Wordy Wednesday: The Magician’s Land

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Title: The Magician’s Land Author: Lev Grossman
Publisher: Viking Adult Rating: 5star
Publication Date: 2014 Genre: Fantasy

Why Picked: My complete adoration of the first two.
First Line:

“The letter had said to meet in a bookstore.”

Summary:

In The Magician’s Land, the stunning conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Magicians trilogy—on-sale from Viking on August 5—Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose he returns to where his story be­gan, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him. Along with Plum, a brilliant young under­graduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demi­monde of gray magic and desperate characters. But all roads lead back to Fillory, and his new life takes him to old haunts, like Antarctica, and to buried secrets and old friends he thought were lost for­ever. He uncovers the key to a sorcery masterwork, a spell that could create magical utopia, a new Fillory—but casting it will set in motion a chain of events that will bring Earth and Fillory crashing together. To save them he will have to risk sacrific­ing everything. The Magician’s Land is an intricate thriller, a fantastical epic, and an epic of love and redemp­tion that brings the Magicians trilogy to a magnifi­cent conclusion, confirming it as one of the great achievements in modern fantasy. It’s the story of a boy becoming a man, an apprentice becoming a master, and a broken land finally becoming whole. [1]

 

Review:

I just moments ago put down The Magician’s Land. I was lucky enough to be contacted by Cat over Viking and get an ARC (no strings attached). But this was a read I did not and could not rush. I have been in love with this world since the very beginning and even knowing there is the possibility of a television show, getting to the end of this is book means the end of Quentin’s story (as well as so many others) as told by Mr. Grossman. And I was not ready to let go of this story yet. But Quentin’s story is over. And it was a wonderful ending.

Let me get my issues out of the way up front. If I had it to do over again, I would have gone back and reread the first two of the trilogy. I did read summaries to refresh my memory but Grossman’s worlds are so full and stories so well crafted I was caught a few times trying to remember exact details of what happened. Also I will mention, and again these are personal preferences, there are portions I would have thinned out and plot points I would have like to see more of. These are difficult to explicitly comment on without being spoiler-ly but more of the characters at the end and less of those in the middle would have made this redhead much happier.

So you know I loved the earlier books, what about this one? Well, Quentin having been tossed out of Fillory goes crawling back to Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. For a while it seems like things might settle into a professorial routine for our petulant hero, but through the shenanigans of a young fourth year student, Plum, both she and Quentin find themselves tossed out of Brakebills and suddenly part of a magical Ocean’s Eleven-like heist. Oh, and by the way, Fillory’s Royalty, Elliot, Janet, Poppy and Josh, might have just found out that their realm is set for a mighty apocalyptic, you can’t stop it, end. How these two plots merge and resolve is plotting and story-telling by a master.

There are enough encounters with past characters and settings to keep devoted readers happy but not so much that it seems forced and unnatural. Like I mentioned I would have love to see more of my old favorites but as with things like this are a personal quibble. I will be honest about the character of Quentin, for most of the story up to now, he has been a twit. I am firmly in the Catherynne M. Valente school of magic:

I would have run wild through a magical kingdom and never looked back. Talking animals? Yes. Witches and monsters? Yes. Dark queens? Absolutely. Give it right here. I would have said yes to all of it. [2]

So Quentin getting every damn thing he has ever wanted and being all “meh” or “It is hard” bothered me to no end. Non-magical life is meh and hard and boring and “shut up Quentin!” But these books were a fine example of how you can dislike a main character and love a world. That said, something about Quentin in this book is different, or I am different now, because he feel much less that Quentin and much more a man ready to begin again and again and again, understand that life is just damn hard and having gotten to that point he receives what fictional characters get and us mundanes may never find which is the chance for a happy ending.

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