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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.



Book 37/100: The Magician King by Lev Grossman

The Magician King - Lev Grossman

I found the first book in this series to be a little lackluster, but I'm glad I continued on to the second book, anyway.

Whereas "The Magicians" seemed to spend a lot of time flailing and worldbuilding and finding its way, in this book the world is richly established from the beginning. Although similar to the first book it takes a little while for the main story line to get going, it is incredibly immersive from the start. The balance of literary fiction and fantasy seemed just right, for the most part, and it was easy to sink into this world. As soon as it was finished, I wanted to return by way of the third book -- but I don't have that one readily available so it might be a while.

For those who are unsure about this series after reading the first book, I would recommend continuing. The characters, the writing, and the worldbuilding all do a lot of "growing up" in this installment, and it tackles much bigger themes than the first one as well, feeling less like a riff on fantasy that has come before and more like it has come into its own.

Despite my enjoyment, docked a star mainly because of a few sort of ishy "male narrative" scenes. [Like, why are male writers so obsessed with scenes where unassuming dudes get seduced by women in ship cabins? Seriously, I think every writer thinks he's doing something new and incredibly erotic, when this is the third such time I've encountered this trope. Also, a man attempting to write a rape scene from the female victim's perspective always feels voyeuristic and yucky to me, and there's a pretty explicit one here that didn't sit very well with me.]