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!