By Lev Grossman
Having been thrown out of Fillory, Quentin again finds himself back on Earth and facing the eternal question of what to make of his life. Without really having a plan, he returns to Brakebills, the secret college of magic where he learned his skills, where he handily fills a gap among faculty. As some questions resolve themselves (he discovers his specialty is mending), other areas of his life are haunted by unresolved issues from the past. His father passes away, leaving him almost entirely disconnected from his distant mother. He stumbles upon his first girlfriend, Alice, in her niffin form, who threatens the school and its students in her pursuit of Quentin. Mysterious ties to Fillory appear in his life when he accepts temporary employment as a criminal after leaving Brakebills. Meanwhile, Elliot and the other rulers of Fillory face an even greater threat: the end of Fillory itself. As Quentin and his magician friends face new and untested limits of magic, pushing boundaries and trusting that they are able to do so, they also find themselves returning to things they have faced before, and come to realize that the future depends on the past.
“The Magician’s Land” by Lev Grossman is the third and final installment in the Magicians book series. As with the two books before it, this novel seamlessly continues the series in Grossman’s eloquent and engaging writing style, and again offers an entirely new and unpredictable storyline. Quentin’s character serves as an anchor throughout the series, growing and developing through each book and through the series as a whole. Grossman also expands on the backstory of some of the minor characters in this book that have previously had less attention, and brings in new characters to the novel as well, resulting in fresh perspectives on a consistent storyline. Not only does Grossman give attention to multiple characters throughout the novel, he also shows immense care and detail by doing so with minor and distinct changes in writing style. The tone of his writing reads as if someone is speaking, yet lacks the annoying vocal pauses and idiosyncrasies of conversation. The flow of characters and among characters adds to the overall thread of the story, maintaining individuality within a cohesive whole. Grossman expertly crafts the world of Brakebills, Fillory, and those connected to magic with a passion to draws in and grips the reader through to the last page.
To be honest, I was quite amazed by this book. It is thought-out to every last detail, beautifully written, and wonderfully imaginative. Not only is the writing engaging and compelling, but the growth within the characters and broader questions about the implications of magic just beg for introspection and deep conversation. I blew through the series this time around and look forward to re-reading and fully digesting each book at a slower pace sometime in the future. Well worth the read, especially this one. But you’ll have to read the whole series to understand the final novel!