Th stirring conclusion to the Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman is presented in The Magician’s Land, the final book in the trilogy. As a warning, this is the end of a series, so if you have not read the previous books, this review might not be for you.
The third book picks up pretty much where the second leaves off: sad Quentin in cool displacement, having been cast out of Fillory and unceremoniously dumped back on Earth. Slightly broken emotionally and having nowhere else to turn, Quentin returns to Brakebills where he takes a position as a teacher and throws himself into slightly arcane study. Meanwhile, Janet and Eliot worry about Fillory, which faces its most difficult and dire dilemma yet.
The book cycles between three points of view: Quentin and his various occupations; Janet, Eliot, Josh, and Poppy in Fillory; and a new character named Plum, a student in her final year at Brakebills. I found the story itself thrilling. As usual, Grossman delivers action, danger, and snappy quips in his distinctive and engaging style. I’ve been a convert to this series from day one. I feel like the Magicians Trilogy tells a story of magic, magic schools, and magical worlds in as realistic a form possible. The way he structures magic just makes everything seem so plausible. It is delightful.
And then there is Quentin, our hero. I’ve always liked him, even at his most self-centered and priggish. If anything I found Quentin relatable: overachieving and lost. I know a lot of people haven’t always enjoyed Quentin’s personality, particularly in the first book, but I feel like the conclusion is a testament to how much he’s grown as a character. He lost a lot over the course of the series: Alice, among other friends, Fillory, and a lot of himself. And The Magician’s Land isn’t done with him yet; there is still yet more to lose, but also more to gain. By the third book, Quentin is nearing thirty. He is a more mature Quentin, with more wounds (emotional and physical) and more clarity. He is a better magician and also a better human, I would argue.
The final book reads as a story of redemption for Quentin, his friends, and Fillory. Grossman introduces a fascinating new story line, but also brings a lot of things back. As a finale, it does a very nice job of tying up a lot of loose ends and answer the questions readers might have about past events, both on Earth and in Fillory. Some familiar faces pop up in the most unexpected places! Particularly those interested in learning more about the Chatwins will find this book fascinating. I found it a thorough and engaging read that I could not put down. It was very frustrating to have to stop reading and go work or eat dinner or do any number of daily life activities. I could not for the life of me understand why the world could not understand that I needed to just sit down and devour this book.
Though it took some finagling, I did manage to finish the book and I found its conclusion fulfilling and satisfying. Mr. Grossman should be very proud of such a solid, innovative, and fun series. I cannot wait to see what he does next.
In other news, I watched the Paper Towns movie yesterday with Neil: another Quentin in a very different story. I thought it was a very faithful adaptation of John’s book. Paper Towns is a much quieter story than The Fault in Our Stars. It isn’t as sensational and the stakes are nowhere near as high. Still, I don’t think that makes it a bad story or somehow lesser. Its message is an important one. Imagine others complexly. Don’t be afraid to live your life. Plus the casting was spot on. Nat was awesome (of course), but I think Justice Smith (Radar) stole the show. He was SO well cast. It was a fun movie. I recommend it.
Well, that’s all for now. Until next time!