The thing to know about this book is that it is not a 3.5 star book with a so-so plot and a so-so narrator. It is either a five star book or a two s..Show More »tar book, depending on the listener. After reading the reviews, I went into this book with trepidation, but I am so glad that I did! I thought it was a fantastic read. I can't wait for the sequel.
The author does rely heavily on the fact that much of his listening audience will have had exposure to the Chronicles of Narnia as children. I think this is a useful plot device, not stealing nor sneering at Narnia. Without Narnia's influence on the listeners, this book wouldn't work at all. It is because the Chronicles of Narnia are embedded in our psyche that we can understand the main characters and why things go so totally wrong for them.
Fundamentally, this is a dark coming of age story with plenty of humor and a touch of horror. If that does not appeal to you on any level, you will hate this book from start to finish. I think everyone else should give this book a try.
It is unusual when a following book is better than the original, and even more rare when considering that the first book is marvelous in its own right..Show More ». In the first book Quentin was somewhat pathetic, but you loved him even so (one of those negative people who is never satisfied, regardless), he was an antihero who yearned to be a hero. But discovering Breakbills through Quentin's eyes was nonetheless magical, and haunting, and when the first book ends you pretty much have to go back and read it again. Book 2, The Magician King is even more all that than the first book, replete with Julia's experiences, and Julia is probably even a better character than Quentin, although her unbelievable constant fury matches Quentin's omnipresent ingratitude and teenage lack of direction. Julia and Quentin are both utterly believable as highly intelligent, unique-thinking braniacs (Grossman is brilliant, in dialogue, characterization, and plotting). Fillory is much more engrossing in this second book and finally provides a worthy contender to C.S. Lewis' Narnia (albeit a raunchy, F-bomb laced Narnia, drunken and drugged). There is a lot of raunchy language, but The Magician King is haunting and beautiful, and quite a read, and more satisfying than the first book (which was quite satisfying, read it first). Mark Bramhall as narrator is skilled and sophisticated (and I keep thinking I'm listening to David Hyde Pierce's Niles Crane, with a slight cold, and a little drunk on cough syrup, but his voice changes and delivery is masterful). Great book, and worth the wait! Art et Amour Toujours
It took me much longer to finish this book than the previous two. I'm not sure whether it was because it was slower or because my brain knew the end ..Show More »was nigh and wanted to prolong the experience. I choose think the latter. To be completely honest, parts did bore me a bit. But, in the grand scheme, they were mere drops in a lake of wonder.
The most important thing, to me, is that it was satisfying. The characters reached their resolution in one form or another, the arch was completed, and I feel comfortable with the end. Yes, it was a bit predictable, but who cares. The execution is what matters. And Grossman executed it beautifully.
This final installment was set on a much grander stage than the previous ones, with no ill effects. In fact, I liked that aspect quite a bit more. Bramhall did a fantastic job narrating as always.
One of the ending scenes, the culmination of self realization, was as powerful for me as it was for Quentin. I was overwhelmed with longing and sadness, with happiness about a lost time in my life. I guess that's the power of a good series; it picks you up and carries you along, forcing you to identify and project your own experiences onto one character or another.
These books are brilliant. They returned me to a time when books truly transported me, affected me, on a basic level. Highest marks.