For the first time in a long time, I spent a solid day just reading and it was awesome. Thus, I managed to finish up The Magicians series. Now that I’m thinking about it, this is probably one of the first series I’ve finished for a long time. This is partly due to the fact that it is actually a finished series (I always seem to find amazing series that have no foreseeable end publication date) and I’d already committed to it by buying the books rather than loaning them from the library. It was a good series to start off 2017; fantasy with a refreshingly modern twist. The writing of all three books is casual unlike many other fantasy books trying to follow in Tolkein’s footsteps. Be warned, cuss words abound in the dialogue, giving it a distinction from potentially similar YA novels and also making the entire story seem more real and believable. The characters themselves are relatable despite being certifiable geniuses compared to us non-magical mortals. Despite their way above average intelligence, they all still seem to have the same problems that normal 20 somethings have, graduating school, learning to love or not, and just generally finding where they fit, in this world or the neighboring one. Overall, Grossman did a great job in creating and then developing a myriad of characters, each unique and each with their own journey. In this final book he once again adds more narratives so we don’t just see the world through Quentin Coldwater’s eyes. We even get a view from a completely new, next generation characters who shows us an outside perspective of how the original characters have changed and grown.
The Magician’s Land is probably my favorite of the trilogy, which is a rarity. It is not very often that I enjoy the final book in a series more than the first. In this case however, the entire cast of characters were developed in a way that they became more lovable by the end. The beginning two novels, Quentin is just insufferable and whiny at some points (see my previous post about this in the second novel). By the beginning of The Magician’s Land however, he is finally grown up more and figured out how to go through life’s ups and downs without moping around the entire time. Despite being kicked out of the magical land of Fillory, Quentin embraces his new life and does what he can to get the most out of it which is a nice, refreshing change from his normal persona. Coupled with this, we get to see him interact with a number of different and new characters rather than just him and his Fillory buddies. This new slew of characters continues to give an insight into the magical world hidden in the modern world. New magics appear and everybody’s favorite flying carpet makes an appearance. For those wondering, this Grossman is not afraid to show the violence one would expect from dangerous adventures. Throughout the series, and especially in The Magician’s Land, characters die or get maimed quite explicitly. The true realities of adventures are not washed over.
Now, the major plot twist of this book (and the series in general), is one I’m not entirely sure how I feel about yet. SPOILERS AHEAD, you’ve been warned. In The Magicians, Quentin’s girlfriend Alice perishes and its is a major turning point for Quentin and influences many of his decisions throughout the series. Thus, it is not entirely a surprise when she makes an appearance in the final novel as a Niffin, a purely, evil by nature entity. It makes sense to have her come back and wrap up her and Quentin’s relationship completely. However, rather than having Quentin completely move on, he actually manages to do the impossible and re-merges her soul and human body. A week after finishing it, I’m still not entirely sure how I feel. The romantic side of me is all for it, a fabulous perfect sounding ending to a fairy tale. Another side of me though wanted Quentin to move on and live his life without Alice. It would have been nice to see someone who finds their niche despite losing such a large part of their life. Perhaps this stems from my own experiences and figuring out how to move on or even looking into the future and hoping that if anything does happen I would still come out of it somewhat whole.
Overall, I loved this series and would definitely recommend them all to any readers, even if you aren’t necessarily into the fantasy genre. It is much different than typical high fantasy and feels more like fiction at times. The writing is done well but is still a pretty easy read and the books aren’t ridiculously long. Now, for the TV show. I started the first episode pretty soon after finishing The Magician’s Land and it is already pretty different. From the get go the plot is different although it does give a bit more intense mystery to keep viewers intrigued from the get go. For now, I’m going to withhold anymore judgement until I’ve seen at least a few more episodes. Its not a terrible show but I wasn’t super impressed with the pilot. Who knows though, maybe it’ll surprise me.
And so I go on wards. Next up is Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. As a scify novel, its a bit out of my normal realm. For this one, I’ve already seen the movies (and loved it) so not too many surprises coming up but I always love comparing how books are interpreted and portrayed.