Quentin is ousted from Fillory and finds himself working for money in magic’s seedy underbelly. Thus begins the conclusion of The Magicians trilogy at the start of The Magician’s Land. What starts out as a job involving some not-so-petty theft quickly turns in to another quest to save Fillory. The book itself feels very much like a quest as the trilogy so far as described quests: kind of meandering at the beginning without a lot of direction until every snaps plainly into focus and all of those seemingly pointless moments at the beginning carry new weight.
Quentin continues to be the least impressive or engaging character in this book like he was in all of the other books. While is significantly more assured and less mopey, he is still just boring. Plum, a new addition to the trilogy in this book, is much more interesting character. The only child of a wizard and a non-magical mother, she was groomed at an early age to be successful. She is clearly brilliant with her own set of emotional baggage, as all Brakebills students seem to have. I do wish that this side of her were explored more, but alas.
There is also a missed opportunity in this book with Janet. For the year and a half that book 2 encompasses, Janet was left alone in the castle. We never learn of what she does during that time. She is absent from the narrative. We finally get to learn what all she was up to in this book but only in the space of one chapter. I wish that Grossman had spent more time developing and presenting her story more.
While Grossman missed that opportunity, he absolutely landed the ending with aplomb. The ending to The Magician’s Land and thus the trilogy as a whole struck an all too important balance between sentimentality and reality. There is a harmonious blending of a happy ending with the reality of loss and change. It makes me cry every time.
When I first read these books, I devoured them without thought or criticism. They were my new Harry Potter that I had grown up with. I adored each character (including Quentin and all his moody glory), and thought that the entire series as a whole was perfect. Rereading them now, I see flaws and mistakes. The characters become a little more real and a little less perfect. In a lot of ways, these books are my Fillory and Further, and they will always have a special place on my shelf.
BINGO – SHELFIE