About an hour ago, I finished reading Lev Grossman’s The Magician King. This is a sequel to his earlier novel The Magicians. It continues the adventures of Quentin Coldwater, a powerful young sorcerer. What makes this different from most other novels of the genre is that it is clearly aimed at adults. Though a magical college is a major part of the plot of the first novel, this is definitely not Harry Potter. One really glaring difference about this series to Rowling’s Harry Potter heptalogy is that the characters are painted in a much grittier light. Quentin, especially, is a difficult and hard to like person quite unlike Harry. Though this does make the characters seem more human and realistic in the long-run.
In this sequel we see Quentin, now an important magician in his own right, becoming bored with his life of ease and wishing for adventure. As the saying goes- “be careful what you wish for” and soon enough he is plunged into a series of increasingly harrowing quests. We also find out more about Julia, a friend from his teens, who in the first novel had failed to become a magician. The chapters about her past are interspersed with the present and main plot of this new novel.
Should you read it? Yes, but first read the The Magicians. Otherwise it will be difficult to understand the background of the magical world of Fillory, that is the main subject of both books, or many of the characters’ origin-stories. This is because the pace of this book is far faster than its predecessor. I also get a very strong feeling that this is not the last we’ve heard of the series either.
Finally according to Lev Grossman’s blog post, a script has been written for a TV series pilot based on the first book. Exciting news! Let’s just hope they don’t water it down too much.