For a genera largely geared towards kids, the Magician King is a rare gritty, chaotic, dark gem of magical literature. The second book of what is soon to be a trilogy, is a satisfying follow-up to the story of Quentin, a young man from Brooklyn that grows up reading a book series about a magic filled land called Fillory, only to discover that, not only does magic exist, so does the Kingdom of Fillory.
This novel picks up 10 years after the first one began, where Quentin is now a King, a magician, and suffering from a serious case of ennui. And this is not the tragic woe-is-me ennui of a Brooklyn hipster, where he began his journey. This is the ennui of a man who had everything, lost it, and can no longer find joy or meaning in his rulership.
So he gambles it all on the chance to be a hero. But a part of him is still the selfish and cocky 17 year old acolyte taking the right risks for the wrong reasons, and completely ignoring the consequences of his actions.
And then there’s Julia. The witch-queen magic school reject who toyed with men to gain power and knowledge only to lose the human part of her soul in the process.
Plus dragons, portals, and a universe to save. An easy, fun read. Mild swearing and lewd material, parental discretion and all of that, but if you grew up at Hogwarts, this is where you’d go for your masters. Definitely pick up the Magicians first, but if you don’t mind reading out of order, TMK is enjoyable and understandable as a standalone. Pick up your copy at Cloud and Leaf.