The Magician’s Land [Lev Grossman]

Source: National Library Board, Singapore ebook

Goodreads link.

Start Date: 30 July, 2019

Finish Date: 4 August, 2019


  • This was a tiring (though not necessarily tiresome) read. It kept referring back to the plots of the two earlier books, and I had forgotten those, and eventually had to look them up on Wikipedia. The trouble is that this series is also a Narnia pastiche, or rather deconstruction / reconstruction; and I’ve forgotten a lot of Narnia detail also; which probably makes me miss out on some of the nuances.
  • I’m not thoroughly convinced that Quentin’s redemption is shown rather than told.
  • I had said about the earlier books that they were good at being compelling stories about assholes, without trying to paint assholes as heroes. This book is in the same vein, but it doesn’t do it the same way the earlier ones did, I think.
  • There are so many little hat tips to other scifi and fantasy, some within dialogue and some outside of it. In this book, it seemed to be over the top cleverness, but maybe I’m just too put off by having forgotten the first two books.
  • But the last couple of chapters, which are like a parallel to Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy, had me feeling that everybody would be better served just reading Pullman. Which is curmudgeonly, but so it goes.
  • I feel the sense of this book being tiring is also because everybody except Quentin (and perhaps Alice) comes along only for a cameo. There are too many interlocking plot pieces to fit together for them all to get backstories and closure. Though again this opinion might be different if I had read the third book in a binge along with the first two.


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