I really liked this book. I kept putting it off because I liked the first one, but wasn’t impressed. This one impressed me, it was amazing. It wasn’t what I expected and that was great.
In the happenings of the first novel, it was a general mash-up of Harry Potter meets Narnia. Meaning, there is magic in the world and places like Hogworts – Brakebills in this series – exist but there is also a bunch of other universes you can travel to if you have the means – a la Narnia (read Fillory for this story). That is what the first novel explores. The Magician King, however is about being a king and the sacrifices you make for others.
We start the book in a prosperous peace time in Fillory. King Quentin is a bit bored with being king although he still likes the creature comforts it provides. One day, he decides that the kings and queens (there are four of them – again, very similar to Narnia) need to go on a quest to catch a talking hare who when caught tells you your future. Well, they don’t catch the hare, but come across a clearing in the woods with a magical wind that only affects the sole, massive tree in the clearing. Upon better judgement, Quentin lets cooler heads prevail and doesn’t jump in head first & sword swinging. Let down, but ultimately ok, Quentin and the kings and queens return to the castle.
Before you know it though, there is a small matter brought to the kings and queens that needs to be attended to. An island far out in the sea did not send their taxes. Of course they could send a delegate, but Quentin itching for an adventure, decides to go himself. One thing leads to another and boom! Real adventure begins.
Quentin and Julie (one of the queens of Fillory) get magically sent back to Earth. These two would rather die than stay on Earth where they don’t fit in. Now that they are stuck there, its a mad dash to get back to Fillory and back to ruling the kingdom. Getting back, while thinking it a long shot, seems to be the easiest part. With the help of some unlikely friends and allies they do get back, but learn that while they were on Earth only for a few days, it’s been a year in Fillory. While the other king was out searching for Quentin, he ended up taking over Quentin’s quest and had found almost all of the objects needed to complete it. Bummed, but still wanting to complete the quest he started, Quentin joins up and helps find the last remaining tokens. In doing so he finds the reason he was itching for an adventure and why Fillory needed him to go on that adventure.
I realize that this is a very basic overview of the story, so I hope it filled you in enough to want to check it out. But trust me, its not what you’d expect (or maybe it is and I have poor plot divination abilities). I will say this though, I ended this book expecting that to be it. But I should not have feared – there is a new chapter coming in October! Yay Me!