I’ve been thinking about starting a public blog for some time. I don’t know exactly what it’ll be for, nor my posting routine, but I may as well begin with what I’ve got, which is a herd of 212-word reviews for each book I read in 2012. So welcome to my new blog, and an early welcome to the new year.
***May contain spoilers.***
The Magician King, by Lev Grossman
After The Magicians, which I devoured in one sitting in a bookstore. Grossman’s characters are cripplingly intelligent, driven by ferocious appetites of every variety. As in the first book, we follow these neurotic young magic users as they wrestle with power, discipline, passion, and sacrifice.
Don’t be fooled by the “Harry Potter for grownups” marketing schtick. While surely many readers, including me, love both, there are few parallels besides the general concept of a secret magic world coexisting with our own. In tone, character, plot, style – even in the nature of the magic – Grossman and Rowling write in separate arenas. Rather, the series works for overachieving, nerdy 20-somethings like Ender’s Game did when they were overachieving, nerdy middle schoolers.
This novel felt more frenetic than its predecessor; the characters are constantly wrenched between locations. While the book doesn’t suffer from sequel fatigue, there are two narratives and I preferred one. Grossman’s excellent at articulating obsessions and the bizarre ways we appease them. Since Quentin rarely knows what’s happening or what he wants, his story is less compelling. Julia, who ravages herself and everything around her as she hurtles onward, was more gripping. Overall, the book flows well, kept me engaged, invented neat stuff, and struck poignant chords. I recommend it.