The Magician King : The Magicians

  • by Lev Grossman
  • Narrated by Mark Bramhall
  • Series: The Magicians
  • 15 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to The New York Times best-seller and literary phenomenon of 2009: The Magicians.
The Magicians was praised as a triumph by readers and critics of both mainstream and fantasy literature. Now Grossman takes us back to Fillory, where the Brakebills graduates have fled the sorrows of the mundane world, only to face terrifying new challenges.
Quentin and his friends are now the kings and queens of Fillory, but the days and nights of royal luxury are starting to pall. After a morning hunt takes a sinister turn, Quentin and his old friend Julia charter a magical sailing ship and set out on an errand to the wild outer reaches of their kingdom. Their pleasure cruise becomes an adventure when the two are unceremoniously dumped back into the last place Quentin ever wants to see: his parent's house in Chesterton, Massachusetts. And only the black, twisted magic that Julia learned on the streets can save them.
The Magician King is a grand voyage into the dark, glittering heart of magic, an epic quest for the Harry Potter generation. It also introduces a powerful new voice, that of Julia, whose angry genius is thrilling. Once again Grossman proves that he is the modern heir to C.S. Lewis and at the cutting edge of literary fantasy.


What the Critics Say

"[A] serious, heartfelt novel [that] turns the machinery of fantasy inside out." (The New York Times Editor's Choice)
"The Magician King is a rare achievement, a book that simultaneously criticizes and celebrates our deep desire for fantasy." (The Boston Globe)
"Grossman has devised an enchanted milieu brimming with possibility, and his sly authorial voice gives it a literary lift that positions The Magician King well above the standard fantasy fare." (The New Yorker)


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A voyage in a different direction

After 2009's groundbreaking The Magicians, Lev Grossman takes his "hero" Quentin on a hero's quest, by ship, magic gate, hell, and high water. Where the first book saw classroom scenes of painstaking practice and learning, here Quentin, Eliot, Janet, and Julia are the kings and queens of Fillory and have been for a good while -- long enough for boredom to set in, and Quentin realizes that he really must find something to do. That something turns out to be a tax collection at the Outer Island, setting Quentin and Julia off on a magical, poorly understood ship East into the half-charted seas. There may or may not be a magical golden key which winds the world. There may or may not be dragons. There are prices to pay. Then there is the other half of the novel. Interleaved with the story of Quentin's hero's quest are "the Julia chapters", filling in the backstory of Julia, one of Quentin's childhood friends, left behind when Quentin passed the entrance exam for Brakebills. Slowly, Julia unravels, at the same time unraveling the mystery of what happened to her, and discovering that there is a world -- an ad-hoc, more jagged-edged world -- of magic beyond Brakebills, found in basements and squatted buildings and various other safe houses. Through these compelling, moving, memorable chapters we see the price Julia had to pay for her magic, with both storylines coming together for a stunning finish and very satisfying denouement. On the narration: Once again, Bramhall brings his at-times delicate and heartbreaking, at other times sarcastic and dry, narration back to wonderful life. Particularly memorable in The Magician King is his characterization of the whiny, bookish Benedict, as well as the greater beings encountered along the way. Throughout, he builds a magical atmosphere and tone, never saccharine, maintaining the perfect knife's edge between the fragile and the real, charting well the heady waters of a truly worthy sequel to one of the new century's great fantasies.
Read full review

- Samuel Montgomery-Blinn "I'm a voracious audiobibliophile, mainly interested in speculative fiction, with the occasional mimetic fiction or non-fiction title sneaking in."

Amazing, Once More

I am going to start this with a secondarily related commentary: What on earth are you all thinking who put spoilers in your reviews? If I wanted to read a poorly written paragraph long summation of the major plot points, I wouldn't be downloading a 15 hour+ book to listen to.

In any case, on to the actual review.

Grossman takes the capital he built in The Magicians and redoubles his efforts. The primary cast returns with some notable and brilliant additions. A broad sweeping fantasy epic which switches between two primary story lines flawlessly, The Magician King explores concepts of loss, love, sacrifice, and ultimately, what it means to be the hero of your own story.

Bramhall does a magnificent job once more- I can't imagine anyone else reading these books at this point.

I agree with what one reviewer said- there seem to be two 'camps' of people who either love or hate this series. If you are looking for spoon fed and neutered magical story time where everything works out perfectly in the end, this is really not the book for you. If you've ever made horrible decisions with the best intentions, have a realist's view of the human condition, or can understand satire and allegory, you might really love this book. Yes there is profanity and "adult concepts". This isn't a children's book...

This is a bittersweet book which plumbs the depths of its characters and, by proxy, the listener. If you can't identify with something or someone in this book, I think it's time to live a more adventurous life for a bit.

Highest marks.
Read full review

- Charles

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-09-2011
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio