I borrowed The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman from my local library. The Magician’s Land is the third and final book in Grossman’s series The Magician’s. I’m in love with Grossman’s darkly thrilling magical universe and was both excited and sad to start the last book in the series. You can read my reviews of the The Magicians and The Magician King.
Quentin Coldwater has lost everything. He has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams that he once ruled. Everything he had fought so hard for, not to mention his closest friends, is sealed away in a land Quentin may never again visit. With nothing left to lose he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him. Meanwhile, the magical barriers that keep Fillory safe are failing, and barbarians from the north have invaded. Eliot and Janet, the rulers of Fillory, embark on a final quest to save their beloved world, only to discover a situation far more complex—and far more dire—than anyone had envisioned.
Along with Plum, a brilliant young magician with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of gray magic and desperate characters. His new life takes him back to old haunts, like Antarctica and the Neitherlands, and old friends he thought were lost forever. He uncovers buried secrets and hidden evils and ultimately the key to a sorcerous masterwork, a spell that could create a magical utopia. But all roads lead back to Fillory, where Quentin must face his fears and put things right or die trying. . .
Quentin finds himself shunned from the one place he dreamed about his entire life, and he survives it. More, he becomes who he always tried to be, someone who faces his trials with courage, intelligence, and sometimes maturity. But mostly, he finds himself. Quentin has actually learned from his life experiences. I love when characters grow and become who you hope they will become.
Plum, a senior at Brakebills, finds herself in the middle of an adventure at Quentin’s side While Quentin’s journey is well on its way, her’s is just beginning. I liked their mentor/mentee relationship. It was a nice break from romantic relationships, but just as meaningful and engaging. Plus, Plum is a great character and I really liked what she brought to the series. In some ways she reminded me of me, though I’m not into pranking people. But I do always have a plan, and it usually goes about as well and Plum’s do.
While Fillory is still a huge part of the story, Quentin and Plum’s quest and their magical treasure hunt adds an element of creativity and fun to the novel that I really enjoyed. The magic in The Magician’s gniverse never gets old, or boring. Grossman adds new and interesting twists that make sense with the continuity of the universe but add delightful touches to an already entertaining world.
But my favorite aspect of this series is that it is not always light and happy, that darkness pervades not just the antagonist side, but the protagonist side as well. Quentin is not perfect, nobody is perfect. Plum suffers from depression and mood swings and the desire for something more, which leads her to make unwise choices. Magic doesn’t always help the characters, some times it just makes things harder. Real life in all its glory and sadness spills itself across the pages and that is the beauty of Grossman’s characters. Not that they have magic and spells, but that they have life, and they live it.