The Magician King is the sequel to the book, The Magicians, which was for all intent and purposes, was the story of Hogwarts for older kids, who like to drink, where magic is real. The sequel takes you far from the school setting, deep inside Fillory – sort of an enchanted land like Narnia – to the edge and beyond.
“One of the pleasures of “The Magicians” was seeing the standard devices of the fantasy story (talking beasts, magical spells, swordplay) through the eyes of its pop-savvy characters, believable teenagers who read comics, used the Internet, drank to excess — and learned to their delight that they were, indeed, exactly as special as they’d always believed. Admission to Brakebills College, a school of magic in upstate New York, proved it.”
One of the storylines of The Magician King is explaining what happened to Quentin – the lead character – and Julia, Quentin’s crush from the first book. She fails to be admitted into the Breakbills College at the beginning of book one and then appears again at the very end.
This was what I consider the basic problem of second books or movies in a trilogy. It felt like the whole point of the book was to get us set up for the third and final installment. Lots of narrative spent on Julia, so you could see how she became what she became. That wasn’t my favorite part. She becomes a powerful magician on the mean streets. She is filled with depression.
I much preferred the storyline of Quentin, who is learning how to be a hero. He kept forwarding the narrative in a quest to find Horcruxes, I mean, golden keys, getting in and out of harry situations.
The main characters from the first book are ruling over Fillory, bad things are happening and the magical land needs a hero to be saved.
“Everybody wanted to be the hero of their own story,” Quentin declares, framing the novel’s theme in neat miniature. But by the end of “The Magician King,” he comes to realize that he just might not be. It’s a harsh lesson, and one that, in keeping with the preoccupations and innovations of this serious, heartfelt novel, turns the machinery of fantasy inside out.”
— The New York Times