Book Review: The Magician King

I loved the first book, The Magicians. It was a great mixture of old fantasy tropes (primarily from Narnia) and more modern personalities. This book is mostly more of the same. Which is fine, but as I read through it, some of the stylistic flaws became more apparent.

For those of you unfamiliar with the first book, it is basically what would happen if the kids that went to Hogwarts were like today's Ivy-league set, as opposed to the more mythical types that inhabit the Harry Potter novels. There is something of an "It's all fun and games until someone gets eaten by a dragon" theme to these books, in which the main characters are basically like you and I, with fantasy-novel born pretensions of being heroes, but without any of the actual underlying strength of character to actually perform in the manner required.

So, as I said, this book is more of the same. The main strength that it relies on is the author's ability to drop in tongue-in-cheek comments, mostly via the protagonist's internal monologue, about all of the weird things happening around him. It does this quite well, and manages to be quite funny. The biggest issue that starts popping up is that in some ways, there is a legitimate bit of fantasy in here. And to be honest, that part just isn't that great. It's all very surface-y and can be a bit unsatisfying. But I still crushed through this book, and I still laughed. So, overall, worth a skim.

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