The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

The Magician's Land
The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Fillory is dying. What should Quentin care now that he’s been cast out of the magical land that felt like a real home to him.

Again this book like the previous two had two major plot lines. Unlike the first book, but like the second, the two story lines effectively intersected each other making it feel like one complete story.

There were multiple times within the novel where the writing caught my attention in a bad way. There were sentences that were constructed poorly. I had to reread them multiple times to understand them. The first read I’d be confused, in the second I’d get the gist of what was said, but the composition felt off. Then the third pass on the sentence would confirm that the sentence was composed in a way no normal person would think. It made the writing stand out when it should have faded into the background.

What Grossman does beautifully is take our expectations of what may happen and play with them. He doesn’t always make things worse. He doesn’t always make things better for the characters. Instead he takes what could end terribly or great and makes the result mundane. It’s a harsh smack of reality in a world with magic. Where there could be spectacle, Grossman smacks us back down and grounds us. Things aren’t all bad or all good. They just are.

My real problem with this and like the whole series, I never truly cared for the characters. I cared about Fillory, but not its inhabitants. As such, I don’t know how I was ever supposed to care about the characters. They moved through the story facilitating it without ever becoming someone who would stay with me once I read the last pages of the trilogy. It’s brilliant for the story, but for leaving an impression not so much.

As the end of the series, it felt fulfilling. It was a fitting end. It had to happen and granted a grand end before plummeting us back to reality. It worked for the story and Quentin.

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