Written by: Lev Grossman
The Magician King is the sequel to Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, which continues the story of Quentin Coldwater and his explorations through the Narnia-esque Fillory. Quentin, now a king of Fillory, is bored again and goes looking for a quest to accomplish. He finds one though it’s not quite what he wanted. Him and his former high school crush, Julia, are transported back to earth and must find their way back. Along the way he learns of the different path Julia took to find magic and get her power.
I loved The Magicians and I was super excited to dig into The Magician King. Once again we are on an interesting journey, learning a lot more about the world of magic outside of the school in The Magicians and at the same time learn many fates from the first book. But this time Quentin is less of the lead, he’s more of a filter and catalyst to telling Julia’s story.
Julia was only featured for a couple of brief moments in The Magicians, but was a character that left deep impressions. After all she was the girl he pined after throughout high school and until he met Alice. Here we’re led through what happened to her every second that we were following Quentin in the previous book and the tough life she had to face, not being one of the few selected to attend a prestigious magic school. Imagine sort of Harry Potter not getting into Hogwarts, but knowing it exists.
The following of Julia further breaks down the walls of this universe and gives us an idea of a whole different world. Grossman is amazing at painting a picture and bringing us a whole different set of characters who are fully formed. This is an incredibly smart book that continues deconstructing the fantasy world that we have all grown up reading about. It’s gritty and rough and adult. It’s also incredibly complex. This book is filled with various layers of story and the complexity makes an already interesting story even more compelling.
Overall this is a great book. Be sure to read the first book in the series first though or you will not only lose a little backstory, but you’ll also lose a lot of the vast differences between Quentin and Julia’s experiences and how they’ve effected them. It really is a book I highly recommend.