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A Reader of Fictions: Julia - The Beatles

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Julia - The Beatles

The Magician King
The Magicians, Book 2

Author: Lev Grossman
Pages: 400
ARC Acquired from: Penguin

Brief Summary:
Quentin is growing fat as a king of Fillory, so content he could die from it. He desperately wants a quest, anything to keep him busy. When the Seeing Hare appears, they all go after it, because whoever catches it gets a prophesy of the future. Only what the hare sees turns out to be death and what could be the end of magic as they know it.

Review:

Warning: Spoilers for The Magicians pretty much inevitable.

If The Magicians was Harry Potter meets The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Magician King is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Much of the book is spent aboard a vessel, the Muntjac, in pursuit of one quest or another. This book is rather meandering, drifting from one port to another, finding new purpose seemingly at random. They quest for the hare, receive a terrifying prophecy, go to collect back taxes from a meaningless island, and, eventually, end up needing to prevent magic from disappearing. The connections between a lot of this were tenuous at best.

This book was much tougher to get through than the first one, because Quentin spends the whole book in that self-indulgent, whiny, poor little rich boy phase that only dominated a quarter of the previous novel. That Quentin is pretty much impossible for me to like. He is, frankly, quite irritating. Terrible things have happened to him, no doubt, but he just whines about how he wants to be a hero rather than stepping up.

What saved this was the addition of Julia's narrative, which was strange and depressing, but at least broke the flow of Quentin's despondence. Julia has a unique story, one that opens some interesting theoretical and philosophical doors into the world Grossman has created in this series.

This series actually reminds me of Joss Whedon somewhat. Lev Grossman has a similar love for making his characters suffer, never wanting anyone to find long-lasting fulfillment, romantic or otherwise. He also likes to kill off characters to make things feel real. Plus, everything is so incredibly improbable, even through the lens of the universe that he has created. I feel like they might get along. If they collaborated, they would make the most fantastical and depressing story ever.

I infinitely preferred the first book, but am still definitely eager to discover where the story's going to go in the next installment. I sincerely hope that it will find Quentin a more grown up man.

"Half of what I say is meaningless
But I say it just to reach you, Julia"

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