You know one of the best things about pre-ordering a book for your Kindle? If it’s done far enough in advance, you may completely forget about it and then bam! Surprise book that you really want to read!
This showed up on my Kindle 24 hours ago, when I was supposed to be heading to bed. Yeah, that plan was quickly forgotten. I made myself stop after a couple of chapters, but it was hard. I brought my Kindle to work with me, snuck in some more reading during the day, and then came home and got down to it. And that is why, having just finished this book in a fit of breathless focus and determination, I’m reviewing it RIGHT NOW.
This book is great. Really great. It’s not easy for the last book of a series to wrap up all the loose ends without seeming incredibly trite, but Grossman really managed it. He’s paced it really well, too–it moves along at a really tense clip for most of it and is just a tighter piece of work overall than even the first two books.I don’t know if it’s Grossman that lightened up or his characters after growing up a little bit, but parts of this were actually funny.
The prior book ended with Quentin getting exiled from Fillory, his hard-gained magical kingdom that he had dreamed about as a child. This book, in a refreshing twist, shows him dealing with that exile and moving on rather than slogging and pouting through numerous efforts to scrape his way back. Let’s face it, that’s all he did in book 2, and the only really interesting bits involved Julia.
Also, some of the descriptions of the different and new spells are just fucking cool. I won’t even lie, this book is just more awesome than the last one. And hey, I really liked the first two. However, the first book seemed a little whiny, the second a little melodramatic. This one, like Quentin and the other characters, is a little more grown up. A little more on the ball. And if that was Grossman’s master plan all along, he’s done a hell of a job.
A lot of plot points and seemingly minor characters from the previous books make an appearance, and not in a way that seems forced or phony. That’s probably what I liked most about this book–some of the callbacks were really quite subtle at first, and having a sudden realization of oh my GOD is that what that random thing was all about?? is definitely a fun way to experience this. Obviously reading books 1 and 2 is a bit of a prerequisite, but if you haven’t read them in a while, don’t worry. They’ll come rushing back in the greatest way as you read this one. Highly recommended!