Maybe this was one of those times when being a hero didn’t involve looking particularly brave. It was just doing what you should.
For those playing the home game; you know that while I really enjoyed Lev Grossman’s novel The Magician’s I had a hard time getting past the fact that Fillory was basically Narnia. I enjoyed the sequel more than the first to be honest, sometimes that happens. Maybe it’s because they’ve had to time to flesh things out. Either way I feel like Mr. Grossman did a phenomenal job returning us to the loving arms of Fillory.
First, he plunges you head first into Fillory where the Kings and Queens have been ruling for some time and they are comfortable in their roles as caretakers. That is, except for Quentin, who is always looking for the next big adventure. He finds it in the form of a quest for magical keys. What they are used for? He’s not really sure. But an adventure is an adventure. A quest is a quest.
Among his companions on this trip is the ever mysterious Julia, whom we met in the first book. She had a such a juicy story and a pretty disappointing exit in the last book. What happened to Julia? Why did she remember Brakebills? Why did she so resemble a junkie last time her and Quentin met? Why is she suddenly flying outside of his office window with Janet and Eliot? Wait, how did she even know Janet and Eliot? These questions plagued me at the end of the first book and I am happy to say that all these questions and more are answered in the sequel. Grossman takes turns chapter by chapter shifting from the present and Julia’s past and her story arc is satisfying.
In this epic adventure that Quentin and Julia are on, you follow them to the Outerislands, back to Earth, back to Fillory, and round and round you go. It is easy to keep track of where they are since Grossman has a knack for describing the surroundings. You meet new endearing characters and some people, albeit pretty predictably, return. You are left wanting more at the end of this novel. What’s going to happen to Quentin? What’s going to happen to Fillory? Is Alice ever going to make a return appearance? (Something I’m sure fans were asking with the release of the final novel published last August.) I’m excited to see how this epic tale of Quentin and Fillory ends. I hope it’s as satisfying as I want it to be.