The Magician King (Magicians Series #2)

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Overview

Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to The New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon of 2009—The Magicians.

The Magicians was praised as a triumph by readers and critics of both mainstream and fantasy literature. Now Grossman takes us back to Fillory, where the Brakebills graduates have fled the sorrows of the mundane world, only to face terrifying new challenges.

Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but...

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The Magician King (Magicians Series #2)

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Overview

Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to The New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon of 2009—The Magicians.

The Magicians was praised as a triumph by readers and critics of both mainstream and fantasy literature. Now Grossman takes us back to Fillory, where the Brakebills graduates have fled the sorrows of the mundane world, only to face terrifying new challenges.

Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are starting to pall. After a morning hunt takes a sinister turn, Quentin and his old friend Julia charter a magical sailing ship and set out on an errand to the wild outer reaches of their kingdom. Their pleasure cruise becomes an adventure when the two are unceremoniously dumped back into the last place Quentin ever wants to see: his parent's house in Chesterton, Massachusetts. And only the black, twisted magic that Julia learned on the streets can save them.

The Magician King is a grand voyage into the dark, glittering heart of magic, an epic quest for the Harry Potter generation. It also introduces a powerful new voice, that of Julia, whose angry genius is thrilling. Once again Grossman proves that he is the modern heir to C.S. Lewis, and the cutting edge of literary fantasy.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Quentin Coldwater and his friends from The Magicians have become the kings and queens of Fillory, but it doesn't take them long to discover that royal life lacks a certain quality of oomph. To recapture the verve of their Brakebills adventures, Quentin and Julie charter a magical sailing ship to the outermost reaches of their kingdom. Initially, their search for excitement works—and then it works too well: Quentin is catapulted back to the last place on earth he wants to be: his parent's house. A funny and innovative follow-up; now in mass-market paperback and NOOK Book.

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.)
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.
Library Journal
If Time'book critic Grossman's The Magicians was Harry Potter with a darker edge, then this sequel sounds like "The Chronicles of Narnia" way updated. Quentin and his friends now rule as the kings and queens of Fillory, and it's getting dull. So he and Julia board a magical sailing ship to sojourn to edge of the kingdom—and end up back at Quentin's parents' home in Chesterton, MA. That's horrifying enough, but they're suddenly in danger, and Julia's weird black magic comes in handy. Since The Magicians was a New York Times best seller and New Yorker Best Book of the Year—and a mind-stretchingly fun read—you might want to consider multiples. With a ten-city tour.
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.

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
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.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670022311
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/9/2011
  • Series: Magicians Series , #2
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 81,253
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Lev Grossman

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 160 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(64)

4 Star

(53)

3 Star

(23)

2 Star

(10)

1 Star

(10)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 161 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2011

    Absolutely Awful

    If this is anything like it's predecessor it is just terrible. The fact that they are comparing it to Potter again is an absolute travesty. The main character is completely self involved to the point of pain. The magical people in this book are the elite of the elite and you couldn't possibly dream of one of them lowering themselves enough to be concerned with someone else.

    In The Magician's they have no reason or desire to make any use of themselves in the world post school (magic and a large inheritance from the school pays for everything) so they sink into this drug induced stupor and only leave it when they discover an opportunity to go to Fillory (the knock off of C.S. Lewis's work) where they get in so far over their heads that the only slightly redeeming character is killed but then they just abandon another because he is injured.

    They then decide that they are going to be the Kings and Queens of this world not because they deserve it, but because they can. There is no personal growth and not a deserving personality in any of this. I only tortured myself through this for a book club and only received satisfaction out of the read by discussing with the other readers how horrible it all was.

    I normally don't revel in things like that and don't usually say bad things about others, but this is just that bad. The main character goes through the entire book which takes up a few years getting wonderful opportunity after opportunity but still continues to wallow in his own self pity deciding that the next big thing will finally make him happy. I can normally understand how someone can enjoy the things that I don't but the fact that this has been popular absolutely astonishes me.

    12 out of 53 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2012

    Terrific, in spite of the shortsided reviews...

    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.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Brilliant

    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!

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2011

    I was speechless

    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.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2011

    Grossman is a writer that has the ability to write something that makes you want to read, and read some more.

    The novels that this talented writer creates are novels that are timeless, and will make you want to read them over d over again.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 24, 2011

    with the right mindset...

    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.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Much more enjoyable than the 1st book.

    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.)

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    An interesting rumination on what makes a modern hero

    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.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I liked it, but...

    Honestly, it was like reading the Narnia series all over again. With different people.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2011

    Great book

    Absolutely riveting

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2012

    Magic!

    This book was great! What an amazing writer!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2011

    You won't be disappointed by the writing.

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 24, 2011

    Entertaining.

    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.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great story

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2011

    Bad.

    These books take from Harry Potter, the Chronicles of Narnia, and others, and do none of it well. One of the mistakes those books did not make was to insult the religious beliefs of their readers, not so here. If you want one of the "Gods" to rape Hermione, this is the book for you.

    3 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    He knows the voice and mind of this generation and he can put it into text

    If you want to know more about yourself, read this book

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 3, 2012

    Excellent!

    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!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    WONDERFUL

    Kicked my butt. Bring on part 3!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Not quite as good as the magicians

    But there better be a third book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Nice read

    Life is an adveture and this book demonstrates it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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