Book Review: ‘The Magician’s Land’ Is Inordinately Convoluted


Review by Ann McDonald

Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. 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.

‘The Magician’s Land’ is the third and final book in a trilogy written by Lev Grossman. I discovered early on that this particular novel is not a stand-alone tale and when the story covers magic in various ages and universes, you struggle to keep up. I have to admit that I had to work really hard to grasp the thread of this idea, which is good in and of itself. The story begins with Quentin Coldwater, a magician whose given discipline is to repair or mend the broken, a method he is not very happy with as he had hoped for flashing stars and glamor, not what he considers, the mundane.

It turns out that Fillory, a land he wanted to belong to and live in since childhood, was his at some point in time. In fact, he becomes King but is consequently ousted from his position because he upsets the God in charge and then finds himself going to a meeting that promises him a lot of money. A group of magicians gather with him and a crow tells them that the quest is the retrieval of a suitcase that has an unbreakable spell on it. A few of the magicians pass a test to prove suitability when suddenly, Quentin falls to earth and makes his way to his old high school where he secures a teaching job.

I got absolutely no sense of the school or the teachers, perhaps it was laid out in the previous books which I have not read so I did not really connect with this aspect of the story. Because of a prank, he loses his job as does Plum, the prankster whom he tried to get out of trouble. So we are back to the quest for the suitcase. Naturally, the ending is tied up nice and neatly and his discipline solves a lot of problems. This time, the magic did not work for me and I was in no way tempted to read the two previous novels. No doubt if you’re a fan this will pass the time pleasurably for you.

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Ann McDonald

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