Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Magician's Land

by Lev Grossman
401 pgs

The Magician's Land is a very satisfying conclusion to Lev Grossman's adult fantasy trilogy featuring Quentin Coldwater, along with other students from Brakesbills College for Magical Pedagogy, and their dealings with the "Narnia-type" land of Fillory.

Quentin, who grew up reading and loving the books about Fillory, and who became its king in The Magician King, was ultimately stripped of his crown, banished from Fillory, and forced to leave his friends behind and return to his mundane normal life in Manhattan. He's able to get a job as a professor at Brakebills as this book begins, but there's a void in his life and he longs for his friends and the world he had to leave behind.

Meanwhile, Fillory is being destroyed. The magic that exists there is failing and Eliot and Janet must find a way to save their adopted world before it's gone forever.

This book, along with its predecessors, are difficult to describe. To say that they're adult versions of The Chronicles of Narnia and the Harry Potter series feels inadequate, although the comparisons to both are plain and intentional throughout. What Grossman has created with these books is an homage to those others, but one that is wholly original and entertaining by its own rights. The story he's told is a coming-of-age one, containing the themes of love, loss, selfishness, and ultimately sacrifice.

I was not expecting the series to be what it turned out to be when I first picked up The Magicians (which I picked up for no other reason than its beautiful cover). What I was expecting was another boy-wizard tale that I was hoping to enjoy. I'll admit that I was initially surprised by the books' course language (Harry Potter never used a lot of the words Quentin and his friends use) and adult themes, but the books are so well written that I quickly settled into the story and enjoyed the ride.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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