. Performing magic is a skill that you learn. You need to be able to focus and study and learn how to perform magic. With complicated hang gestures accompanied by words in many languages, it’s a complex magic system and I really enjoyed it. I also liked seeing how Julia learned what she knows. It was cool to see the “forbidden” way to learn magic.
Overall, I liked The Magician King well enough. It was dark, but not too much. There was enough action to keep me interested. There was also enough details for me to get a clear picture of everything, but not so much that it was boring or I lost focus. The characters were compelling, and amusing but also flawed so they were realistic. I’m going to stop writing so that I can start the third book and find out what happens. I’ve become pretty invested in Quentin’s adventures at this point.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Villains

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. Each week we talk about our top ten with a different topic provided by Jana. This week’s topic is top ten – Villains (favorite, best, worst, lovable, creepiest, most evil, etc.) I’m going to go with a combination of all the options. This list will include some of my favorite villains, who are the best and the worst at the same time, but also loveable. Some will be the evilesttop t t and maybe a little creepy too. Villains are some of my favorite and a great Spooktober topic!


1. The Darkling, Grisha Verse by Leigh Bardugo – Anyone that knows me knows that I miiiight be a little obsessed with this series and the Darkling. He’s such an excellent villain. Attractive and mysterious, he lures you in before pulling you into the dark side. A backstory that gives him a human side. He’s excellently developed and I just love him.
2. Lord Voldemort, Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – Creepy, downright evil, this guy is just the worst in all the best ways. He’s a character that I love to hate.
3. Maven Calore, Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard – A loveable villain in the first book. Before we’re blindsided by the fact that he’s actually the villain for this series. I loved him in Red Queen and HATED him the rest of the series. Aveyard made him loveable and personable and I still love him a little even though he’s pure evil.
4. Tea, The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco – Tea is made out to be the villain in this story but as we read we find out that she’s doing what she really believes in, despite the fact that she knows it will upset pretty much everyone. The minute she finds out she’s a bone witch she’s already given a stigma of being bad.
5. BeiTech, The Illuminae Files by Aime Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – I think this interesting twist of making a corporation the villain of the story is really cool. Though there’s more to this villain I won’t spoil anything. I think this was a well thought out and well-executed villain.
6. Empress Celestine, The Shattered Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima – There’s still much to learn about this particular villain, but so far she’s very intriguing. She’s the worst, but I find myself liking her more as we get deeper into the series.
7. Nova/Insomnia, Renegades by Marissa Meyer – The main character who is a villain, but seems to start to have conflicting feelings about being a villain once she finds herself surrounded by heroes.
8. Martin Chatwin, The Magicians by Lev Grossman – Martin is just the worst. He’s basically psychotic on top of being pure evil.
9. Adelina Amouteru, The Young Elites by Marie Lu – Adelina was one of the first characters that made me realize I might like villains more than I thought.
10. King of Hybern, ACOTAR by Sarah J. Maas – This guy sucked. He was actually the worst and I hated everything about him. Greedy and selfish, not satisfied with what he already has so he has to stir up all kinds of drama.

Who are your favorite, best, worst, most evil villains?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

GoodReads Summary:
A thrilling and original coming-of-age novel about a young man practicing magic in the real world
Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A senior in high school, he’s still secretly preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. Imagine his surprise when he finds himself unexpectedly admitted to a very secret, very exclusive college of magic in upstate New York, where he receives a thorough and rigorous education in the craft of modern sorcery.
He also discovers all the other things people learn in college: friendship, love, sex, booze, and boredom. Something is missing, though. Magic doesn’t bring Quentin the happiness and adventure he dreamed it would. After graduation he and his friends make a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin’s fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined. His childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.
At once psychologically piercing and magnificently absorbing, The Magicians boldly moves into uncharted literary territory, imagining magic as practiced by real people, with their capricious desires and volatile emotions. Lev Grossman creates an utterly original world in which good and evil aren’t black and white, love and sex aren’t simple or innocent, and power comes at a terrible price.
I found this book available as an ebook from my library. I’ve been getting ebooks from my library on my phone ever since I had a baby because reading on my phone is the best for those late night breastfeeding sessions. I was planning to spend time with my Kindle, but it’s a bit hard to hold while trying to keep the baby in the right position to feed so I mostly read on my phone. Because of this, I have found a few new books that weren’t on my TBR list. The Magicians was one of those. I did want to read this eventually because I wanted to read it before I watched the Netflix show. I’m excited to watch the show now that I’ve read the book and see what the differences are.
This book is totally not what I expected. It was way more detailed and the story was way more in-depth and involved than I was anticipating. The Magicians follows our main character, Quentin, on his journey to find happiness. On this journey, he finds magic, love, and some interesting adventures. Much of this book focuses on a book series that has stuck with Quentin for his whole life. It’s a series that reminds me of The Chronicles of Narnia in a few ways. He dreams of visiting this far off world one day and going on a quest to save the world. Quentin ends up on several different adventures of his own, though none of them are what he expected at all. The storyline of this book was a little bizarre to me. We spent so much time following Quentin through his schooling and the copious amount of time he spent drinking and not nearly as much time on the crazy situations that he finds himself in. I spent more than half of the book wondering where the story was going and what the real plot of the story was. I definitely didn’t predict what ended up happening in any way.
As for Quentin, he annoyed me many times. He’s so stuck in his depression that anytime he gets what he thinks will make him happy it never lasts long. He finds out he’s a magician and that’s not enough to keep him happy despite the fact that he’s learning new things every day and he’s found himself in this incredible new part of the world that he never knew existed. He finds a good group of friends that he has fun with and that’s not enough to keep him happy. He somehow manages to get a girlfriend who is smart and caring and loves him but still, that’s not enough. It was honestly just annoying. Instead of doing something or trying to figure out why he’s never happy he just accepts that he’s not meant to be satisfied or happy no matter what he has in his life. It was an interesting addition to the story, the whole idea that maybe magicians aren’t meant to be happy and all that (there’s more to this idea). But Quentin was just a little annoying in his misery.
The supporting characters added a little extra to the story. While they could have been a little further developed with more backstory and maybe their own personal development aside from being students with Quentin and learning magic. I liked their personalities but they were a little shallow as their own characters. They had personalities, but they weren’t fully developed. I think they could have been done better.
Overall, this story was totally not what I was expecting. I liked the story well enough. It was certainly interesting; though I think certain parts of the story could have been done a little differently it was a great read for sure. I would have liked more development for the supporting characters and a little less of Quentin complaining about being unhappy. The storyline was creative and kept my interest.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

*Please be aware that the book cover on this post is a link to purchase this book through Amazon. Feel free to purchase with our affiliate link (just click on the book cover) to support us!

WWW Wednesday

Hey, bookworms! It’s that day of the week again where we participate in the wonderful bookish post that was formerly hosted by Should be Reading and was recently taken over by Taking on a World of Words. To play along just answer three questions to give an update about what you’re currently reading, going to read next and have read recently. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments or link your post!

WWW wednesday

What are you currently reading?

Amanda- I’m currently reading Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer as an ebook. I’m also still in the middle of Air Awakens by Elise Kova. I’m listening to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

Antonia- I’m about to finish Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts. I always love her books and this has been no exception. Look for my review soon.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amanda- I recently finished listening to Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel. I also recently finished reading The Magicians by Lev Grossman. The book was not what I expected, but I’m excited to watch the show and see the differences.

Antonia- I recently finished Earth’s End by Elise Kova. It was amazing and you can read my review here.

What do you think you will read next?

Amanda- Next I’d like to start Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard. It’s sitting on my side table in my living room staring at me…Begging to be picked up and read. I will also likely listen to Truthwitch by Susan Dennard as my next audiobook. I’ve requested it from the library like three times and just haven’t had the time to listen to it yet.

Antonia- I just bought a few new books I’d been waiting for and Shelter in Place was one of them. Originally I’d planned to start with A Court of Frost and Starlight but as soon as my husband saw it he stole it and took it on vacation with him. So I’ll either continue with the Air Awakens series or start Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake.

Thanks for reading our W’s this week. What are yours? Leave them in the comments or leave us a link to your post.