The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman – A Review
This book is the end of a trilogy focused on a secret and magical land and the story of love and thrilling exploits by the main character, Quentin Coldwater. Coldwater has been thrown out of the land where he had access as a child. Since this occurred, he is attempting to re-enter his life previous to his escape to that land. While attempting to recapture his life, he sets off on a journey and visits favorite locations of old. Coldwater is challenged to save both the real world and his fantasy land when he is given an opportunity to create a new fantasy land, but that opportunity puts both other worlds in jeopardy.
Readers felt conflicted. Some enjoyed the conclusion to the trilogy and yet were sad to see such a strong, well-written saga come to an end. Others saw situations set up in the two previous books that were not addressed or resolved in this work. This was irritating, since the resolution of the series was a disappointment compared to what they thought could have been if those threads of story were resolved.
The incorporation of religious themes into this work was not well-received, because they detract from the storyline and do not provide any reasonable explanation for being involved in the story at large. Still, the work has some strength and admirable comparisons to other works that incorporated religion, like the Narnia saga.
The way the main character progresses and matures, his astute handling of being thrown out of the magical land and his attempts to re-enter his life and get things moving forward are all admirable aspects of this storyline. The reader enjoys following Coldwater’s transition and being privy to his decisions as he is faced with the new opportunity and then tasked to save both Earth and his fantasy land when they opportunity has long-reaching negative consequences.
The trilogy as a whole was considered to have a very strong start, with the second book losing readers at certain points. However, this work as the conclusion starts out a bit slow and then finishes strong, making the entire trilogy worth reading as you get to see the ending you hoped for and expected for Quentin Coldwater, with some intriguing twists and turns before he gets there.
The book sends the reader through a wide range of emotions and keeps you guessing as you follow Coldwater on his series of adventures (and misadventures). The work does remind the reader of other similar works in the religious fiction genre. Still, Grossman manages to create characters and imagine possibilities that the other works did not quite attempt, so it is a new take on a previously done fantasy storyline. It is engaging and entertaining, and it makes the reader think and wonder since it does carry remarkable similarities to the real world.
It is to be noted there is a lot of killing in this work, so it may not be exactly what you are looking for if you hoped for light-hearted fantasy. Still, it is an engaging read and worth the time, particularly if you have been with this saga from the beginning.