I’m going to struggle with this review because I’m finding it hard to remember the novel. My computer died and it’s really hard to do anything when you don’t have access to the internet. #firstworld
But from what I do remember, The Magician’s Land is the best book in the series.
Part heist novel, part coming of age story, part redemption narrative, Land is no great departure from the tonal shifts that plagued the first two novels. But this time they feel natural, not forced. Like the writer knew where he wanted to go and not just making random things happen because it sounded fun.
Quentin is grown up now. As much as a man like Quentin can grow up. But he’s learned a lot, he’s lost a lot and he’s still looking for meaning in a world or worlds that is unforgiving. He heads back to Brakebills to teach, hoping that maybe some structure like that will help him find his calling. But his ghosts are back to haunt him, literally in the form of Alice the niffin. His one time girlfriend who died so long ago in the first novel.
At the same time, Fillory is dying and the magic is leaking out of it. Eliot, Janet, Josh, and Poppy take on a quest to try and save it.
Close to the end of the book, I was thoroughly soul-crushed. A moment that appeared to be three hundred pages in the making, a happy reunion if you will, came and punched you in the gut. I was so ready for something good, something elating. Instead I was treated to the most intense tongue lashing of a character who didn’t quite deserve it. The raw emotion wrecked me for the rest of the day. It’s been a while since I’ve been so moved by something fake.
The Magician’s Land still suffers from the same flaw the other books do. All this could be spread into about 5 books. More set up, less stumbling into things, and I think the world would be better fleshed out and enjoyable. But this third novel is clearly the culmination of everything the series has worked towards. Equally in narrative, style, and character. I’m very glad I wasn’t disappointed.
3 1/2 out of 4 stars