The Magician King by Lev Grossman

Now a king in the magical land of Fillory, Quentin still fights with the demons of depression and purposelessness, so he goes on a quest and risks losing Fillory forever.

You have to understand what Fillory means to Quentin to truly understand his position at the outset of The Magician King. He has literally gotten everything he has ever wanted–he is a king in the magical country from the books he loved as a kid. It’s as if you grew up loving Narnia, found out it was real, and then got to go sit on those thrones at Cair Paravel.

But it’s not making Quentin any happier than he was at the beginning of The Magicians. He’s aching over the loss of Alice, his girlfriend who died hating him for cheating on her in a sordid threeway with Janet and Eliot, now also sitting on thrones in Fillory.

And he can’t figure out what’s wrong with Julia, a girl he loved in high school who was denied entrance into Brakebills, the magical college that Quentin attended, and was forced to learn magic on the streets. Something is really, really wrong with Julia, whose eyes have gone totally black and who seems disconnected from reality.

So Quentin decides to head out on a quest, and that turns out to be pretty boring, too–until he turns the wrong key and gets kicked out of Fillory, along with Julia. He can’t get back to the land he loves, and his only choice is to trust Julia, who takes him through the magical underground in the hopes of finding a way back.

I loved the character of Julia. She’s edgy and fierce, a total loose cannon. The magical underground was just as fascinating as Brakebills, and I’m desperately hoping that Lev Grossman intends to write another book. That ending can’t be the ending… it just can’t…

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