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Book Review: The Magician King by Lev Grossman

9780670022311_MagicianKing_CVF.inddThe Magician King (The Magicians #2)

Author: Lev Grossman

Publisher: Penguin Books

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Release Date: August 9th 2011

Audible Length:

Format: Audiobook

ISBN: 9780307966636

Author Website | Book Depository | Amazon |

Maria's Rating - 3.5-01

*Warning: This Review May Contain Spoilers If You Have Not Read The Magicians*

After finishing the first book in the The Magicians trilogy, I was extremely eager to continue with the rest of the series. I had listened to the first book through Audible and I really enjoyed reading The Magicians in that format, so naturally I decided to use my monthly free credit on the second novel as well!

In case you haven’t read my review of The Magicians, I mentioned that I enjoyed it a lot more than I had originally expected to. It’s hard not to notice the amount of mixed reviews that these novels receive on Goodreads. I try my hardest not to be influenced by other peoples thoughts and feelings and I try my best to keep an open mind and form my own thoughts on the books that I read. I’m glad that I was able to this while reading The Magicians as I ended up really enjoying it.

Although I have wanted to read this trilogy for a while, my main reasoning behind starting it recently was because I really wanted to start watching the television adaptation. As I mentioned in my review of The Magicians, I watched the first two episodes after reading the first novel and I couldn’t help but notice how different it was from the first book. It wasn’t until after I started watching that I was informed that the television show brought in different elements from all three novels into the first season. That was the push I needed to begin reading the second book as soon as possible.

The Magician King begins a short time after the final events that occurred in The Magicians. Quentin, Eliot, Janet & Julia are  now the Kings and Queens on Fillory. Quentin being who he is, becomes bored of just sitting on a throne all day and is very persistent on partaking in some sort of quest or adventure. It seems to me that Quentin is never satisfied. Nothing is ever good enough for him. He wished for there to be more than Earth and he got Fillory. Now as a King in Fillory, he’s bored. I feel like Quentin still has a lot of maturing to do. Although he does grow slightly by the end of this second installment, I hope he grows even further in the third and final novel.

A burning question that I had on my mind after finishing the first novel was centred around Julia. How did she end up a Queen of Fillory? She wasn’t around for much of the first novel, but obviously things were happening behind the scenes that we as the reader had to yet to learn about. My one and only wish for The Magician King was that I hoped that it would explain more about Julia and what happened to her during the time that Quentin was away at Brakebills. And just like that, my wish was granted.

Every few chapters, we go back in time a little to what Julia went through after failing the Brakebills entry exam. We know that the magic that was supposed to erase any memory of Brakebills didn’t work on her and that she decided to seek out magic on her own. Within these chapters, we learn exactly what Julia went through. She had completely alienated herself from her family and put all of her time in becoming a hedge witch, someone who learns magic unconventionally. We learn about all of the intricate and lengthy processes that Julia experienced before becoming the powerful witch and Queen of Fillory that we meet at the end of The Magicians. I loved learning about Julia’s backstory and these moments really tied in to the scenes during the first two episodes of the television show that I was the most confused about.

Other than Quentin and Julia, a lot of familiar faces return throughout The Magician King. Eliot, my favourite character from the first novel is now one of the two Kings, alongside Quentin, of Fillory. He seems more mature this time around and I hope that Quentin will eventually grow in the same way that Eliot does. Janet on the other hand, is basically non-existent throughout this novel. She’s barely in it at all and I’m starting to question her importance to the story. While we see the return of a lot of familiar faces, I still think one particular character is still going to be making a comeback…hopefully within the third and final novel.

One thing that did bother me about The Magician King is how all over the place the storyline was. There was a lot of world jumping, from Fillory to Earth to the Underworld and back again. All of that on top of the in-between chapters containing Julia’s flashbacks. It wasn’t hard to follow by any means, but it did feel like a lot was happening and there wasn’t enough focus and detail on one specific event.

While I did enjoy the first novel more than the second, I am extremely excited to continue with the third and final book in the series, The Magician’s Land. Especially after the way that The Magician King ended. My only wish is that we don’t get the same repetitive world jumping scenarios as we did during the second installment.

I am still really enjoying this series and I can’t wait to finish reading it so I can also continue with the television series!

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6 thoughts on “Book Review: The Magician King by Lev Grossman

    1. I started watching the first episode only to realize it was completely different from the books, but then I found out that the first season of the show combines storylines from all three books. So I’m trying to finish them now before I finish the first season of the show! 🙂


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