The Magician King by Lev Grossman (2011)

March 4, 2012 at 3:28 pm (fantasy, negativity)

I returned this book to the library unfinished.

I’d checked it out because I’d heard about it somewhere, in positive terms. And it’s quite interesting, really, even if a lot of it’s a ripoff of Narnia. Excuse me, an homage to Narnia. There are in fact some pretty interesting things in the chapters I managed to get through – I like the clock-trees. The backstory section about Julia was sad and fascinating. And I liked the part about Quentin choosing to take the ship that had to be refloated and repaired first.

But. Every other paragraph somehow gave me a vibe of “Look at me! I’m a Fantasy Novel!” An artifact of the point of view character being a transplant from our real world? Perhaps. My actual diagnosis is that it’s really a Literary Novel transposed into a fantasy world, leaving mostly intact the detached, nearly antiseptic mode of nearly every modern Literary Novel that I’ve started to read and then set aside in detached, nearly antiseptic boredom.

Quentin’s ennui is, to me, indistinguishable from the ennui of the real-world corporate time-server or ambitionless yet frustrated housewife. The attempt to transplant this mode into fantasy does no favors for either genre.

So “It was ok” about sums it up. It just wasn’t ok enough for me, personally, to finish reading it.

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3 Comments

  1. Paul (@princejvstin) said,

    I was hoping this one was going to be something you could like, and laud to others, like me, but I guess, alas, not going to happen.

    I take a “DNF” rating perhaps harder than you do.

    • diaryofatextaddict said,

      If the tone hadn’t turned me off, I probably would’ve finished it, because it was *almost* interesting enough to keep me going to see what happened.

      If I hadn’t already returned it to the library I might’ve been able to be more specific about why I couldn’t stay involved with it, I guess.

  2. The Magician King (The Magicians #2) by Lev Grossman | Fantasy Books! said,

    […] The Magician King by Lev Grossman (2011) (diaryofatextaddict.wordpress.com) […]

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