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The Magician King
Cover of The Magician King
The Magician King
The Magicians Series, Book 2
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Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to the New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon, The Magicians, now an original series on Syfy, from the author of the #1 bestselling The Magician's Land.
Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory—a fictional utopia—was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring.
Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off—only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they'd hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia's illicitly learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Return to Fillory in the riveting sequel to the New York Times bestseller and literary phenomenon, The Magicians, now an original series on Syfy, from the author of the #1 bestselling The Magician's Land.
Quentin Coldwater should be happy. He escaped a miserable Brooklyn childhood, matriculated at a secret college for magic, and graduated to discover that Fillory—a fictional utopia—was actually real. But even as a Fillorian king, Quentin finds little peace. His old restlessness returns, and he longs for the thrills a heroic quest can bring.
Accompanied by his oldest friend, Julia, Quentin sets off—only to somehow wind up back in the real world and not in Fillory, as they'd hoped. As the pair struggle to find their way back to their lost kingdom, Quentin is forced to rely on Julia's illicitly learned sorcery as they face a sinister threat in a world very far from the beloved fantasy novels of their youth.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Copyright © 2011 by Lev Grossman

    Quentin rode a gray horse with white socks named Dauntless. He wore black leather boots up to his knees, different-colored stockings, and a long navy-blue topcoat that was richly embroidered with seed pearls and silver thread. On his head was a platinum coronet. A glittering side-sword bumped against his leg—not the ceremonial kind, the real kind, the kind that would actually be useful in a fight. It was ten o'clock in the morning on a warm, overcast day in late August. He was everything a king of Fillory should be. He was hunting a magic rabbit.

    By King Quentin's side rode a queen: Queen Julia. Up ahead were another queen and another king, Janet and Eliot—the land of Fillory had four rulers in all. They rode along a high-arched forest path littered with yellow leaves, perfect little sprays of them that looked like they could have been cut and placed by a florist. They moved in silence, slowly, together but lost in their separate thoughts, gazing out into the green depths of the late summer woods.

    It was an easy silence. Everything was easy. Nothing was hard. The dream had become real.

    "Stop!" Eliot said, at the front.

    They stopped. Quentin's horse didn't halt when the others' did— Dauntless wandered a little out of line and halfway off the trail before he persuaded her for good and all to quit walking for a damn minute. Two years as a king of Fillory and he was still shit at horseback riding.

    "What is it?" he called.

    They all sat for another minute. There was no hurry. Dauntless snorted once in the silence: lofty horsey contempt for whatever human enterprise they thought they were pursuing.

    "Thought I saw something."

    "I'm starting to wonder," Quentin said, "if it's even possible to track a rabbit."

    "It's a hare," Eliot said. "Same difference."

    "It isn't, actually. Hares are bigger. And they don't live in burrows, they make nests in open ground."

    "Don't start," both Julia and Janet said, in unison.

    "Here's my real question," Quentin said. "If this rabbit thing really can see the future won't it know we're trying to catch it?"

    "It can see the future," Julia said softly, beside him. "It cannot change it. Did you three argue this much when you were at Brakebills?"

    She wore a sepulchral black riding dress and an actual riding hood, also black. She always wore black, like she was in mourning, even though Quentin couldn't think of anyone she should have been in mourning for. Casually, like she was calling over a waiter, Julia summoned a tiny songbird to her wrist and raised it up to her ear. It chipped, chirruped something, and she nodded back and it flew away again.

    Nobody noticed, except for Quentin. She was always giving and get- ting little secret messages from the talking animals. It was like she was on a different wireless network from the rest of them.

    "You should have let us bring Jollyby," Janet said. She yawned, holding the back of her hand against her mouth. Jollyby was Master of the Hunt at Castle Whitespire, where they all lived. He usually supervised this kind of excursion.

    "Jollyby's great," Quentin said, "but even he couldn't track a hare in the woods. Without dogs. When there's no snow."

    "Yes, but Jollyby has very well-developed calf muscles. I like looking at them. He wears those man-tights."

    "I wear man-tights," Quentin said, pretending to be affronted. Eliot snorted.

    "I imagine he's around here somewhere." Eliot was still scanning the trees....
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 25, 2011
    Grossman's stylish sequel to The Magicians smoothly fuses adventure fantasy, magic realism, and mythic fiction. It's been two years since Quentin, Eliot, Janet, and Julia have become kings and queens of the magical utopia of Fillory, but Quentin is becoming bored with his seemingly idyllic existence. Spurred on by a dark prophecy of the "Seeing Hare," "one of the Unique Beasts of Fillory," he and Julia decide to embark on a trip to a faraway island, but their voyage turns out to be more perilous than expected and they end up back on Earth. With no apparent means to return to their home at Castle Whitespire, they must somehow find a way back to Fillory and save their realm from imminent destruction. Grossman effortlessly injects innumerable pop culture and literary references (Monty Python, Harry Potter, Pink Floyd, the Lorax, the Teletubbies, etc.) into the fantastical storyline. Mainstream fiction and fantasy fans alike will find this fairy tale for adults rewarding. 10-city author tour.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from July 1, 2011

    Now a king in the magical land of Fillory, Quentin embarks on a quest to save the universe in Grossman's searing sequel to The Magicians (2009, etc.).

    It's been two years since Quentin assumed one of Fillory's four crowns along with Eliot and Janet, fellow graduates of the Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, and Quentin's high-school friend Julia, a Brakebills reject who managed to acquire magical powers on her own. Truth to tell, he's a little bored with his cushy life at the Castle Whitespire, so he seizes on the excuse of a tax-collecting mission to sail for Outer Island, rumored to be the home of "the key that winds up the world." It's an ugly surprise when he and Julia find the key and it dumps them back in their hometown on Earth. Searching for a way back to Fillory, they learn that something is very wrong in the Neitherlands, the mysterious embarkation point that leads to all other worlds, and that the key they found is one of seven required to fend off an apocalypse. Interspersed chapters flash back to Julia's dark adventures before she reunited with Quentin. She discovered a network of people sharing magical knowledge outside the approved Brakebills framework, and her prodigious skills eventually earned her entrance into an elite circle of brilliant, self-taught magicians seeking "an advance so radical it will take us into another league...we think there's more to magic than what we've seen so far." Indeed there is: The ancient forces recklessly summoned by Julia and her friends provoke a spectacular magical battle, a terrifying transformation for Julia and the loss of everything Quentin has ever wanted. Echoes from The Chronicles of Narnia, in particular The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, continue to reverberate, but Grossman's psychologically complex characters and grim reckoning with tragic sacrifice far surpass anything in C.S. Lewis' pat Christian allegory.

    Fabulous fantasy spiked with bitter adult wisdom—not to be missed.

    (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • Library Journal

    May 1, 2011

    If Time'book critic Grossman's The Magicians was Harry Potter with a darker edge, then this sequel sounds like "The Chronicles of Narnia" way updated. Quentin and his friends now rule as the kings and queens of Fillory, and it's getting dull. So he and Julia board a magical sailing ship to sojourn to edge of the kingdom--and end up back at Quentin's parents' home in Chesterton, MA. That's horrifying enough, but they're suddenly in danger, and Julia's weird black magic comes in handy. Since The Magicians was a New York Times best seller and New Yorker Best Book of the Year--and a mind-stretchingly fun read--you might want to consider multiples. With a ten-city tour.

    Copyright 2011 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    August 1, 2011
    Here's the sequel to Grossman's best-selling adult fantasy The Magicians (2009). Once upon a time there was a king of Fillory named Quentin, who was bored, bored, bored. The sovereign remedy for this malaise, he decides, is an adventure that will lead to the discovery of a golden key that winds up the world. Ah, but if one key is good, seven are better! And so the adventure becomes a quest. In the meantime, the reader is given the lengthy backstory of Queen Juliacall her the witch queen. This requires a great number of flashbacks, which is fine except that they retard the forward momentum of the plot. And, through it all, Quentin is proving more hapless than heroic. As in The Magicians, there is as much of the arch here as in the Arc de Triomphe, and the irony is as thick as frosting on a wedding cake. And, goodness, do all these goings-on require such a surfeit of Anglo-Saxon vulgarisms? Ah, well, no matter. Fans of The Magicians will find this sequel a feast and will be delighted that a jaw-dropping denouement surely promises a third volume to come.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2011, American Library Association.)

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The Magicians Series, Book 2
Lev Grossman
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