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The Magician’s Land (The Magicians #3) – Lev Grossman

The Magician’s Land (The Magicians #3) – Lev GrossmanTitle: The Magician's Land (The Magicians #3) by Lev Grossman
Publishing Info: August 5, 2014 by Penguin
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: March 6, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: The Magicians (The Magicians #1), The Magician King (The Magicians #2)

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, and 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.

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I have a hard time with endings so this was a little bittersweet! I enjoyed the first half of the book a lot more with the set-up but I actually appreciated how well the beginning set up the ending without the reader knowing it. I always really love when authors have everything come full circle and this book did that for the book itself and also for the series. It really shows how well an author can craft plot and really know where the series it headed right from the beginning.

I actually also really appreciated that we get to see exactly why Quentin is the main character of this series. Up until 75% of the way through the final book, it still seemed like this series could have been about Julia or even Eliot or Janet, but we finally get to see in the end why this is Quentin’s story and what made this so magical and a perfect fit for him, so I’m really glad we got to that point! It’s interesting to see how the series follows all of the main characters but then how the focus really comes back to Quentin in the end.

It was quite interesting starting the TV show after this book and having finished the whole series. Obviously this review isn’t about the show, but watching something that’s inspired by the series and doesn’t follow the exact storyline also gave me more appreciation for how things wrapped up in the end and put things into perspective. The show really focuses on all of the characters and since I read the series, I already have that feeling that Quentin is the main focus but he’s really not in the show — it’s everyone. Actually, I guess the series really still spotlights Julia, Eliot, and Janet (who is Margo in the TV show) and they have their own stories as well but it’s just so interesting to note the similarities and differences.

The TV show was actually the inspiration for me to read this series (so I could watch the show) but there was something that I really connected with in terms of the whole feel here. I wouldn’t say it’s one of my all-time favorite series but there really is something that tugs at my feelings and it has that sort of obsession quality, so even though it’s not the greatest and best, I still have so much love for it!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Adult fantasy that’s not high fantasy. Is this low fantasy? Urban fantasy? What do you call it? I’m horrible with genres like that. But I loved that this was magical and fantastical but it wasn’t a WHOLE fantasy world. It has that sort of Harry Potter feel that takes you away to a magical land but the real world is still there, and I really loved it in an adult setting instead of children’s or YA.
Left Me Wanting More: Character interaction. I’m actually thinking back on this having read it months ago but I feel like I wished the characters had been together a little bit more for some of their timelines… But there were other character reunions that I also loved!

Addiction Rating
Try it!

I just really enjoyed this series and the TV show honestly made it even better. They’re different but really great in their own ways and I loved the original story of The Magicians.

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BOOKS LIKE THE MAGICIAN’S LAND

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    ALEX VERUS

The Magician King (The Magicians #2) – Lev Grossman

The Magician King (The Magicians #2) – Lev GrossmanTitle: The Magician King (The Magicians #2) by Lev Grossman
Publishing Info: April 9, 2011 by Penguin
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: March 4, 2018
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: The Magicians (The Magicians #1), The Magician's Land (The Magicians #3)

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 was absolutely a better book than THE MAGICIANS. I felt like THE MAGICIANS was just pieces of a story all cobbled together and didn’t really follow one long thread to make it feel like a cohesive novel and THE MAGICIAN KING actually feels like a story, moving with purpose. It’s an interesting series to get the hang because it’s not like there’s one obvious conflict that carries throughout all three books, as is often the case with trilogies, and yet they’re also not independent of each other. I did like the developments here and where the story went, delving further into the magical world and the elements of Fillory.

I think the thing I enjoyed the most about this book was Julia’s story. Honestly, it was much more interesting the Quentin’s and if you read any review of THE MAGICIANS, you’ll probably read how whiny and unappreciative Quentin is of his time and experiences at Brakebills. It really didn’t bother me as much as it could have but I felt like Julia’s story was much more interesting. THE MAGICIAN KING introduces Julia right off the bat as a completely changed person. There’s something much more unearthly about her and the book spends its time going through flashbacks of Julia’s life after that fateful day when she was presented with the Brakebills entrance exam, working its way forward to explain how she got the way that she is. She has many more hardships, a much more developed personality and story, and the more interesting side of the magical developments. That was really the biggest draw to me and this book.

I also liked the reappearance of several characters, plus a few new ones along the way. I had actually forgotten a few of them with the show clouding my memory and I enjoyed seeing them again! I’m also looking forward to seeing what they do with the TV show. I already know it doesn’t follow the books closely since we started getting way into Julia’s story right away and it doesn’t follow the events from THE MAGICIAN KING either, but I definitely wanted to read the books first and get a feel on the “real” story before moving on to an adaptation. Both are interesting and I’m appreciating both in their own ways!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Book-to-TV adaptations. I’ve really enjoyed seeing how the book and the TV show differ here! I really appreciated both individually and I’ve also enjoyed comparing the two.
Left Me Wanting More: Connection to the first book. I actually preferred THE MAGICIAN KING to THE MAGICIANS and I liked how much more it developed, but I wish the books really flowed together more.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

I thought this was the best book in the series. I think if you hated THE MAGICIANS, you may still not enjoy this series as much but I do think this book got better!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE MAGICIAN KING

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    ALEX VERUS

The Magicians (The Magicians #1) – Lev Grossman

The Magicians (The Magicians #1) – Lev GrossmanTitle: The Magicians (The Magicians #1) by Lev Grossman
Publishing Info: August 11, 2009 by Penguin
Source: Audible
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Date Completed: September 9, 2016
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads

Related Posts: The Magician King (The Magicians #2), The Magician's Land (The Magicians #3)

Like everyone else, precocious high school senior Quentin Coldwater assumes that magic isn't real, until he finds himself admitted to a very secretive and exclusive college of magic in upstate New York. There he indulges in joys of college-friendship, love, sex, and booze- and receives a rigorous education in modern sorcery. But magic doesn't bring the happiness and adventure Quentin thought it would. After graduation, he and his friends stumble upon a secret that sets them on a remarkable journey that may just fulfill Quentin's yearning. But their journey turns out to be darker and more dangerous than they'd imagined.

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I had heard so many things about THE MAGICIANS before starting the book and naturally with the TV show having been out for quite some time, it was on my radar, piquing my curiosity. I purchased the audiobook through an Audible sale and when I was in the particular mood for it, it was finally time start it! I wasn’t totally sure how it would go since the TV show seems to be a little different (well, now that I’ve read it) so I had an idea in my head. I was happy and surprised at how the book turned out!

I loved the vibes and overall feeling right off the bat. It’s really Harry Potter meets Narnia for adults, so the comparisons really do kind of hold up there! The Harry Potter feel is much more in the beginning with a hidden magical school and an entire society of magicians that the “regular human” world doesn’t know anything about. I didn’t think the Narnia part would hold up, aside from the fictitious childhood favorite book of the characters, but then it really came in strong in the ending! I really got hooked on the overall vibe of the book and was left wanting to immediately continue the series! There were a few things that I thought we could have done without here and there but overall, it was an engaging read and quite different than your stereotypical or trope-y fantasy/magic school story. I really loved the adult feel to it (although some moments felt somewhat unnecessary) but I always love the feel of a childhood favorite that now has an adult edge. It’s fun to see characters learning about a magical school in an older setting and how differently things are handled as older teens/new adults.

I think my one real “hang-up” about the book is that it was quite piece-y. The book was a lot of moments of the school year (to start with, adult life later on) all put together, but unlike in other books that deal with long periods of time, this book didn’t quite flow like I had hoped. BUT there were plenty of interesting and quite shocking moments that really kept me interested and these moments really did end up bringing the book together. I think the book spanned a longer period of time than I had expected and I was surprised how quickly it jumped all the way through Quentin’s entire school career. I knew this was more of an adult book but I had expected the schooling part to be more drawn out. It was actually really interesting though… sort of a line between a children’s/MG/young adult magical novel and an adult magical novel. The focus is quite different and looking back on it, I think it’s neat to see the different perspective that an overall plot arc might have with the final result on a character becoming an adult instead of just the years of school.

The ending was not what I was expecting but it was quite good! After a few lulls from random bits of time at school, I wasn’t quite sure where the book would even end up… But it really all did come together in the end! This was one of those things that I probably should have seen coming but I TOTALLY DIDN’T and it was awesome. It also definitely left things open for the next book and sure had me itching to pick up book two! I’ll have to find some time to sit down with this one since it’s a longer audio but I definitely want to continue on!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Adult Fiction. I read some adult fantasy from time to time but it’s really more high fantasy than anything. This was a fun way to branch out my adult reading into a fantasy with a bit more realism.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot connection. My one big wish for this book is that it had flowed a bit more. Everything was sequential but it really felt choppy and I wished things had felt more cohesive.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

Even if you don’t read a lot of adult, I think this could be a really good crossover for YA fans. The magical school really helps bring in fans of Harry Potter and there is that total Narnia connection later on!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE MAGICIANS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    GAMEBOARD OF THE GODS