I'm a sucker for all things magical. I read the first Harry Potter novel in one sitting, and I love the 'Pern' series by the late, great Anne McCaffrey. I'll read any fantasy novel that helps me escape from the stress of everyday living.
When I first picked up 'The Magicians' by Lev Grossman, I was ready to escape. But Mr. Grossman had a trick up his sleeve. As I read his very-adult novel, I thought it a cross between 'Less Than Zero' and 'Harry Potter'. It was snarky, it was edgy. But it had magic, and I really enjoyed it.
So, I was very eager to read the next in the series, 'The Magician King'. The main characters are now living in luxury in their beloved kingdom of Fillory, but something is lacking. Quentin, one of Fillory's kings, is getting restless...
It wasn't as edgy as the first (although it did retain a bit of snarkiness), but it was much more mystical. There is a quest. There is a hero/heroine. There are fantastical creatures.
But the quest is much more than it claims to be. It goes so much deeper; into love and being a whole person. Pursuing your dreams and becoming who you are meant to be.
The latter part of the novel tells Julia's story, a prominent figure from the first book, and her quest to find the ultimate magic. She finds much more...which plays out very well in the end.
The ending was not 'cut-and-dried'. It was unexpected, which opened the door for another story. This novel could have been so much more, and I'm hoping that Mr. Grossman will do better with the third book (please let there be a third!).
So, read 'The Magicians' and enjoy the Gen X attitude. And then read 'The Magician King' and hope the author is a bit more successful with the next.
Mr. Grossman, I'm not giving up on you. Just don't forget to include the snarkiness.