October 26, 2011

Obsessives in Narnia

Grossman, Lev. The Magician King. New York: Viking, 2011.

I need to stop being lazy and get back to reviewing books the day I finish them. Over the last couple of days, as I became engrossed in other things, the bloom came off the rose a bit for me regarding The Magician King, the follow-up to The Magicians. I think that's my fault and not the book's.

As with The Magicians, Grossman describes a magical side to the world we know, alongside fantastic worlds beyond that whisper of Narnia and Middle Earth, but in a modern accent. The story pairs mentions of Segways and physics with incantations in ancient languages and talking animals. In this book, along with a Dawn-Treader-ish adventure, there's a wider view of magic, removed from the regimented teaching of the initial tale. How do magic and religion relate? The characters explore this question and experience significant consequences. And as with the previous book, it really doesn't make sense to describe more plot than that--you have to read it to get sucked in.

Somehow The Magician King just didn't grip me like the first book did. Once the freshness was off the idea, similar to the book sitting on my table for a couple of days after I finished it, the spell of the story fades a bit. Still, it's a good deal more interesting and exciting than the average book I might pick up, so I have to encourage people to read it more than I would for those. Hence the rating.

Rating: ***

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