The Magician King: A Novel

The Magician King: A Novel

Hardcover | July 23, 2013

byLev Grossman

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Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to the New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon, The Magicians

Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory—a fictional utopia—was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring.
Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off—only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they'd hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia's illicitly-learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.

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The Magician King: A Novel

Hardcover | July 23, 2013
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Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to the New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon, The MagiciansQuentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory—a fictional utopia—was actually real. But even as a Fillorian ki...

Lev Grossman is a senior writer and book critic for Time magazine. He is also the author of the international bestselling novel Codex, the creator of the Time blog Techland, and a graduate of Harvard and Yale. He lives in Brooklyn. Visit and

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 9.54 × 6.43 × 1.33 inPublished:July 23, 2013Publisher:Viking AdultLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0670022314

ISBN - 13:9780670022311

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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great sequel to a great series! *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!
Date published: 2016-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from First rate Well worth the cost and more. Very crisp writing, pulls you right in effortlessly. Thoroughly enjoyed all the books.
Date published: 2015-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic The middle part in a trilogy, the Magician King definitely did what it was supposed to do:keep you wanting more. I'm incredibly excited to get my hands on the last book, very soon!
Date published: 2014-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A terrific novel gets an equally terrific sequel In 2009, Lev Grossman combined an intense fervor for the fantasy genre with a talented imagination to his novel The Magicians, an ode to the Harry Potter/Chronicles of Narnia books sheathed in adult post-modern sensibilities. Following his fallible young 'hero' Quentin Coldwater through the rigours of (for lack of a better description) magicians college Brakebills, Grossman posited a finely-hued world made up of the realities of today and the possibilities of true magic. It ended on a note of melancholy, as Quentin — older, slightly wiser, and hardened through combat — re-entered the fictional world of Fillory to find what he sought: true adventure. It was a bold, absorbing work that left as all good novels of the genre do, on an uncertain note, as if there are further exploits to tell. Two years later, and here we are, presented with The Magician King, an immensely worthy follow-up that expands upon the themes of the original while further laying out a world many will desperately yearn to be true. If the Potter fanatics, now grown, are looking for a new sensation to whet their starving imaginations, this is the series to do it. King begins where most fantasy novels end: Quentin and his friends are kings and queens of the land of Fillory, growing fat, lazy, and bored. Unsatisfied, Quentin decides to explore beyond the limits of Fillory, to the rarely visited Outer Island, which was owing his new kingdom in back taxes. "It wasn't the Fellowship of the Ring, but then again he wasn't trying to save the world from Sauron, he was attempting to perform a tax audit on a bunch of hick islanders." Taking a cue from The Voyage from the Dawn Treader, Quentin commandeers the ship Muntjac, and sets out with Julia (his friend from Magicians who was denied entry to Brakebills) to see how far the limits of his royal powers can take him. To better keep the story grounded for the reader, Grossman also relates the tale of Julia, a secondary character in Magicians who proves herself a darker and arguably more interesting specimen than Quentin. Julia, denied a proper magicians education, takes to the back alleys and side streets of the world to learn magic the hard way. Her adventures, grim, gritty, and sexual, balance against the wondrous fantasy world which (as my experiences with Ed Greenwood have proved) can be a bit of a chore to read after a while. As always, the subtext of maturation weaves through the stories, Quentin coming to understand that wisdom and maturity do not simply come with age. The ending, as fantastical in setting as it is emotionally devastating in impact, comes through Grossman's expert handling of character (from my perspective, a true rarity in such novels). The Magician King is a work of maturity as well, an acceptance that there are gray areas to the human experience that cannot be resolved either through magical summonings or acts of heroism. Its only drawback is that I will now have to wait years for the promised finale.
Date published: 2011-09-01

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Editorial Reviews

“[A] serious, heartfelt novel [that] turns the machinery of fantasy inside out.”—The New York Times (Editor’s Choice)“A spellbinding stereograph, a literary adventure novel that is also about privilege, power, and the limits of being human. The Magician King is a triumphant sequel.”—“[The Magician King] is The Catcher in the Rye for devotees of alternative universes. It’s dazzling and devil-may-care. . . . Grossman has created a rare, strange, and scintillating novel.”—Chicago Tribune“The Magician King is a rare achievement, a book that simultaneously criticizes and celebrates our deep desire for fantasy.”—The Boston Globe“Grossman has devised an enchanted milieu brimming with possibility, and his sly authorial voice gives it a literary life that positions The Magician King well above the standard fantasy fare.”—San Francisco Chronicle“Grossman expands his magical world into a boundless enchanted universe, and his lively characters navigate it with aplomb.”—The New Yorker“Grossman is brilliant at creating brainy, distinct, flawed, complex characters, and nearly as good at running them through narrative gauntlets that inventively tweak the stories that generations have grown up on.”—The Portland Oregonian“The Magician King, the immensely entertaining new novel by Lev Grossman, manages to be both deep and deeply enjoyable.”—Chicago Sun-Times“Readers who have already enjoyed The Magicians should lose no time in picking up The Magician King. For those who haven’t, read both books: Grossman’s work is solid, smart, and engaging adult fantasy.”—The Miami Herald“Now that Harry Potter is through in books and films, grown-up fans of the boy wizard might want to give this nimble fantasy series a try.”—New York Post“Lev Grossman’s The Magician King is a fresh take on the fantasy-quest novel—dark, austere, featuring characters with considerable psychological complexity, a collection of idiosyncratic talking animals (a sloth who knows the path to the underworld, a dragon in the Grand Canal), and splendid set pieces in Venice, Provence, Cornwall, and Brooklyn.”—The Daily Beast“In this page-turning follow-up to his bestselling 2009 novel The Magicians, Grossman takes another dark, sarcastically sinister stab at fantasy, set in the Narnia-esque realm of Fillory.”—Entertainment Weekly“The Magician King is clearly the middle book in a trilogy, but it’s that rare creature that bridges the gap between tales and still stands on its own. And just as the first book showed that growing up is hard no matter how much power you have, it shows that becoming an adult involves far more than just reaching the right age.”—The A.V. Club“Fabulous fantasy spiked with bitter adult wisdom—not to be missed.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)“Fans of The Magicians will find this sequel a feast and will be delighted that a jaw-dropping denouement surely promises a third volume to come.”—Booklist