Reviewed by Erin McKibbin

“The hero pays the price.” King Quentin, one of the four royals of the Kingdom of Fillory, learns this harsh lesson when he and Queen Julia embark upon a quest to discover why the clock-trees were strangling their own clocks, why the Unique Beasts of Fillory were killing members of the royal party, why the Neitherlands were freezing over, why the old gods were coming back to the universe, and why their former lives on Earth seemed to be tied up in this enigma. Along the way, Quentin and Julia come face to face with their own magical histories, their culpability in the world around them, and their own humanity.

Both Julia and Quentin’s stories begin on Earth. Childhood friends, of sorts, they are invited to take a very special test: the entrance exam to the secret and exclusive college of magic, Brakesbills. Quentin is accepted and embarks upon a path of magical prestige. Julia, the natural skeptic, fails the exams and is cast back into the “real world” where she is left scrambling for magical crumbs until she stumbles upon the dark world of self-help sorcery. Despite their very different paths through the world of magic, both paths ended in the magical Kingdom of Fillory where they shared regal status with their friends Eliot and Janet. Yet, despite their sacrifice and hard work, New England in the United States manages to yank Quentin and Julia back home to face the youth neither one really closed the book on.

The Magician King is the second book in the series by Lev Grossman about American magicians in the 21st Century. Dubbed the “Harry Potteresque dystopia,” Grossman’s series does create a magical world hidden from the mundane life in the U.S. but focuses on adult characters dealing with very sophisticated issues. Set against the backdrop of a fairy tale world, The Magician King will stimulate your curiosity and your desire to look within for the folly of man.

Rating: 5/5

Erin fell in love with the written word as a small child and subsequently spent most of her life happily devouring literature. She works as a freelance news, marketing, and technical writer as well as a full-time researcher/investigator in the sign industry. Erin lives just outside of Cleveland, Ohio enjoying the beauty of life with her children and grandchildren.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Viking Adult. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.