September 20th, 2014

obvious place

The Magician's Land

This is a fly-in, fly-out review of The Magician's Land, because I have some thoughts and some feelings about it, but I really should be packing. Right Now.

Anyway, so I've read all three books now, and I actually forgot what happened in 90% of the first two when I started reading this one, so whatever.

I think Grossman does a lot of things well, which is why I keep reading these books. He's got really lovely imagery and the ability to construct really cool narrative hooks. And I always love a good blend of the "genre" and the literary, so it's always interesting to see where the two intersect throughout the narrative.

At the heart of the book, it feels like a giant exorcism of someone's Narnia feelings, and that overshadows everything else. Those parts are reasonably well-constructed, but they feel like they undermine something in the book. The mundanity, maybe. That's always what I like about these sort-of crossovers, because the literary does the mundane so well, and this series, when it does mundane, it does them spectacularly. But at the end of it, the book can't keep that up.

There's a message in here, about growing up, about giving up childish things, but it's too big, too grandiose. The metaphor swallows up the message and leaves it hollow, IMO. The ending has power, but I don't like it.

Also, there are tons of long-winded side-stories -- mostly told by one character to another -- that are in the book, sometimes to convey character information, sometimes to convey plot information. This is nitpick, because generally the long-winded side-stories are interesting or imaginative in and of themselves, but sometimes they seem like they're slammed into the book because Grossman had a lot more worldbuilding he wanted to get onto the page.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Off to do more packing.

ETA: Found my thoughts on the Magician King (tons of spoilers for that book). It's nice to see that my opinions remain mostly consistent.

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