End of Trilogies (The End of the Journey): The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

The Magician's Land by Lev Grossman

The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

Rating: 4/5

The Magician's Land (The Magicians, #3)

Finishing a series is difficult (just ask G.R.R. Martin!)

Many a great trilogy has fallen on its face in the final pages. Take Hunger Games, Divergent or the Matched Trilogy for instance. The world building is incredible….and then you get to the last book. Everything feels rushed and a little like the author is trying to force more story out of the world, instead of the world having a story to tell.

Fortunately, Grossman’s final Fillory novel doesn’t suffer from any of these issues. We find Quentin older and more mature, ready to face the imminent demise of Fillory. But since I don’t want to give anything away, here’s one of my favorite quotes from the novel:

“ ‘This is a feeling you had, Quentin,” she said. ‘Once, a very long time ago. A rare one. This is how you felt when you were eight years old, and you opened one of the Fillory books for the first time, and you felt awe and joy and hope and longing all in one. You felt them very strongly, Quentin. You dreamed of Fillory then, with a power and innocence that not many people ever experience.’”

 All of your favorite things from the previous books are there, from the magical animals, to the great banter, to the sly references to other novels. Grossman is so in touch with the process of reading and loving books. He built a world where characters love books as much as his readers do. Where everyone speaks in little jabs and references to other books. Where the way into a magical land is through the “Neitherlands” where there are endless libraries.

This book is perfect for lovers of fantasy books, for Potterheads, Nerdfighters, and those looking for a way to pass the time until the next GoT book. It’s also great for Holden Caulfield wannabe’s and those who grew up checking wardrobes for portals to Narnia.

Focus On: Book Series

 

It’s been a while since I’ve focused on a type of book and I though now would be the perfect time to look at some series I recently read.

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

  1. Gods of Gotham and Seven for a Secret by Lyndsay Faye:  These books follow Timothy Wilde a bartender turned Star Policeman in the early days of New York City. The mysteries are so intricate and well thought out you might forget you’re reading a modern novel. (Not surprising from the author of the most amazing Sherlock Holmes recreation I have ever read)Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch
  2. Midnight Riot, Moon Over Soho, Whispers Underground and Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch: Given that I finished these four books over the course of a month, it’s fair to say that I liked them! The series follows Peter Grant, constable in the British police and new magician. It is exactly like what the J.K. Rowling mystery could’ve been if she mashed together her two worlds…only much grittier.The Testing by Joelle Charbonneu
  3. The Testing and The Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneu: Another series vaguely similar to The Hunger Games, Matched and Divergent, The Testing follows ayoung girl from the outer colonies trying to get a place at University. The tests to get in are rigorous and unlike anything you can imagine. You’ll be happy to take the nice, safeSATs after reading this one!The Magician King by Lev Grossman

     

  4. The Magicians  and The Magician King by Lev Grossman: Though I had mixed feelings about the first book (see my review here) I recently borrowed the audiobook of The Magician King from the public library. It’s fun to go back into the world of Fillory but this book suffers from the same arrogance that plagued The Magicians.

Short Reviews: Everything Else

It always happens that by the end of the year there are titles that I’ve started to review and never finished. Here are some short reviews to tide you over until I start my “Best of” posts!

 

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

What happens when you get to live your favorite book? It’s every booklover’s dream – stepping inside the pages of your favorite world and having adventures. But what if everything wasn’t as much fun as it seemed from afar?

Lev Grossman imagines a world in which a group of magicians trained at a magical boarding school find another world, one written about by a reclusive writer who imagined a group of siblings who became king of the other world.

Sounds a little familiar…right? In a rather bizarre mash-up of Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia and Catcher in the Rye, Grossman manages to create his own story. He benefits from the readers background knowledge of Narnia by building on the assumptions. This only makes what happens so much more surprising .

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake is the first in the Maddam Trilogy set in the future United States where global warming has made the earth mostly inhabitable, and civilization has moved onto compounds surrounded by heavy security. The book is told from the perspective of Jimmy, a friend of the mad genius Crake. The narration switches Jimmy in the past, and Snowman (future Jimmy). As always, Atwood has an incredible way of creating a believable world, not only in that it is so fully developed but also in that you believe it could actually exist. I won’t lie, this was a tough slog. Maybe it was because I was listening to the audiobook, but the book took a long time to draw me in. I am very happy that I stuck with it to the end though, it’s so creepy!

Life Mask by Emma Donoghue

Life Mask by Emma Donoghue

You’ve heard me rave about Donoghue before. Her short story collection The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits and her novel Room are among my most loved books. This book, however, is not. Life Mask tells the story of a group of friends in 18th century England, alternating between following different characters. As with most books that switch up viewpoints, I had clear favorites and found myself annoyed with the story lines of others. Donoghue’s Miss Farren and  Anne Damer shine but Lord Derby and King George fall a bit flat.