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.
A haunting, beautiful story about faith and doubt and the destiny of an extraordinary boy. This has long been my favorite Irving novel, and Barrett's narration brings the characters to life in a way that enhances the story immeasurably.
A touching, charming tale of death and life, full of wit and magic. The plot is worn and familiar, but Gaiman's attention to detail in his prose, as well as his beautiful reading, make the story as comfortable as a blanket on a chilly evening.
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