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review 2018-03-25 00:34
Magician King
The Magician King (The Magicians #2) - Lev Grossman,Mark Bramhall

 

Going back and forth between the books in this series and the TV show has been interesting for me.  So far, I've watched season one, listened to the first book, watched season two, and listened to the second book.  After the first book, one of the things that struck me is how much more time is covered in that first book compared to the first season of the show.  More than five years pass in that book, while on the show, if I recall correctly, just one year of life at Brakebills passes.  Certain events from the second season lined up with content from the first book, and some of what happens in the second book had me thinking, "Oh, right,that scene happened on the show in season one"  Season one of the show followed both Quentin's and Julia's journeys, but in the first book, Julia mostly disappears, while the reader is in Quentin's mind.  The second book follows both characters, and some of that season-one "Julia" material corresponds to flashbacks in the second book. Those flashbacks chronicle Julie's relationship with magic. 

 

Early on in The Magician King, I was annoyed with Quentin.  He was bored with his cushy gig as one of the kings of Fillory (his co-royals being King Eliot, Queen Julia, and Queen Janet.  He was itching for a quest, and made a tax-collection trip that cost more than the amount of tax collected.  He encounters a customs agent who mentions that she'd assumed Quentin intended to go on a quest for a very special key.  That is not his intention since this is the first he ever hears of such a key.  But the next thing you know, she is telling him pursuing the key would be a terrible idea.  So I was irritated because Quentin of course decides this means he HAS TO pursue that key.  However, things do not proceed the way I expected them to, and instead there is a hefty dose of "don't go on a quest for the wrong reasons."  The right reasons for going on a quest present themselves as the story unfolds. 

 

The character development of both Quentin and Julia interests me, and I look forward to the next book in the series.  [Warning:  one of Julia's flashbacks involves a disturbing rape scene--if you've watched the first season of the show, you have an idea as to what to expect.]

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-06 21:52
Book 37/100: The Magician King by Lev Grossman
The Magician King - Lev Grossman

I found the first book in this series to be a little lackluster, but I'm glad I continued on to the second book, anyway.

Whereas "The Magicians" seemed to spend a lot of time flailing and worldbuilding and finding its way, in this book the world is richly established from the beginning. Although similar to the first book it takes a little while for the main story line to get going, it is incredibly immersive from the start. The balance of literary fiction and fantasy seemed just right, for the most part, and it was easy to sink into this world. As soon as it was finished, I wanted to return by way of the third book -- but I don't have that one readily available so it might be a while.

For those who are unsure about this series after reading the first book, I would recommend continuing. The characters, the writing, and the worldbuilding all do a lot of "growing up" in this installment, and it tackles much bigger themes than the first one as well, feeling less like a riff on fantasy that has come before and more like it has come into its own.

Despite my enjoyment, docked a star mainly because of a few sort of ishy "male narrative" scenes. [Like, why are male writers so obsessed with scenes where unassuming dudes get seduced by women in ship cabins? Seriously, I think every writer thinks he's doing something new and incredibly erotic, when this is the third such time I've encountered this trope. Also, a man attempting to write a rape scene from the female victim's perspective always feels voyeuristic and yucky to me, and there's a pretty explicit one here that didn't sit very well with me.]

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review 2017-06-03 10:04
Ein unangenehm realistisches Märchen
The Magician King. Lev Grossman - Lev Grossman

Wenn ich einen Blick auf die Liste der Menschen werfe, die Lev Grossmann interviewte, bleibt mir die Luft weg. Beispiele? Steve Jobs, Salman Rushdie, J.K. Rowling und – haltet euch fest – Johnny Cash. Ich bin sowas von neidisch. Es scheint zu stimmen, dass ein Harvard-Abschluss alle Türen öffnet. Ich finde es sympathisch, dass sich Grossman trotzdem nicht zu schade ist, Fantasy zu schreiben. „The Magician King“ ist der zweite Band seiner Trilogie „The Magicians“ und führt die Geschichte des Zauberlehrlings Quentin Coldwater weiter.

 

Fillory ist ein magisches Paradies, in dem Quentin Coldwaters Träume Realität wurden. Seit Janet, Eliot und Julia ihn aus seinem jämmerlichen Dasein auf der Erde befreiten und in das Land seiner Lieblingsromane entführten, erlebt Quentins die reinste Utopie. In Fillory ist er kein Versager, sondern ein König. Und doch… Irgendetwas fehlt. Mit den bequemen Annehmlichkeiten des Throns schlichen sich Langeweile und Monotonie in Quentins Leben. Er verzehrt sich nach einer Aufgabe, einem Abenteuer, neuen Herausforderungen. Als sich herausstellt, dass der äußerste Zipfel des Königreichs jahrelang keine Steuern zahlte, ergreift Quentin die Gelegenheit, endlich mal rauszukommen. Unterstützt von Julia stattet er ein Schiff aus und sticht in See. Auf ihrer Reise erfahren sie von einem magischen Schlüssel, der angeblich die Welt aufzieht. Quentin ist sofort Feuer und Flamme: der Schlüssel ist seine Quest! Doch dieser birgt eigene Geheimnisse und schon bald verwandelt sich Quentins heiß ersehntes Abenteuer in einen Albtraum. Sei vorsichtig mit deinen Wünschen – sie könnten wahr werden.

 

Vor kurzem wurde unter meinen geschätzten Buchblogger-Kolleg_innen diskutiert, welche Buchwelt wir gern besuchen würden. Neben dem Potter-Universum und Mittelerde wurde Narnia wohl am häufigsten genannt. Ich kann mich diesem Wunsch nicht anschließen, weil ich vermute, dass es mir dort genauso erginge wie Quentin Coldwater in Fillory, das frappierende Ähnlichkeit zu C.S. Lewis‘ magischem Reich aufweist. Ich würde mich langweilen. Was geschieht, wenn alle Abenteuer erlebt wurden, alle Bedrohungen beseitigt sind und Frieden eingekehrt ist? Irgendwann verliert selbst ein Land, das so mit Magie vollgestopft ist wie Fillory, seinen Reiz. Wird das Außergewöhnliche zur Routine, ist es Zeit, sich neuen Aufgaben zu stellen. Auf Quentin trifft das vermutlich besonders zu, da er in „The Magician King“ zwar älter, aber kaum erwachsener ist als im Vorgänger „The Magicians“. Er ist noch immer rast- und ziellos, ein Suchender, der verzweifelt nach Erfüllung lechzt. Er dachte, Fillory könnte ihm das bieten, was er auf der Erde nicht fand: eine Bestimmung. Dummerweise hat Fillory keinen Bedarf. Das Königreich regiert sich praktisch von selbst. Quentin braucht Fillory mehr als Fillory ihn und das Abenteuer, das er herbeisehnte, ist weit mehr, als er ertragen kann. In einem Schreibstil, der Direktheit und Symbolkraft bizarr vereint, zeichnet Lev Grossman erneut eine düstere, makabre Parodie auf die magischen Kindergeschichten, die unsere Bücherregale füllen und erteilt seinen Figuren harte Lektionen, um die Botschaft seines Romans zu vermitteln. Märchen sind lediglich in ihrem eigenen Rahmen märchenhaft. In der Realität sind sie Erzählungen von Verlust und Opfern. Heldenmut hat immer einen Preis; es gibt nichts umsonst. Grossman konfrontiert Quentin mit der Frage, was er bereit ist, aufzugeben, um ein Held zu sein. Ist er bereit, Fillory aufzugeben? All die Jahre glaubte Quentin, Fillory sei sein Schicksal, der einzige Ort, an dem er Ruhe und Glück finden könnte. Die Wunder der Erde waren ihm niemals gut genug. Er war blind. Erst, als ihn sein verschlungener Weg dorthin zurückführt, öffnet er die Augen und erkennt die Schönheit der Erde. Zum ersten Mal befasst er sich mit dem Gedanken, ob er auch in seiner Heimatsphäre glücklich werden könnte. Traurigerweise glaube ich, für Quentin spielt es keine Rolle, wo er sich aufhält. Zufriedenheit bleibt ihm verwehrt, weil er niemals in der Lage ist, seine wie auch immer geartete Situation zu genießen. Er will immer mehr, ohne zu wissen, was dieses „mehr“ eigentlich ist. In diesem Punkt unterscheidet er sich maßgeblich von seiner Freundin Julia, deren unheimlich spannende, tragische Geschichte in „The Magician King“ offenbart wird. Nachdem sie den Aufnahmetest am Brakebills College vermasselte, kannte sie nur ein Ziel: sie wollte die Magie. Egal wie. Ihr Ehrgeiz trieb sie an, unkonventionelle, gefährliche Pfade zu beschreiten, die unvorstellbare Opfer forderten, weit entfernt von der geordneten Ausbildung, die Quentin erhielt. Ausgerechnet Julias verwinkelte Vergangenheit erweiterte mein Verständnis des Magiesystems der Trilogie. Grossman beleuchtet die Magie aus verschiedenen Perspektiven und erklärt, dass sie nur eine geborgte Macht ist, die Menschen eigentlich nicht zusteht. Ich hoffe, dass er dieses Thema im Finale „The Magician’s Land“ detaillierter ausführt. Die Idee, Magie als zufälliges Diebesgut zu behandeln, ist einfach aufregend.

 

„The Magician King“ ist ein unangenehm realistisches Märchen. Lev Grossman zerrt all die finsteren Facetten in den Fokus, die wir niemals kennenlernen wollten. Es ist daher schwierig, im Zusammenhang mit diesem Buch über „gefallen“ zu sprechen. Gefiel es mir, die Vorstellungen und Fantasien meiner Kindheit, die von magischen Abenteuergeschichten geprägt sind, ad absurdum geführt und ins Groteske verdreht zu sehen? Selbstverständlich nicht. Doch faszinierte es mich? Zweifellos. Ihr müsst selbst entscheiden, ob ihr bereit seid, euch der bitteren Realität der Trilogie zu stellen. Solltet ihr es wagen, verspreche ich euch ein einzigartig prickelndes Leseerlebnis, das die Dimensionen eines verzauberten Kleiderschranks oder eines sprechenden Kaninchens weit hinter sich lässt. Wobei – einen sprechenden Hasen gibt es. Immerhin.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/03/lev-grossman-the-magician-king
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review 2016-12-28 06:33
The Magician King
The Magician King - Lev Grossman

TW this book has a very graphic sexual assault.

 

This book takes place a few years after The Magicians. While off on an adventure to outer Fillory, Quentin and Julia end up back in the suburbs of Massachusetts. Throughout the book we dig into how Julia ended up with the Brakebills crew and just what exactly is going on with her all while the pair are trying to get back home.

 

I liked this book a lot more than The Magicians right off the bat. I really enjoyed seeing Julia’s story and the ways that it paralleled Quentin’s even if she didn’t want to acknowledge that. I enjoyed Poppy and the Fillory characters that we meet.

 Then we had that ending and without getting into spoilers, it was super graphic and I’m not sure I feel great about the things Grossman is saying in regards to it and I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the options…I just felt beyond weird about the whole thing. I’ve heard such good things about the series so I’m continuing but I didn’t feel like I could just gloss over that point here. 

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review 2016-07-19 23:04
The Magician King (The Magicians, #2) by Lev Grossman
The Magicians and The Magician King - Lev Grossman

Quentin Coldwater has what he always wanted, he's a king of Fillory. He no longer needs to read about the Chatwins and their adventures because he is part of the story now.  Sure, it means hunting trips, staging tournaments and leading a life of excess but that's the life of a king right? The problem of getting everything you ever wanted is that it gets old fast.  Quentin decides to go on a small adventure to collect taxes from a far flung island for something to do and it leads to the quest he didn't know he wanted.  Quentin only wanted a break from the mundane role of being King but quickly finds himself on a quest to save magic altogether.  It's a clear lesson of be careful what you ask for.

I didn't like Quentin as a protagonist in The Magicians and nothing has changed. Absolutely nothing makes him happy.  He had the perfect life as King of Fillory. This was supposedly his dream and yet Quentin just had to poke the bear.  It costs him of course and he ends up back in front of his parents home with Julia and vows never to take Fillory for granted again.  That lasts about a hot New York minute because now he has to play the hero and save magic.  Quentin just has to be special even though he's a weak ineffectual asshole, who's completely wrapped up in himself.  As I said in my review of the first book, a protagonist need not be likable; however they should at least be interesting and I found that throughout The Magician King, I simply wanted Quentin to go away and never come back.

When The Magician King shifted to Julia, I actually became hopeful for this book. Women really didn't fare well in The Magicians and I naively thought that Grossman was attempting to redeem himself. Quentin can see that Julia is the shadow of her former self and his solution is for them to have some torrid affair. Yeah, he's the Magician King, so I suppose his penis is magical now.  When he and Julia get shifted back to earth, they have to depend on the skills Julia picked up as a hedgewitch.  Julia took a very different path to magic than the safe Brakebills version that Quentin did and while she's prepared to navigate earth, she wants to get away from it as fast as possible because it is fraught with too much pain.

I love the idea of Julia joining up with a group of hedgewitchs who have mental illness to finally learn not only about magic but the source of magic altogether.  Julia's quest for magic costs her even before she meets up with Murs, because she has to give up her family. By the time Julia realises that she doesn't actually need more power and has everything she needs, having created a new family with her fellow hedgewitches, it's too late to stop.  For her trouble, Julia is raped by a trickster Fox God and has her humanity ripped away from her.  We are told that the rape lasts for ten minutes and how expert the Trickster God is at rape because he kicks her legs open before penetrating Julia from behind.  But wait, there's a pay off.  When the God empties his semen into Julia, she actually receives an increase in power and it feels good.  Sure, she has to suffer the loss of that which makes her human but hey more power right.  Grossman then doubles down because losing her humanity makes it possible for Julia to become a demi Goddess of sorts - a dryad.  It's all good and the rape is forgotten because now Julia gets to babysit a tree.  What the ever loving hell.


 
I don't even have any words for this look at the bright side of rape approach that Grossman chose to employ with Julia.  It smacks of this is what you get for not knowing your limitations or place because essentially, Julia's rape is a punishment for seeking out a God/Goddess. And it is directly because of Julia's actions that the Gods take notice and decide to shut down magic altogether.  
 
Then there's Poppy, who irritates Quentin because she is smart and far more obsessed with Dragons than Fillory. Unlike Quentin, she didn't grow up reading the Fillory books repeatedly and anytime she has a different opinion than him, it's because she's Australian and not because he's an asshole. Poppy agrees to help Quentin and Julia get back to Fillory but has no plans to go there herself and when she arrives though she takes it in good stride, she has no intention of throwing away her life to remain there.  Quentin cannot wrap his mind around this fact. Why wouldn't she want to give up her studies, family and friends to sleep with this asshat and remain in a world she never wanted to enter?  I liked that Poppy knew who she was and where she was going and so of course, Grossman had to ruin it by having Poppy choose to stay behind in Fillory after magic has been saved because with Julia gone to a new world, there's a vacancy on the throne.  Why can't a female character in this series have a backbone?  Why can't she know what she wants and stick to it? Essentially, Poppy exists to help Quentin feel less guilty about what happened to Alice. 

 

 

 

 

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Source: www.fangsforthefantasy.com/2016/06/the-magician-king-magicians-2-by-lev.html
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