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
I know a lot of people where annoyed by the Pevensie/Potter references in this series. But I've gotta tell you, that was probably my favorite part of ..Show More »these books. I loved every quirky minute of the Brakebills Academy description. And really, if you haven't always wanted to travel to a magical kingdom full of sentient trees and talking animals, I'm not sure if we can be friends.
Another complaint was the seriously flawed characters. And really, everyone of them behaved pretty badly at some point. But I think Grossman did an awesome job describing what real people would do in the the strange setting of living in the "real" world while knowing there is a magic side to life. By the end of the series, everyone of them had shown enormous growth. And isn't that what life is really about?
All in all, I loved this series. And I would recommend it to anyone willing to read PG-13 books. If your offended by swearing and a few (rather tame) sex scenes, then this is not the series for you.