Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Eric B. Speaks About Grossman's "The Magician's Land"

#1 New York Times Bestseller
The stunning conclusion to the bestselling Magicians trilogy

Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him.

Along with Plum, a brilliant young undergraduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of gray magic and desperate characters. But all roads lead back to Fillory, and his new life takes him to old haunts, like Antarctica, and to buried secrets and old friends he thought were lost forever. He uncovers the key to a sorcery masterwork, a spell that could create magical utopia, a new Fillory—but casting it will set in motion a chain of events that will bring Earth and Fillory crashing together. To save them he will have to risk sacrificing everything.

The Magician’s Land is an intricate thriller, a fantastical epic, and an epic of love and redemption that brings the Magicians trilogy to a magnificent conclusion, confirming it as one of the great achievements in modern fantasy. It’s the story of a boy becoming a man, an apprentice becoming a master, and a broken land finally becoming whole.

Eric B. says:
"The author has presented us with a near-perfect completion of this trilogy. As is often the case I began reading it with some reservations about whether or not it would measure up to the quality of writing and imagination of the previous two books. I needn’t have bothered worrying. The voice of Quentin Coldwater, the protagonist and narrator of this series retains integrity and the cast of supporting characters have even more to offer than before.

With a fine eye to balancing the modern vernacular and vulgarly popular forms of speech ( a feature I enjoy) with the rather archaic conventions of traditional fantasy tales, Grossman has furnished us with an amusement park full of adventures, miscommunications, jealousy, revenge, remorse, death & dismemberment, and some genuine romance, although of a peculiar variety that adds spice to the whole. In other words, it works at and above the level we expect.

Quentin, who has been kicked out of Fillory, the mythical land (not universe, as we shall see) and shorn of his position of High King is comforted to find that he is accepted as a junior professor at Brakebills, the adult-rated version of Hogwarts that is the home base of the series. As an adjunct professor of Minor Mendings, a career seemingly devoid of heroic potential, he is in place to become part of the end of the world,or at least of Fillory. A precocious student, Plum, attempts a prank which propels them both on a spiraling descent into danger and despair. With the help of some old friends, some old enemies and one monumentally-pissed-off former lover,

Quentin and Plum manage to find a way to make things right.Not wishing to spoil the tale or the surprise, I will say that the ending is not of the “this is how they all lived happily ever after” variety, but it is satisfying and proper. The tension and suspense are maintained right up to the brink. I’d recommend it to any reader of fantasy, but perhaps not many beyond that select group. Transformations of humans into whales and magically-restored severed limbs are perhaps a bit much for those not used to such notions. Also to be mentioned is the medium-to-well-done level of violence and bloodshed, which while they are not joyously celebrated are notably present. Altogether, I say, 'read it: it’s good'."

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