Like its predecessor, The Magician King follows Quentin Coldwater, now King of the fantastical land of Fillory, as he deals with the existential struggles of being a powerful wizard with a real personality. Subverting your expectations appears to be a favorite pastime of Grossman's two Fillory novels; just when you think you've got the course charted, along comes a fresh gust to blow the story into a strange new direction. This time around, Quentin's friend Julia fills the role of angst-ridden magician in the making, but her story is at once darker and more ultimately uplifting than Quentin's was. The story as a whole feels easier, less fraught, and less self-conscious than the previous book, even though it's arguably a more mature and thoughtful treatment of magic, desire and a person's ability to live with themselves and their choices.
Grossman has really done a great job with this second book in what I am hoping is a new series for these magicians. It is easy to tell that the characters and Grossman are both more mature and more sure of personalities, roles in the story, and dialogue. The plot takes off as the 4 - Julia, Quintin, Elliot, and Janet are kings and queens in Fillory and as they once again get drawn and dragged into quests and adventures. There are great weaving story lines and Grossman has some great moments of twists and reveals. I am expecting there to be at least one more in this series with how it ended, very leading into a new step type ending, but still very well done.
Audible rawks! My taste is beyond eclectic and Audible always has plenty to choose from, no matter what mood I'm in!
Though The Magicians seemed like it ended in a great spot, when I heard that there was another book planned I immediately thought of a few storylines I wouldn't mind seeing Mr. Grossman flesh out, especially Julia's story of what she was up to while The Magicians was happening. Let's just say I eventually felt like calling TMI (felt like, but didn't stop listening, of course) as Julia's tale spun towards the point where she would join with the Physical Kids. Quentin's story, the main plot, continues from where we left him emotionally and logistically and the mix of old and new characters hit me as just right.
Even when the action is at its high point, something in Grosssman's prose keeps it tamped down a bit. Likewise, Mark Bramhall's performance keeps things at a quiet, understated pitch while losing nothing of the wonder/horror that might be happening on the page. Quentin and Julia pride themselves on being cool customers: Bramhall gets that tone and maintains it.
Adventures abound and magic is, again, not always what you want it to be. Now, there is one more female character I'd like to hear from, and it seemed to me that there was a hint that Grossman isn't completely done with her either. Fingers crossed for the next installment!
The entire story line is good. Adult version of The Chronicles of Narnia at its finest.
All of them!
Yes. Julia's sacrifice.
No. I don't want to spoil anything.
To the author...please keep this going.
I love to read, but I am time-limited. Audible allows me to keep up with all my favorite authors while on the hiking trail. Thanks, Audible!
This series just does not deliver on any of the possibilities. This story is about a bunch of assholes who continue to be assholes and feel sorry for themselves because they are misunderstood assholes. It is tiresome.
I might listen again. I loved the stories.
I loved them all. They were all so different.
I don't know that I had a favorite. I did have a least favorite though. The performance of Poppy was horrible.
This trilogy was awesome! One of my favorite set of stories in a long time. The reader was a little slow for my tastes but once I figured out I could speed it up it got a lot better.
A university specializing in magic is the setting, but the true essence of the novel involves the relationship between students. Interesting parallel between our educational systms and the ranking of normal magicians and gifted magicians. Reminds me at times of The Tallisman by Stephen King, one of my favorite novels or all times. Some people have thought of this novel as an "adult Harry Potter" but I disagree. if you want a book that can take you way and maintain credibility and believability, you will like this one.
The conclusion to this anti-Harry Potter, anti-Narnia, disenfranchised youth series took us a long time to finish listening to, but was worth it in the end. Both the first book and the second deal with the concept of what does it really mean to be heroic. The protagonist in these books is not the anti-hero of the Thomas Covenant series and not the reluctant hero (Frodo) of the Lord of the Rings. Quentin is a disenfranchised youth who wants to be Harry Potter or Prince Caspian. Maybe even more like a video game hero.
While the first book takes the reader through the Harry Potter and Narnia-like fantasies, the second book becomes more of a Homeric hero's journey. Through out the series, no matter how many times you've been bitten, you almost believe Quentin when you hear the familiar phrase, "This is it! This is what I'm meant to do!" Maybe this really is it!?!?
You are also told the story of Julia, Quentin's old crush. A story of having to lose everything to eventually find herself.
Grossman pulls no punches, but ultimately everything means something. There isn't anything gratuitous. Everything is there to explore the question of what does it mean to be a hero. His humor, mostly nods to modern culture and popular fantasy/sci-fi, keeps the dialog clever. All well performed by the reader, Mark Bramhall, who seemed to fully embody the disenfranchised youth voice.
Not a book for everyone. It's a book that dares to insert reality into fantasy. Not something that is always welcome.
Addicted to books, both print and audio-.
I read Lev Grossman's previous book, The Magicians, and decided to listen to this one. I enjoyed both a great deal. They are perhaps a little longer than they could be, but it's so much fun and so interesting that who cares? I think this was my first time listening to Mark Bramhall, who adds a lot of character and humor to his reading. I love the main premise of these books. If you're looking for something fun and absorbing to listen to that also has complexity, go for it. Particularly good for people familiar with fantasy and children's books. Several steps above Harry Potter in my book, and written for adults.