The Magician King (Magicians Series #2)

The Magician King (Magicians Series #2)

4.0 178
by Lev Grossman
     
 

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Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to the New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon, The Magicians, from the author of the forthcoming The Magician's Land.

Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that

Overview


Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to the New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon, The Magicians, from the author of the forthcoming The Magician's Land.

Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory—a fictional utopia—was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring.

Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off—only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they'd hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia's illicitly-learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.

Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker

“A darkly cunning story about the power of imagination itself.”

The Boston Globe

The Magician King is a rare achievement, a book that simultaneously criticizes and celebrates our deep desire for fantasy.”

The New York Times Book Review

“This serious, heartfelt novel turns the machinery of fantasy inside out.”

NPR.org

“A spellbinding stereograph, a literary adventure novel that is also about a privilege, power, and the limits of being human. The Magician King is a triumphant sequel.”

Keith Donohue
Quentin is no Harry Potter. The other humans in Fillory are not the Pevensie children. This isn't a book for the kids. It's not your father's Narnia or your older sister's Hogwarts. Something sadder and more sinister has entered this fantasy: the modern world.
—The Washington Post
Dan Kois
…[a] serious, heartfelt novel [that] turns the machinery of fantasy inside out.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
Grossman's stylish sequel to The Magicians smoothly fuses adventure fantasy, magic realism, and mythic fiction. It's been two years since Quentin, Eliot, Janet, and Julia have become kings and queens of the magical utopia of Fillory, but Quentin is becoming bored with his seemingly idyllic existence. Spurred on by a dark prophecy of the "Seeing Hare," "one of the Unique Beasts of Fillory," he and Julia decide to embark on a trip to a faraway island, but their voyage turns out to be more perilous than expected and they end up back on Earth. With no apparent means to return to their home at Castle Whitespire, they must somehow find a way back to Fillory and save their realm from imminent destruction. Grossman effortlessly injects innumerable pop culture and literary references (Monty Python, Harry Potter, Pink Floyd, the Lorax, the Teletubbies, etc.) into the fantastical storyline. Mainstream fiction and fantasy fans alike will find this fairy tale for adults rewarding. 10-city author tour. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
“[A] serious, heartfelt novel [that] turns the machinery of fantasy inside out.”

The New York Times (Editor’s Choice)

“A spellbinding stereograph, a literary adventure novel that is also about privilege, power, and the limits of being human. The Magician King is a triumphant sequel.”

—NPR.org

“[The Magician King] is The Catcher in the Rye for devotees of alternative universes. It’s dazzling and devil-may-care. . . . Grossman has created a rare, strange, and scintillating novel.”

Chicago Tribune

The Magician King is a rare achievement, a book that simultaneously criticizes and celebrates our deep desire for fantasy.”

The Boston Globe

“Grossman has devised an enchanted milieu brimming with possibility, and his sly authorial voice gives it a literary life that positions The Magician King well above the standard fantasy fare.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“Grossman expands his magical world into a boundless enchanted universe, and his lively characters navigate it with aplomb.”

The New Yorker

“Grossman is brilliant at creating brainy, distinct, flawed, complex characters, and nearly as good at running them through narrative gauntlets that inventively tweak the stories that generations have grown up on.”

The Portland Oregonian

The Magician King, the immensely entertaining new novel by Lev Grossman, manages to be both deep and deeply enjoyable.”

Chicago Sun-Times

“Readers who have already enjoyed The Magicians should lose no time in picking up The Magician King. For those who haven’t, read both books: Grossman’s work is solid, smart, and engaging adult fantasy.”

The Miami Herald

“Now that Harry Potter is through in books and films, grown-up fans of the boy wizard might want to give this nimble fantasy series a try.”

New York Post

“Lev Grossman’s The Magician King is a fresh take on the fantasy-quest novel—dark, austere, featuring characters with considerable psychological complexity, a collection of idiosyncratic talking animals (a sloth who knows the path to the underworld, a dragon in the Grand Canal), and splendid set pieces in Venice, Provence, Cornwall, and Brooklyn.”

The Daily Beast

“In this page-turning follow-up to his bestselling 2009 novel The Magicians, Grossman takes another dark, sarcastically sinister stab at fantasy, set in the Narnia-esque realm of Fillory.”

Entertainment Weekly

The Magician King is clearly the middle book in a trilogy, but it’s that rare creature that bridges the gap between tales and still stands on its own. And just as the first book showed that growing up is hard no matter how much power you have, it shows that becoming an adult involves far more than just reaching the right age.”

The A.V. Club

“Fabulous fantasy spiked with bitter adult wisdom—not to be missed.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Fans of The Magicians will find this sequel a feast and will be delighted that a jaw-dropping denouement surely promises a third volume to come.”

Booklist

Library Journal
Grossman's sequel to his best-selling The Magicians returns to the magical land of Fillory as Quentin, Eliot, Janet, and Julia enjoy pampered lives as kings and queens. A sudden tragedy pushes Quentin and Julia to volunteer for a sea voyage to a remote island. What was supposed to be a routine trip turns into disaster when they are abruptly returned to the real world, with no way back to Fillory. The thought of remaining there is unbearable to both, so Quentin turns to old allies for assistance. Meanwhile, we see flashbacks from Julia's perspective of the long and difficult road she took to gain magical powers. Grossman's flawed characters struggle for what they want and often lose their way, a refreshing twist. Fillory's pointed resemblance to Narnia gets a bit tiresome, however. VERDICT This is best for readers who like some grit and realism in their fantasy and who have read the first book. [See Prepub Alert, 3/28/11.]—Laurel Bliss, San Diego State Univ. Lib.
Kirkus Reviews

Now a king in the magical land of Fillory, Quentin embarks on a quest to save the universe in Grossman's searing sequel toThe Magicians(2009, etc.).

It's been two years since Quentin assumed one of Fillory's four crowns along with Eliot and Janet, fellow graduates of the Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, and Quentin's high-school friend Julia, a Brakebills reject who managed to acquire magical powers on her own. Truth to tell, he's a little bored with his cushy life at the Castle Whitespire, so he seizes on the excuse of a tax-collecting mission to sail for Outer Island, rumored to be the home of "the key that winds up the world." It's an ugly surprise when he and Julia find the key and it dumps them back in their hometown on Earth. Searching for a way back to Fillory, they learn that something is very wrong in the Neitherlands, the mysterious embarkation point that leads to all other worlds, and that the key they found is one of seven required to fend off an apocalypse. Interspersed chapters flash back to Julia's dark adventures before she reunited with Quentin. She discovered a network of people sharing magical knowledge outside the approved Brakebills framework, and her prodigious skills eventually earned her entrance into an elite circle of brilliant, self-taught magicians seeking "an advance so radical it will take us into another league...we think there's more to magic than what we've seen so far." Indeed there is: The ancient forces recklessly summoned by Julia and her friends provoke a spectacular magical battle, a terrifying transformation for Julia and the loss of everything Quentin has ever wanted. Echoes from The Chronicles of Narnia, in particularThe Voyage of the Dawn Treader,continue to reverberate, but Grossman's psychologically complex characters and grim reckoning with tragic sacrifice far surpass anything in C.S. Lewis' pat Christian allegory.

Fabulous fantasy spiked with bitter adult wisdom—not to be missed.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780452298019
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/29/2012
Series:
Magicians Series , #2
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
27,773
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

“Lev Grossman’s The Magician King is a fresh take on the fantasy-quest novel—dark, austere, featuring characters with considerable psychological complexity, a collection of idiosyncratic talking animals (a sloth who knows the path to the underworld, a dragon in the Grand Canal), and splendid set pieces in Venice, Provence, Cornwall, and Brooklyn.”
The Daily Beast

“In this page-turning follow-up to his bestselling 2009 novel The Magicians, Grossman takes another dark, sarcastically sinister stab at fantasy, set in the Narnia-esque realm of Fillory.”
Entertainment Weekly

The Magician King is clearly the middle book in a trilogy, but it’s that rare creature that bridges the gap between tales and still stands on its own. And just as the first book showed that growing up is hard no matter how much power you have, it shows that becoming an adult involves far more than just reaching the right age.”
The A.V. Club

“Fabulous fantasy spiked with bitter adult wisdom—not to be missed.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Fans of The Magicians will find this sequel a feast and will be delighted that a jaw-dropping denouement surely promises a third volume to come.”
Booklist

Meet the Author

LEV GROSSMAN is a senior writer and book critic for Time magazine. He is a graduate of Harvard and Yale, and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two daughters. In 2011 Grossman won the John W. Campbell award for Best New Writer from the World Science Fiction Society.

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The Magician King 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 179 reviews.
dWeng More than 1 year ago
Grossman's world(s) of magic have the gritty texture of reality: rough, true, at times simultaneously horrifying and hilarious. While I understand other reviewers' repulsion for the tragic bits, I have to completely disagree. The first book, perhaps, borrowed from Harry Potter in that it was about a school for magic; the similarities end there. Somehow Grossman has created a world where magic is believable, hard, and accessible to the naturally inclined and the completely driven. The characters may be self interested, but if you've ever been aroudn the acedemically elite, you'll find this to be a completely believable portrayal of people obsessed with knowledge and power. Their faults are what seperate them from the glittery world of Harry Potter, where the good guys are perfect and the bad guys are evil. In Grossman's world, the answers are not so simple. This is a satisfying answer to questions left unanswered from the first book. I highly reccommend it for anyone who wanted realllllyyyy badly to like Harry Potter, but couldn't get over what a perfect little snot he always was.
Schwa More than 1 year ago
Loved The Magicians, but this second installment was even better. Especially enjoyed finding out what Julia's story was at it pertained to the first book. The book ends with another semi-cliffhanger, even though the main story does finish, so I can't wait for more of Quentin's adventures!
lkhokie More than 1 year ago
I had read the first book in this series, The Magicians. I had very mixed feelings about it because I felt like it was not an original work and was merely a different take on Harry Potter and Narnia. I didn't think that I was going to read any other books in this series. However, I found myself thinking about The Magicians and decided to pick up this book. I gave the series another chance and am very glad I did so. I couldn't put this book down!! I knew that this would also most likely not be a book of completely original ideas, but I think knowing that put me in the right mindset for this book. It's a combination of all the other Narnia books and it is so much better for it. I was expecting it to be a spin off of at least one of the books, whether it was the Voyage of the Dawn Treader or most likely the Magician's Nephew (judging by the title). It was these books, and more! This was a very good book and I love the fact that I was willing to give this series another chance. You have to go into this book knowing that it is not going to be completely original ideas, but it will be different spins on those ideas. As long as you remember that, this book is well worth it. It was a lot better than the first book which is a rare thing for most sequels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so incredible. I thought the first was un-matchable but I was wrong. Lev did it again as I could not put this book down. The way he writes is just so incredible.
Alyssaface More than 1 year ago
I actually liked this one much more than the first book. When I finished reading The Magicians for the first time, I felt that I had enjoyed the the story, but there was something about it that made it just an A- for me. The Magician King, however, was a total A+. It's so much more witty, funny, and exciting, and it didn't have huge sections that just lulled on by like the first book. I found myself laughing out loud several times. I also really enjoyed the dueling narratives of Quentin's present and Julia's past. The only complaint I have is that the ending was a bit of a let down, but it was a great way to leave the story open for a 3rd book without making it completely obvious about what's going to happen in it. (Also, huge points to the author for slipping in Venture Bros. and Hark! A Vagrant references in there; someone definitely has his finger on the pulse of his target audience.)
CLANCY SMITH More than 1 year ago
The novels that this talented writer creates are novels that are timeless, and will make you want to read them over d over again.
DCFantasyNerd More than 1 year ago
Upon first reading, the Magician King seems a little bit disjointed. Things have moved on since the end of Grossman's previous work, the Magicians, and the transformation seems jarring and disjointed to where the previous work left off with Quentin. However, once you've acclimated to the differences, the book proceeds to tell an engaging story. The Magicians had a stark style that undermined the final redemption found in the story. The Magician King, however, reverses that dynamic. Here the prose is more rich, more vibrant, but with repeated warnings that calamity will strike at the end. Ultimately, the Magician King was a pleasurable read. Beyond the book's obvious role as a novel, the themes presented in the story will resonate in the reader's mind for sometime afterwards.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was great! What an amazing writer!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Life is an adveture and this book demonstrates it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lev Grossman is so good, you forget he's there. He carries you straight into the magical worlds where you become friends with the characters -- and miss them when you put the book down. But, you must read his earlier book, The Magicians, first to truly enjoy this book.
lasonadora More than 1 year ago
A perfectly decent book to escape with for a few hours, but not one that you will think about much after you close it. If you liked the first book of this series, this one is even better. You should read them in order as principle plot twists in the first are fully discussed in the second and will spoil the experience. A good editor could really enhance this series.
Police-Dispatcher More than 1 year ago
It's a great story and a fun read as long as you intentionally take your mind out of the overpowering Harry Potter world. Once you do so you will find that this book (and the previous one) both have something to offer in this genre, and they're both very good reads. I was captivated by first book and the second one proved to be just as good. I especially enjoyed learning Julia's background more.
ThaliaShep More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome! I re-read The Magicians to read this book because the first one was so good. I really hope there's a sequel! Ignore those angry reviews-if you're an adult and love fantasy books read this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kicked my butt. Bring on part 3!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But there better be a third book!
bethieg More than 1 year ago
Honestly, it was like reading the Narnia series all over again. With different people.
Angie1327 More than 1 year ago
This book still had a neat magical plot but I did not feel that it was as good as The Magicians. I did feel that it dragged on quite a bit. The Julia chapters I found myself skimming through and generally disliking. I understand they were important for the plot but it made the story seemed forced. I feel like the open ending of The Magicians was a better ending for the books than this sequel. I'm not sure if there is another that I will read it.
Natalie Pinter More than 1 year ago
I was a huge fan of the first book and this was just as good. Trippy, mystical but with an irreverent edge that makes for some very fun reading. I loved the sloth.
MrMalcolm More than 1 year ago
The sequel is just as great as the first volume! I finished this in one sitting. An excellent antidote to Harry Potter.
CodexCPB More than 1 year ago
Absolutely fantastic and was a wonderful sequel to the original! Like the first, it had my mind reeling after I finished it and I can't wait for the next one!
ras61 More than 1 year ago
It was not a book that grabbed me and I had to read. It was just okay.
rabones More than 1 year ago
I loved this and The Magicians. Both are great stories, wonderful, goofy, interesting characters. So much like our reality and our fantasy.
SnipeTheLibro More than 1 year ago
If you want to know more about yourself, read this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The sequel gave us a true back story to Julia, and it was heartbreaking. Another wonder story for the magicians.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago