August 28, 2014

Wait, is this technically YA?

Grossman, Lev. The Magician's Land. New York: Viking, 2014.

So I said I was done with young-adult fiction for a while, but luckily the characters in this final follow-up to The Magicians and The Magician King have grown up to be 30ish. Hey, me too!

Further in the lucky department, I enjoyed this installment a good bit more than the middle one (though not quite as much as the first). In The Magician's Land, main character Quentin has grown up enough to be a teacher at the magic school where he went in the first book. That doesn't quite work out, though, and he ends up going on a quest with a few random people selected by a talking crow (whatever, go with it). At the same time, his friends are back in Narnia-like Fillory and finding out that Fillory will be ending unless something dramatic is done. Plotlines converge, formerly lost characters are brought back, and the ending is satisfying. More detail than that, as I mentioned for the previous books, would just be confusing, not to mention even more improbable.

I highlighted plenty of interesting writing--always a good sign. For example: the description of cars on a wet road "like long strips of paper tearing, one after another," or when "the flaming ruins of a five-alarm sunset smoldered in the window." It was also fun to think about them (after a magical transformation) getting "the taste of bird beak out of their mouths." Plus, I enjoy learning things, such as the knowledge that (darnit!) I've been using "nonplussed" wrong this whole time (while complaining about "enormity"), not to mention what a Jefferies tube and an armillary sphere are.

Mostly, it's hard not to like a book that acknowledges the importance of books. As the lonely main character recognizes, "[i]t didn't matter where you were, if you were in a room full of books you were at least halfway home."

Rating: ***1/2

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