The Magician King
By Lev Grossman
I’m torn over this review and fully admit to putting off writing it because I don’t know what I want to say about it. Did I like it? Sort of. Would I read it again? Probably not. The more I thought about it the more frustrated I became with the whole book and its predecessor, The Magicians. So here goes my attempt at some thoughts.
Quentin is now in Fillory and a full king at that along with Eilot, Janet, and Julia. But he’s bored. So bored he decides to travel to the Outer Islands of Fillory to collect, of all things, back taxes. He ends up inadvertently on a quest for the seven keys. Using the first, he and Julie, who accompanied him on the unplanned trip, end up back in the real world. The two search for a way back to Fillory both knowing they have absolutely no desire to spend any time in reality — Fillory is their reality now.
OK, first, back taxes?! This is how a quest starts?! I just, I don’t know, I wanted something less mundane and every day. Taxes are not fantasy. Beyond that I was sort of bored and annoyed. Quentin is still whiny, now he’s bored and whiny. Eliot, not sure what I thought of him, mostly I just didn’t; Janet is pretty well non-existent and I was fine with that. And then there’s Julia. We find out all about Julia and how she learned magic and it’s fascinating. It was dark, disturbing, and sad. I was right there going along with her story, having to put up with Quentin to get to Julia’s story, and then we came to the end of her story and I said out loud, “What? You went there!” and that’s when I decided to muddle through and be done with it.
I was excited for this book but sadly that excitement barely got me though. There’s much to like and many people do indeed like this book so ignore if you’re one of them. For me, this one didn’t do it.
I went back to see how I rated the first book and it was fairly high, a 4 out of 5. I remember liking it at the time too but with a few quibbles. Then, the more I thought about it the less I liked it. These thoughts may have clouded my judgment of this book.
Read it? Feel differently? Wrote a review of it? Let me know, I’m happy to link to a review that’s a completely different take than mine.