Friday, August 28, 2015

The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman

Another trilogy complete. I was very excited to see where this one would end up and am only slightly disappointed with the conclusion. Overall, this book lacked the intensity of the other two, a trait of the books, I'd come to expect.

Looking back, I've been working through this trilogy since 2011 which explains why some details were a little hazy to me this time around. Grossman teases certain facts out enough to jog your memory a bit on any events he references from the previous books, but it might have been beneficial for me to have done some rereading before starting this book just to be current on everything. Regardless, I made it through just fine; only slightly disappointed as I've said.

In this book, the magical world of Fillory, which our hero, Quentin Coldwater, has been kicked out of, is dying. Quentin is back in our world as sort of a wandering soul, grasping at whatever he can to root himself back in magic. He temporarily returns to Brakebills, the college he learned magic from, but when that goes sour, he becomes a magical hand for hire. Unknowingly, his first hired job draws him back into the plight of Fillory.

Everything comes together with the casting of a very powerful spell, an old journal, and the reuniting of friends. You want it to be a complex and intense story, but mostly it falls short. Yes, there is one awesome battle scene, complete with a flying pool table, and one encounter with a supernaturally magical being that gave me the chills, but overall, the plot felt thin. The ending comes on very quickly and without much fanfare with Grossman using a pretty pivotal character, in my opinion, as a means to explain everything at the last minute. A little weak if you ask me. But, overall, I liked this trilogy a lot. It's the darker version of a Narnian world - where magic exists beside the world we know, but here most beings aren't too nice. There's no sense of utopia here, no supreme, infallible being and I really like this take on the environment. I just wish there was some additional, compelling element to this final book, a grand send-off instead of just a quiet departure.

Check out my reviews of the first two books in this trilogy: