Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Magician's Land

The Magician's Land (The Magicians, #3)The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the wake of being cast out of Fillory and a short stint as a teacher at Brakebills, Quentin finds himself recruited to be part of a heist to steal a mysterious briefcase for a talking blackbird. Meanwhile, Eliot and Janet find that the magic sustaining Fillory is failing and its up to them to stop it...

I got this from Netgalley.

Well, Goodreads ate the review I spent 20 minutes writing so you're all getting shorter, probably angrier, version. There will be spoilers.

The Magicians series by Lev Grossman has had a special place in my heart for a few years now. The review I wrote for the first book was the one that put me on the map as a reviewer as far as I was concerned, the first one that got more than a fistful of reviews. When I got approved for it on Netgalley, I pushed everything aside like vegetables at Chris Farley's house and dove in head first.

The Magician's Land is exemplifies what the final book in a trilogy should be. No one is left unchanged. Everyone gets their curtain call. All the questions are answered. We finally get to find out what happened to Alice. Eliot acts like the bad ass king he knows he was born to be. Julia comes back. And Quentin finally becomes a master magician AND an adult instead of a callow complainer.

Much like the previous book, The Magician's Land is told in two threads that eventually converge. Quentin and Plum, the new character who blessedly does not love nor want to sleep with Quentin, take part in the heist and then scour the globe for answers. Eliot and Janet search Fillory for the cause of the breakdown of magic. Things don't converge until around the 70% mark.

One of the things I love about this trilogy is the magic system and Grossman pushes it to its full potential. Is the title a hint? YES! There so much more I want to gush about but I don't want to reveal too many of the nuts and bolts of the story.

I liked this book quite a bit but I wanted to love the shit out of it. I thought the ending was rushed. In fact, I saw I was at the 92% mark and thought "Isn't this the final book? Shouldn't he be wrapping this shit up?" The bit was Asmo at the end felt like Grossman didn't have any ideas for the knife in the briefcase and only remembered it at the end. I also thought Penny and the Order's role in things could have been expanded. Those were pretty minor gripes, though.

Lev Grossman's deconstruction of Harry Potter wrapped in a Narnia tortilla has come a long way since being conceived as an examination of the fantasy genre. Instead, it has become more imaginative than most fantasy books on the racks and gives a glimpse of the genre's potential if more writers will dare leave the confines of the Tolkien-via-Dungeons-&-Dragons box they've been shoehorned into. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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