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The Magician's Land: A Novel
 
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The Magician's Land: A Novel [Format Kindle]

Lev Grossman
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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof***

Copyright © 2014 by Lev Grossman

Chapter 1

The letter had said to meet in a bookstore.

It wasn’t much of a night for it: early March, drizzling and cold but not quite cold enough for snow. It wasn’t much of a bookstore either. Quentin spent fifteen minutes watching it from a bus shelter at the edge of the empty parking lot, rain drumming on the plastic roof and making the asphalt shine in the streetlights. Not one of your charming, quirky bookstores, with a ginger cat on the windowsill and a shelf of rare signed first editions and an eccentric, bewhiskered proprietor behind the counter. This was just another strip-mall outpost of a struggling chain, squeezed in between a nail salon and a party City, twenty minutes outside Hackensack off the New Jersey turnpike.

Satisfied, Quentin crossed the parking lot. The enormous bearded cashier didn’t look up from his phone when the door jingled. Inside you could still hear the noise of cars on the wet road, like long strips of paper tearing, one after another. The only unexpected touch was a wire birdcage in one corner, but where you would have expected a parrot or a cockatoo inside there was a fat blue-black bird instead. That’s how un-charming this store was: it had a crow in a cage.

Quentin didn’t care. It was a bookstore, and he felt at home in bookstores, and he hadn’t had that feeling much lately. he was going to enjoy it. He pushed his way back through the racks of greeting cards and cat calendars, back to where the actual books were, his glasses steaming up and his coat dripping on the thin carpet. It didn’t matter where you were, if you were in a room full of books you were at least halfway home.

The store should have been empty, coming up on nine o’clock on a cold rainy Thursday night, but instead it was full of people. They browsed the shelves silently, each one on his or her own, slowly wandering the aisles like sleepwalkers. a jewel-faced girl with a pixie cut was reading Dante in Italian. a tall boy with large curious eyes who couldn’t have been older than sixteen was absorbed in a tom Stoppard play. a middle-aged black man with elfin cheekbones stood staring at the biographies through thick, iridescent glasses. You would almost have thought they’d come there to buy books. But Quentin knew better.

He wondered if it would be obvious, if he would know right away, or if there would be a trick to it. If they’d make him guess. he was getting to be a pretty old dog—he’d be thirty this year—but this particular game was new to him. At least it was warm inside. He took off his glasses and wiped them with a cloth. he’d just gotten them a couple of months ago, the price of a lifetime of reading fine print, and they were still an unfamiliar presence on his face: a windshield between him and the world, always slip- ping down his nose and getting smudged when he pushed them up again. When he put them back on he noticed a sharp-featured young woman, girl-next-door pretty, if you happened to live next door to a grad student in astrophysics. She was standing in a corner paging through a big, expensive architectural-looking volume. Piranesi drawings: vast shadowy vaults and cellars and prisons, haunted by great wooden engines.

Quentin knew her. Her name was plum. She felt him watching her and looked up, raising her eyebrows in mild surprise, as if to say you’re kidding—you’re in on this thing too?

He shook his head once, very slightly, and looked away, keeping his face carefully blank. Not to say no, I’m not in on this, I just come here for the novelty coffee mugs and their trenchant commentary on the little ironies of everyday life. What he meant was: let’s pretend we don’t know each other.

It was looking like he had some time to kill so he joined the browsers, scanning the spines for something to read. The Fillory books were there, of course, shelved in the young adult section, repackaged and rebranded

 

with slick new covers that made them look like supernatural romance novels. But Quentin couldn’t face them right now. Not tonight, not here. he took down a copy of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold instead and spent ten contented minutes at a checkpoint in gray 1950s Berlin.

“Attention, Bookbumblers patrons!” the cashier said over the PA, though the store was small enough that Quentin could hear his unamplified voice perfectly clearly. “Attention! Bookbumblers will be closing in five minutes! please make your final selections!”

He put the book back. an old woman in a beret that looked like she’d knitted it herself bought a copy of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and let herself out into the night. So not her. The skinny kid who’d been camped out cross-legged in the graphic novels section, reading them to rags, left without buying anything. So not him either. a tall, bluff- looking guy with Cro-Magnon hair and a face like a stump who’d been furiously studying the greeting cards, pretty clearly overthinking his decision, finally bought one. But he didn’t leave.

At nine o’clock exactly the big cashier closed the door and locked it with a final, fateful jingle, and suddenly Quentin was all nerves. He was on a carnival ride, and the safety bar had dropped, and now it was too late to get off. he took a deep breath and frowned at himself, but the nerves didn’t go away. The bird shuffled its feet in the seeds and drop- pings on the bottom of its cage and squawked once. It was a lonely kind of squawk, the kind you’d hear if you were out by yourself on a rainy moor, lost, with darkness closing in fast.

The cashier walked to the back of the store—he had to excuse himself past the guy with the cheekbones—and opened a gray metal door marked staff only.

“Through here.”

He sounded bored, like he did this every night, which for all Quentin knew he did. Now that he was standing up Quentin could see that he really was huge—six foot four or five and deep-chested. Not pumped, but with broad shoulders and that aura of slow inexorability that naturally enormous men have. his face was noticeably asymmetrical: it bulged out on one side as if he’d been slightly overinflated. He looked like a gourd.

Quentin took the last spot in line. He counted eight others, all of them looking around cautiously and taking exaggerated care not to jostle one another, as if they might explode on contact. he worked a tiny revelation charm to make sure there was nothing weird about the door—he made an OK sign with his thumb and forefinger and held it up to one eye like a monocle.

“No magic,” the cashier said. He snapped his fingers at Quentin. “Guy. hey. No spells. No magic.”

Heads turned. “Sorry?”

Quentin played dumb. Nobody called him Your Majesty anymore, but he didn’t think he was ready to answer to guy yet. He finished his inspection. It was a door and nothing more.

“Cut it out. No magic.”

Pushing his luck, Quentin turned and studied the clerk. Through the lens he could see something small shining in his pocket, a talisman that might have been related to sexual performance. The rest of him shone too, as if he were covered in phosphorescent algae. Weird.

“Sure.” he dropped his hands and the lens vanished. “No problem.” Someone rapped on the windowpane. a face appeared, indistinct through the wet glass. The cashier shook his head, but whoever it was rapped again, harder.

He sighed.

“What the shit.”

He unlocked the front door and after a whispered argument let in a man in his twenties, dripping wet, red-faced but otherwise sportscaster- handsome, wearing a windbreaker that was way too light for the weather. Quentin wondered where he’d managed to get a sunburn in March.

They all filed into the back room. It was darker than Quentin expected, and bigger too; real estate must come cheap out here on the turnpike. There were steel shelves crammed full of books flagged with fluorescent-colored stickies; a couple of desks in one corner, the walls in front of them shingled with shift schedules and taped-up New Yorker cartoons; stacks of cardboard shipping boxes; a busted couch; a busted armchair; a mini-fridge—it must have doubled as the break room. Half of it was just wasted space. The back wall was a steel shutter that opened onto a loading dock.

A handful of other people were coming in through another door in the left-hand wall, looking just as wary. Quentin could see another bookstore behind them, a nicer one, with old lamps and oriental rugs. Probably a ginger cat too. He didn’t need magic to know that it wasn’t a door at all but a portal to somewhere else, some arbitrary distance away. There—he caught a telltale hairline seam of green light along one edge. The only thing behind that wall in reality was party City.

Who were they all? Quentin had heard rumors about dog-and-pony shows like this before, gray-market cattle calls, work for hire, but he’d never seen one himself. He definitely never thought he’d go to one, not in a million years. He never thought it would come to that. Stuff like this was for people on the fringes of the magical world, people scrabbling to get in, or who’d lost their footing somehow and slipped out of the bright warm center of things, all the way out to the cold margins of the real world. All the way out to a strip mall in Hackensack in the rain. Things like this weren’t for people like him.

Except now they were. It had come to that. He was one of them, these were his people. Six months ago he’d been a king in a magic land, an- other world, but that was all over. He’d been kicked out of Fillory, and he’d been kicked around a fair bit since then, and now he was just an- other striver, trying to scramble back in, up the slippery slope, back toward the light and the warmth.

Plum and the man with the iridescent glasses sat on the couch. Red Face took the busted armchair. Pixie Cut and the teenage Stoppard reader sat on boxes. The rest of them stood—there were twelve, thirteen, fourteen in all. The cashier shut the gray door behind them, cutting off the last of the noise from the outside world, and snuffed out the portal. he’d brought the birdcage with him; now he placed it on top of a cardboard box and opened it to let the crow out. It looked around, shaking first one foot then the other the way birds do. “Thank you all for coming,” it said. “I will be brief.”

 

That was unexpected. Judging from the ripple of surprise that ran through the room, he wasn’t the only one. You didn’t see a lot of talking birds on Earth, that was more of a Fillorian thing.

“I’m looking for an object,” the bird said. “I will need help taking it from its present owners.”

The bird’s glossy feathers shone darkly in the glow of the hanging lights. Its voice echoed in the half-empty stockroom. It was a soft, mild-mannered voice, not hoarse at all like you’d expect from a crow. It sounded incongruously human—however it was producing speech, it had nothing to do with its actual vocal apparatus. But that was magic for you.

“So stealing,” an Indian guy said. Not like it bothered him, he just wanted clarification. He was older than Quentin, forty maybe, balding and wearing an unbelievably bad multicolored wool sweater.

“Theft,” the bird said. “Yes.”

“Stealing back, or stealing?” “What is the difference?”

“I would merely like to know whether we are the bad guys or the good guys. Which of you has a rightful claim on the object?”

The bird cocked its head thoughtfully.

“Neither party has an entirely valid claim,” it said. “But if it makes a difference our claim is superior to theirs.”

That seemed to satisfy the Indian guy, though Quentin wondered if he would have had a problem either way.

“Who are you?” somebody called out. The bird ignored that. “What is the object?” Plum asked.

“You’ll be told after you’ve accepted the job.”

“Where is it?” Quentin asked.

The bird shifted its weight back and forth.

“It is in the northeastern United States of america.” It half spread its wings in what might have been a bird-shrug.

“So you don’t know,” Quentin said. “So finding it is part of the job.”

The bird didn’t deny it. Pixie Cut scooched forward, which wasn’t easy on the broken-backed couch, especially in a skirt that short. Her hair was black with purple highlights, and Quentin noticed a couple of blue star tattoos peeking out of her sleeves, the kind you got in a safe house. He wondered how many more she had underneath. He wondered what she’d done to end up here.

“So we’re finding and we’re stealing and I’m guessing probably doing some fighting in between. What kind of resistance are you expecting?”

“Can you be more specific?”

“Security, how many people, who are they, how scary. Is that specific enough?”

“Yes. We are expecting two.”

“Two magicians?”

“Two magicians, plus some civilian staff. Nothing out of the ordinary, as far as I know.”

“As far as you know!” The red-faced man guffawed loudly. he seemed on further examination to be a little insane.

“I do know that they have been able to place an incorporate bond on the object. The bond will have to be broken, obviously.”

A stunned silence followed this statement, then somebody made an exasperated noise. The tall man who’d been shopping for greeting cards snorted as if to say can you believe this shit?

“Those are supposed to be unbreakable,” plum said coolly. “You’re wasting our time!” Iridescent Glasses said.

“An incorporate bond has never been broken,” the bird said, not at all bothered—or were its feathers just slightly ruffled? “But we believe that it is theoretically possible, with the right skills and the right resources. We have all the skills we need in this room.”

“What about the resources?” pixie Cut asked. “The resources can be obtained.”

“So that’s also part of the job,” Quentin said. He ticked them off on his fingers. “Obtaining the resources, finding the object, breaking the bond, taking the object, dealing with the current owners. Correct?”

“Yes. Payment is two million dollars each, cash or gold. A hundred thousand tonight, the rest once we have the object. Make your decisions now. Bear in mind that if you say no you will find yourself unable to discuss tonight’s meeting with anyone else.”

Satisfied that it had made its case, the bird fluttered up to perch on top of its cage.

It was more than Quentin had expected. There were probably easier and safer ways in this world for a magician to earn two million dollars, but there weren’t many that were this quick, or that were right in front of him. Even magicians needed money sometimes, and this was one of those times. He had to get back into the swim of things. He had work to do.

“If you’re not interested, please leave now,” the cashier said. evidently He was the bird’s lieutenant. He might have been in his mid-twenties. His black beard covered his chin and neck like brambles.

The Cro-Magnon guy stood up.

“Good luck.” he turned out to have a thick German accent. “You gonna need this, huh?”

He skimmed the greeting card into the middle of the room and left.

It landed face up: get well soon. Nobody picked it up.

About a third of the room shuffled out with him, off in search of other pitches and better offers. Maybe this wasn’t the only show in town tonight. But it was the only one Quentin knew about, and he didn’t leave. He watched Plum, and Plum watched him. She didn’t leave either. They were in the same boat—she must be scrabbling too.

The red-faced guy stood against the wall by the door.

“See ya!” he said to each person as they passed him. “Buh-bye!” When everybody who was going to leave had left the cashier closed the

door again. They were down to eight: Quentin, Plum, pixie, red Face, Iridescent Glasses, the teenager, the Indian guy, and a long-faced woman in a flowing dress with a lock of white hair over her forehead; the last two had come in through the other door. The room felt even quieter than it had before, and strangely empty.

“Are you from Fillory?” Quentin asked the bird.

That got some appreciative laughter, though he wasn’t joking, and the bird didn’t laugh. It didn’t answer him either. Quentin couldn’t read its face; like all birds, it had only one expression.

“Before we go any further each of you must pass a simple test of magical strength and skill,” the bird said. “Lionel here”—it meant the cashier—“is an expert in probability magic. Each of you will play a hand of cards with him. If you beat him you will have passed the test.” There were some disgruntled noises at this new revelation, followed by another round of discreet mutual scoping-out. From the reaction

Quentin gathered that this wasn’t standard practice.

“What’s the game?” Plum asked.

“The game is push.”

“You must be joking,” Iridescent Glasses said, disgustedly. “You really don’t know anything, do you?”

Lionel had produced a pack of cards and was shuffling and bridging it fluently, without looking, his face blank.

“I know what I require,” the bird said stiffly. “I know that I am offering a great deal of money for it.”

“Well, I didn’t come here to play games.” The man stood up.

“Well why the fuck did you come here?” pixie asked brightly. “You may leave at any time,” the bird said.

“Maybe I will.”

he walked to the door, pausing with his hand on the knob, as if he were expecting somebody to stop him. Nobody did. The door shut after him.

Quentin watched Lionel shuffle. The man obviously knew how to handle a deck; the cards leapt around obligingly in his large hands, neatly and cleanly, the way they did for a pro. He thought about the entrance exam he’d taken to get into Brakebills, what was it, thirteen years ago now? He hadn’t been too proud to take a test then. He sure as hell wasn’t now.

And he used to be a bit of a pro at this himself. Cards were stage magic, close-up magic. This was where he started out.

“All right,” Quentin said. he got up, flexing his fingers. “Let’s do it.”

he dragged a desk chair over noisily and sat down opposite Lionel. As a courtesy Lionel offered him the deck. Quentin took it.

He stuck to a basic shuffle, trying not to look too slick. The cards were stiff but not brand new. They had the usual industry-standard anti-manipulation charms on them, nothing he hadn’t seen before. It felt good to have them in his hands. He was back on familiar ground. Without being obvious about it, he got a look at a few face cards and put them where they wouldn’t go to waste. It had been a while, a long while, but this was a game he knew something about. Back in the day push had been a major pastime among the physical Kids.

It was a childishly simple game. Push was a lot like War—high card wins—with some silly added twists to break ties (toss cards into a hat; once you get five in, score it like a poker hand; etc.). But the rules weren’t the point; the point of push was to cheat. There was a lot of strange magic in cards: a shuffled deck wasn’t a fixed thing, it was a roiling cloud of possibilities, and nothing was ever certain till the cards were actually played. It was like a box with a whole herd of Schrödinger’s cats in it. With a little magical know-how you could alter the order in which your cards came out; with a little more you could guess what your opponent was going to play before she played it; with a bit more you could play cards that by all the laws of probability rightfully belonged to your opponent, or in the discard pile, or in some other deck entirely.

Quentin handed back the cards, and the game began.

They started slow, trading off low cards, easy tricks, both holding serve. Quentin counted cards automatically, though there was a limit to how much good it could do—when magicians played the cards had a way of changing sides, and cards you thought were safely deceased and out of play had a way of coming back to life. He’d been curious what caliber of talent got involved in these kinds of operations, and he was revising his estimates sharply upward. It was obvious he wasn’t going to overwhelm Lionel with brute force.

Quentin wondered where he’d trained. Brakebills, probably, same as

he had; there was a precise, formal quality to his magic that you didn’t see coming out of the safe houses. Though there was something else too: it had a cold, sour, alien tang to it—Quentin could almost taste it. he wondered if Lionel was quite as human as he looked.

There were twenty-six tricks in a hand of push, and halfway through neither side had established an advantage. But on the fourteenth trick Quentin overreached—he burned some of his strength to force a king to the top of his deck, only to waste it on a deuce from Lionel. The mismatch left him off balance, and he lost the next three tricks in a row. He clawed back two more by stealing cards from the discard pile, but the preliminaries were over. From here on out it was going to be a dogfight.

The room narrowed to just the table. It had been a while since Quentin had seen his competitive spirit, but it was rousing itself from its long slumber. He wasn’t going to lose this thing. That wasn’t going to happen. He bore down. He could feel Lionel probing, trying to shove cards around within the unplayed deck, and he shoved back. They blew all four aces in as many tricks, all-out, hammer and tongs. For kicks Quentin split his concentration and used a simple spell to twitch the sex amulet out of Lionel’s pocket and onto the floor. But if that distracted Lionel he didn’t show it.

Probability fields began to fluctuate crazily around them—invisible, but you could see secondary effects from them in the form of minor but very unlikely chance occurrences. Their hair and clothes stirred in impalpable breezes. A card tossed to one side might land on its edge and balance there, or spin in place on one corner. A mist formed above the table, and a single flake of snow sifted down out of it. The onlookers backed away a few steps. Quentin beat a jack of hearts with the king, then lost the next trick with the exact same cards reversed. He played a deuce—and Lionel swore under his breath when he realized he was somehow holding the extra card with the rules of poker on it.

Reality was softening and melting in the heat of the game. On the second-to-last trick Lionel played the queen of spades, and Quentin frowned—did her face look the slightest bit like Julia’s? Either way there was no such thing as a one-eyed queen, let alone one with a bird on her shoulder. He spent his last king against it, or he thought he did: when he laid it down it had become a jack, a suicide jack at that, which again there was no such card, especially not one with white hair like his own.

Even Lionel looked surprised. Something must be twisting the cards—it was like there was some invisible third player at the table who was toying with both of them. With his next and last card it became clear that Lionel had lost all control over his hand because he turned over a queen of no known suit, a Queen of Glass. Her face was translucent cellophane, sapphire-blue. It was Alice, to the life.

“What the shit,” Lionel said, shaking his head.

What the shit was right. Quentin clung to his nerve. The sight of Alice’s face shook him, it froze his gut, but it also stiffened his resolve. It reminded him what he was doing here. He was not going to panic. In fact he was going to take advantage of this—Alice was going to help him. The essence of close-up magic is misdirection, and with Lionel distracted Quentin pulled a king of clubs out of his boot with numb fingers and slapped it down. He tried to ignore the gray suit the king wore, and the branch that was sprouting in front of his face.

It was over. Game and match. Quentin sat back and took a deep, shaky breath.

“Good,” the bird said simply. “Next.”

Lionel didn’t look happy, but he didn’t say anything either, just crouched down and collected his amulet from under the table. Quentin got up and went to stand against the wall with others, his knees weak, his heart still racing, revving past the red line.

He was happy to get out of the game with a win, but he’d thought he would. He hadn’t thought he’d see his long-lost ex-girlfriend appear on a face card. What just happened? Maybe someone here knew more about him than they should. Maybe they were trying to throw him off his game. But who? Who would bother? Nobody cared if he won or lost, not anymore. As far as he knew the only person who cared right now was Quentin.

Maybe he was doing it himself—maybe his own subconscious was

Reaching up from below and warping his spellwork. Or was it Alice herself, wherever she was, whatever she was, watching him and having a little fun? Well, let her have it. He was focused on the present, that was what mattered. he had work to do. He was getting his life back together. The past had no jurisdiction here. Not even Alice.

The red-faced guy won his game with no signs of anything out of the ordinary. So did the Indian guy. The woman with the shock of white hair went out early, biting her lip as she laid down a blatantly impossible five deuces in a row, followed by a joker, then a Go Directly to Jail! Card from MonopolyThe kid got a bye for some reason—the bird didn’t make him play at all. Plum got a bye too. Pixie passed faster than any of them, either because she was that strong or because Lionel was getting tired.

When it was all over Lionel handed the woman who’d lost a brick of hundred-dollar bills for her trouble. he handed another one to the red- faced man.

“Thank you for your time,” the bird said.

“Me?” The man stared down at the money in his hand. “But I passed!”

“Yes,” Lionel said. “But you got here late. And you seem like kind of an asshole.”

The man’s face got even redder than it already was.

“Go ahead,” Lionel said. He spread his arms. “Make a move.”

The man’s face twitched, but he wasn’t so angry or so crazy that he couldn’t read the odds.

“Fuck you!” he said.

That was his move. He slammed the door behind him.

Quentin dropped into the armchair the man had just vacated, even though it was damp from his wet windbreaker. He felt limp and wrung out. He hoped the testing was over with, he wouldn’t have trusted himself to cast anything right now. Counting him there were only five left: Quentin, Plum, Pixie, the Indian guy, and the kid.

This all seemed a hell of a lot more real than it had half an hour ago. It wasn’t too late, he could still walk away. He hadn’t seen any deal-breakers yet, but he hadn’t seen a lot to inspire confidence either. This could be his way back in, or it could be the road to somewhere even worse. He’d spent enough time already on things that went nowhere and left him with nothing. He could walk out, back into the rainy night, back into the cold and the wet.

But he didn’t. It was time to turn things around. He was going to make this work. It wasn’t like he had a lot of better offers.

“You think this is going to be enough?” Quentin asked the bird. “Just five of us?”

“Six, with Lionel. And yes. In fact I would say that it is exactly right.” “Well, don’t keep us in suspense,” Pixie said. “What’s the target?”

The bird didn’t keep them in suspense.

“The object we are looking for is a suitcase. Brown leather, average size, manufactured 1937, monogrammed RCJ. The make is Louis Vuitton.”

It actually had a pretty credible French accent. “Fancy,” she said. “What’s in it?”

“I do not know.”

“You don’t know?” It was the first time the teenage boy had spoken. “Why the hell do you want it then?”

“In order to find out.”

“Huh. What do the initials stand for?” “Rupert John Chatwin,” the bird said crisply. The kid looked confused. His lips moved.

“I don’t get it,” he said. “Wouldn’t the come last?”

“It’s a monogram, dumbass,” pixie said. “The last name goes in the middle.”

The Indian guy was rubbing his chin.

“Chatwin.” he was trying to place the name. “Chatwin. But isn’t that—?”

It sure is, Quentin thought, though he didn’t say anything. he didn’t move a muscle. It sure as hell is.

Chatwin: that name chilled him even more than the night and the rain and the bird and the cards had. By rights he should have gone the rest of his life without hearing it again. It had no claim on him anymore, and vice versa. He and the Chatwins were through.

Except it seemed that they weren’t. He’d said good-bye and buried them and mourned them—the Chatwins, Fillory, plover, Whitespire— but there must still be some last invisible unbroken strand connecting them to him. Something deeper than mourning. The wound had healed, but the scar wouldn’t fade, not quite. Quentin felt like an addict who’d just caught the faintest whiff of his drug of choice, the pure stuff, after a long time sober, and he felt his imminent relapse coming on with a mixture of despair and anticipation.

That name was a message—a hot signal flare shot up into the night, sent specifically for him, across time and space and darkness and rain, all the way from the bright warm center of the world.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Revue de presse

“Richly imagined and continually surprising. . . . The strongest book in Grossman’s series. It not only offers a satisfying conclusion to Quentin Coldwater’s quests, earthly and otherwise, but also considers complex questions about identity and selfhood as profound as they are entertaining. . . . The Magician’s Land, more than any other book in the trilogy, wrestles with the question of humanity. . . . This is a gifted writer, and his gifts are at their apex in The Magician’s Land.” 
—Edan Lepucki, The New York Times Book Review 
 
“The strength of the trilogy lies . . . in the characters, whose inner lives and frailties Grossman renders with care and empathy. . . . Quentin[’s] . . . magical journey is deeply human.”
—The New Yorker 
 
“[A] wonderful trilogy. . . . If the Narnia books were like catnip for a certain kind of kid, these books are like crack for a certain kind of adult. . . . Brakebills graduates can have a hard time adjusting to life outside, though some distract themselves by lazily meddling in world affairs (e.g., the election of 2000). Readers of Mr. Grossman’s mesmerizing trilogy might experience the same kind of withdrawal upon finishing The Magician’s Land. Short of wishing that a fourth book could suddenly appear by magic, there’s not much we can do about it.” 
—Sarah Lyall, The New York Times 
 
“Grossman makes it clear in the deepening complexity and widening scope of each volume that he understands the pleasures and perils of stories and believing in them. . . . The Magician's Land triumphantly answers the essential questions at the heart of the series, about whether magic belongs to childhood alone, whether reality trumps fantasy, even whether we have the power to shape our own lives in an indifferent universe.” 
—Gwenda Bond, The Los Angeles Times 
 
“A wholly satisfying and stirring conclusion to this weird and wonderful tale. . . . Relentlessly subversive and inventive. . . . Grossman can . . . write like a magician. . . . [He] reminds us that good writing can beguile the senses, imagination and intellect. The door at the back of the book is still there, and we can go back to those magical lands, older and wiser, eager for the re-enchantment.” 
—Keith Donohue, The Washington Post 
 
“A huge part of the pleasure of this trilogy in general and this volume in particular is that, even as we consume the story just to find out what happens to Quentin, we know that we are collaborating in our own versions of its creation, its animation. The reader gets to be a magician, too.” 
—Nancy Klingener, The Miami Herald 
 
“[A] stirring finale to Grossman’s acclaimed trilogy.”
People 
 
The Magician’s Land . . . does all the things you want in a third book: winding up everyone's stories, tying up the loose ends -- and giving you a bit more than you bargained for. . . . Starting very early in Magician's Land, Grossman kicks off a series of escalating magical battles, each more fantastic, taut, and brutal than the last, which comes to a head in the final chapters with a world-shattering Götterdämmerung scene that stands with great war at the climax of The Return of the King. At the same time, Grossman never loses sight of the idea of magic as unknowable and unsystematized, a thread of Borgesian Big Weird that culminates in a beautiful tribute to Borges himself. It's this welding together of adventure-fiction plotstuff and introspective, moody characterization that makes this book, and the trilogy it concludes, so worthy of your reading time, and your re-reading time.
—Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing 
 
“The world of Grossman's ‘Magicians’ series is arrestingly original, joyful and messy. It's so vividly rendered that it's almost disappointing to remember that it doesn't, after all, exist. The overall effect is — well, there's really only one word for it: It's magical.” 
Chicago Tribune
 
“[A] satisfying ending to the series. . . . Saying goodbye to Quentin is bittersweet, but saying goodbye to a Quentin who achieves some peace at last fills the farewell with a reassuring optimism for his future.”
The Boston Globe 
 
“An enchanting conclusion . . . to a series that references C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling while remaining refreshingly original. . . . The Magician’s Land is that rare novel that looks at what happens after the child prodigy grows up and has to get a job. . . . [It] features the return of a character sorely missed by both Quentin and readers alike, as well as Grossman’s trademark witty dialogue.”
—The Christian Science Monitor 
 
“The last (and IOHO, best) book in the hit Magicians trilogy. Savor every word.”
Cosmopolitan

“An explosive conclusion to Quentin Coldwater’s adventures.” 
Entertainment Weekly 
 
“A satisfying finale to the series, while adding depth and shading to the world. . . . Grossman tells exciting fantasy adventures, but at the same time deconstructs the fantasy, as his characters discover that even magical wish-fulfillment is no guarantee of happiness, and even a job casting spells in a magical land is still work.”
A.V. Club (A-) 
 
“When read straight through, the Magicians trilogy reveals its lovely shape. The world of the books wraps around itself, exposing most everything necessary by its conclusion, but occluding operations that we'll never need to see. There's still a series of mysteries and untold tales left unknown deep inside the books.”
—Choire Sicha, The Slate Book Review 
 
“All lovers of Lev Grossman’s first two books of The Magicians trilogy: This is the end, beautiful friend. . . . One of the lovely things about this series is watching Quentin evolve from depressed teen to clear-eyed man. If Grossman raises his kids with the same sympathy with which he parents his literary teen, he’ll be a smashing success. . . . Battle scenes are laid out with vivid, near-storyboard detail. There’s so much excitement as to make the temptation to race ahead a serious danger. . . . Grossman brings the story home on a very satisfying chord. The chorus: We are all magicians. Life, like magic, gives back only as much as you put into it. It takes hard work, it hurts, and you have to be ready to fail. But deep within us all lies the power to enchant the world.”
—Cindy Bagwell, Dallas Morning News 
 

“So you’ve torn through all the volumes of A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones), and you’re a little over the whole dystopian young-adult thing. What’s an adventure-minded reader to do for a fat beach book this August? Look no further than Lev Grossman’s Magicians trilogy.” 
—Sara Stewart, The New York Post 
 
“The very satisfying final book in [Grossman’s] trilogy. . . . This third book, at turns a heist story, a meditation on the act of creation, and an apocalyptic disaster tale, continues the adventures of main character Quentin Coldwater. It mixes genre deconstruction with psychological realism, full of self-aware figures who are cognizant of all the tropes of fantasy fiction, while at the same time working to fulfill those tropes or push against them. There are great swaths of high imagination in The Magician's Land, evocative passages that contain entire worlds. Writing, like magic, is a craft, and Grossman performs it oh so well.”
—Gilbert Cruz, NY1 
 
“In the smash trilogy’s thrilling end, Quentin is cast out of Fillory, the enchanted realm he once ruled. But he’ll risk his life (and make dangerous allies) to save the threatened world.”
US Weekly 
 
“[A] deeply satisfying finale . . . [Grossman’s] characters’ magical battles have a bravura all their own. . . . The essence of being a magician, as Quentin learns to define it, could easily serve as a thumbnail description of Grossman’s art: ‘the power to enchant the world.’”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“An absolutely brilliant fantasy filled with memorable characters—old and new—and prodigious feats of imagination. . . . Endlessly fascinating . . . Fantasy fans will rejoice at its publication.”
Booklist (starred review)
 

“[The Magicians] series taken as a whole brings new life and energy to the fantasy genre. The final volume will please fans looking for action, emotion, and, ultimately, closure.”
Library Journal
 
“An elegantly written third act to Quentin’s bildungsroman. . . . Fans of the trilogy will be pleased.”
Publishers Weekly
 

“If you haven’t read the first two books in Grossman’s Magicians trilogy, buy them immediately and set aside a weekend to read them straight through before you turn to The Magician’s Land. The series, which follows a group of—you guessed it—magicians through the emotional foibles of young adulthood has been called ‘Harry Potter for adults.’ But it’s way more complex than that. Grossman hones in on the particularly brutal business of being young, and then adds layer upon layer of literary allusion, creating works that are both homages to fantasy’s past and glimpses at its future.”
—The New Republic
 
“Sink your mobile devices into the nearest wishing well and duct-tape your front door against gnomes, pollsters, and other distractions. The Magician’s Land is beckoning, and demands your full attention. Lev Grossman proves again that the costs and consolations of creation—both of Fillory and of this conclusion to his trilogy—are mighty forces. Quentin Coldwater, Grossman's Orpheus and his Abraham, his Yahweh and his Puck, enchants as few other magicians can, or dare.”
—Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and Egg & Spoon
 
“Lev Grossman has conjured a rare creature: a trilogy that simply gets better and better as it goes along. The Magician's Land is sumptuous and surprising yet deliciously familiar, a glass of rich red wine left out for a hungry ghost. Literary perfection for those of us who grew up testing the structural integrity of the backs of wardrobes.”
—Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus
 
The Magician's Land is a triumphant climax to the best fantasy trilogy of the decade.”
—Charles Stross
 
“Poignant and messy, fearsome and beautiful—like a good magic spell, the final book in this trilogy is more than the sum of its parts. Also, damn. Just some of the best magic I have read, ever.”
—Maggie Stiefvater

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1485 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 402 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0670015679
  • Editeur : Viking Adult (5 août 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00G3L19CI
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°32.289 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great even if a bit of a rush ending 20 octobre 2014
Par Pinhas
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
(Sorry for the poor english; foreign language to me)
On the story side: lot of answers, suprises ; i like it when i'm unable to guess what's going to happen in the next sentence!
On the literary side: even though english is not my main language, i appreciate the quality of Lev Grossman's writing.

One negative point: the ending felt a bit rushed.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5  414 commentaires
62 internautes sur 73 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 In the Disappointed Minority 9 août 2014
Par Jack Donathan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I must agree with an earlier 3-star reviewer that I was not as enraptured with The Magician's Land as I had hoped to be--or as many other readers seem to be. I didn't buy the caper plot that animates the first third of the novel, and I really didn't buy the end-of-the-world scenario that drives the latter half: didn't we just go through that, in The Magician King?? (Grossman permits a clear-headed hippogriff--or was it a pegasus?--to mutter as much, but we flail on.) Any sort of backstory or explanation for the apocalypse--and Grossman had excelled at these, on the fly, in the earlier books--is missing; he seems to have decided that the trilogy needed a big flash finish, so here it is, the end of the world, Filloragnarok. The writing degrades the closer the novel gets to its conclusion. Old characters from other books pop up for meaningless cameos.

I was also disappointed that two of the possibilities I thought Grossman had so carefully set up in The Magician King--the transformation of the Neitherlands and the Far Side of Fillory--were barely touched upon in The Magician's Land. Yes, there were a few gaspable plot turns (cf. NYT review), and in the first half a few of the haunting set pieces that are the hallmark of Grossman's best writing: a segmented secret passage that includes dislocations in time and space; the excursion to Antarctica. We get a sliver of insight into Janet that we hadn't had before. And the object of the caper--that particular Fillorian MacGuffin--is worth it, even if the caper itself makes little narrative sense.

Something else's that's missing: the sense of psychological depth that the development of Julia's story (not to mention her distinctive narrative voice) lent The Magician King. Plum, the principal new character, adds next to nothing to the story, except as a tool to work out two or three plot points. Quentin is still Quentin, and although he has matured, he's still far from the most interesting character in the room, much of the time. Quentin's attempt to work out his own Big Spell in the latter half of the book (to say more would be to spoil) simply doesn't have the psychological or narrative resonance it could or should have.

A lot happens in The Magician's Land; Grossman has certainly learned how to craft a tighter plot. However, I'm not sure "a tighter plot" serves Grossman's strengths: you can really hear the machinery crank. It's those little cul-de-sacs of beauty and strangeness that make Grossman's novels memorable to me, though--and there weren't enough of them here. After a second reading of The Magician's Land I found myself thinking there must be another, more vivid, more magical novel behind this one, not unlike the Far Side of Fillory.
17 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I'm in Heart With This Book 27 août 2014
Par Greg Polansky - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Finishing this book last night I felt sadness. Sadness because the trilogy had come to an end and my time with these characters and this land had come to an end. And that feeling of sadness is the highest compliment I could pay to this book because that means that the story truly touched me. That's rare for a book to do and speaks highly of how magnificent this story is. I think the last time I felt that feeling was when I finished Deathly Hallows back in '07.

Quentin was no longer a King of Fillory. Much like his antecedents of the Narnia books, he was no longer allowed to remain in Fillory and had to make his way in The Real World (no, not on that MTV show. Is it still even on?). But now he was back at Brakebills and was exploring what it meant to be an adult in the non-Fillory world. For those of you who would have wished for more writing about HP post his school years, then you will find much to make you happy here. Especially if you were a fan of Ocean's Eleven. And here we meet Plum and discover other old friends interacting with Quentin. The first half of the book is a crime caper on the Quentin side of things. But that's just half of the first half. The other half explores the goings on of Elliot and Janet and the rest of the Scooby Gang in Fillory. As an aside, the story of how Janet gets her new axes is one of the highlights of the book. And there we are also treated to a modern version of Narnia's 'The Last Battle'. Think about that for a moment. Let it settle in. You know what that means.

There is a certain sense of irreverence and whimsy permeating the book. There are amusing lines with wink winks to various Fantasy series's fan bases. Things like there being no female dwarfs because they don't exist. The book rewards those who are well read. Or at least culturally aware. Things like there are turtles all the way down is a neat reference to Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. Overtones of season 5 of Buffy. A reference to Yeat's 'The Second Coming'. I am sure I missed tons of things. Makes me wish there were a bibliography at the end so I could see all the things that influenced Grossman's writings. All throughout the book Grossman uses modern vernacular; this is how people actually talk.

Grossman is insightful about the human condition. He has a keen eye for the world around him. An eye that lets him suffuse his books with delights that surprise you at every twist and turn because they both enchant and cause you delve deep into possible truths. This is especially true of the Quentin chapters. And the story itself gets more wonderful and wonderful. And just when you can't stand how awesome it all is, it gets more awesome and you must continue to somehow brave through the book.

And now the book is over and the review is done. But more adventures await in other worlds.
16 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A wonderful conclusion to a trilogy that will challenge your mind and engross you in its story 5 août 2014
Par Monica Mileti - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
This review was originally posted on Avid Reviews: www.avidfantasyreviews.wordpress.com

Grossman’s Magicians trilogy is far different than any other work of modern fantasy I have come across. Grossman’s novels are an intellectual journey into the disillusionment that occurs during the journey to adulthood, and much of the fantasy elements of his novels occur simply to help prove this point to the reader. The first book in particular has a very depressing tone, and is incredibly anticlimactic in comparison to most modern fantasy. I have always admired Grossman as a writer, and respected how deeply thought provoking his novels are, but I have always been a bit disappointed that they were lacking in escapism. Despite some seriously cool magical elements, the first two books in the Magicians trilogy seemed more of a dissertation on disillusionment than fantasy fiction.

After having finally read the concluding installment in the Magicians trilogy, I have truly fallen in love with Grossman’s work. Magicians Land ties the whole series together, and awards the reader with an exemplary modern fantasy. It is not only an extremely intelligent novel, but also an exciting and meaningful story with an intensely emotional plotline. Magicians Land preserves that tiny part of childhood that resides in all lovers of fantasy, and it presents itself to the reader in a novel that is extremely hard to put down.

Magicians Land is the conclusion to Quentin Coldwater’s story, and it starts where The Magician King, the second book in the series, left off. Quentin has been kicked out of Fillory, the magical land he once ruled as a king. For lack of anything better to do, Quentin returns to Brakebills, the place where his magical journey began, as a teacher. Everything seems to be going well for Quentin until he tries to save a student named Plum from one of the ghosts of his past. Suddenly Quentin and Plum (who has a dark secret of her own) are embarking on a journey that will ensure that Quentin faces his past head on. Meanwhile, the friends Quentin left in Fillory are facing their biggest crisis yet: Fillory is dying, and for good this time. As the fate of Earth and Fillory collide, Quentin realizes that all roads lead back to Fillory, and he will have to try and save it one final time.

One of the biggest improvements in this installment of the Magicians trilogy is the addition of a plot with a purpose. The plot lines of the first two novels often seemed aimless, and it is not until this final novel that I really became invested in both the characters and the plot. Quentin was always an extremely well developed character, but not always a very likeable one. Finally Quentin’s complexity makes a turn for the better, and he becomes a protagonist that the reader will truly admire.

I found the ending to this book to be moving, fitting, and fantastic. It is the perfect end to Quentin’s journey, and it made me go back and analyze the other two books in a different light. Fans of the first two books in the Magicians trilogy will most certainly be satisfied with the series’ conclusion, and even those readers that had issues with the first two novels will finally have a novel that satisfies them both intellectually and engagingly. I would recommend this series as a whole to anyone with a love for fantasy that also has a need for a novel to be mentally stimulating. This is not a series that should be read for pure entertainment value, but rather for its seriously fascinating magic and its captivating commentary on the human condition.

I would rate this novel a 9/10.

I received an advance reading copy of this novel from Goodreads and the publisher.
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Great, but not as great as it could have been 16 août 2014
Par Jackson Kuo - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Spoilers of course...

I'm going to start with a few things that really left an impression. The novel starts with a game called Push that really got me excited. Finally, after Quentin perfected his magic at the end of book 1 and after the minimal amount of magic in book 2, we would get to see how he matches up against other magicians. In the end, he wins of course, but only because of some interference. In fact, he probably would have lost without it. Which brings me to the main subject: power curves. At the end of book 1, Quentin managed to do feats of magics on the level of Mayakovsky. Hell, he even managed to isolate Alice's sub-atomic particle, which at the time most of the Brakesbill faculty wasn't able to figure out. At the end of book 1, Quentin's magician powers are pretty ridiculous and then they're never mentioned again. Sure Plum sees that Quentin can rebuild a complex barrier really quickly and he also managed to break down a door by sucking out all the energy in book 2, but Quentin's power curve between books is really not consistent. Mr. Grossman even stated (can't remember where) that he had a hard time figuring out where to go after book 1. Maybe having Quentin dramatically increase his skill at the end of book 1 was a mistake, but one of the things I loved about the series was you always saw the characters progressing and growing stronger. I think in book three some of that progression excitement was missing.

I really enjoyed the way Mr. Grossman closed all the loose ends. Loose ends is a misnomer, since they weren't very loose to begin with, but the fact that the author cared enough about the minute details of his book, to be able to categories/track and merge all the different threads and story lines, really impressed me. Other series I've read, the story lines are just a mess, but in the Magician's Land all the threads were skillfully woven together.

I really enjoyed the Fillory lore. It's beautiful the way he builds layer on top of his story. Instead of just ignoring or contradicting the past, he adds richness and wholesome stories to the rest of the Chatwin family. I also enjoyed Janet's sub-story in the desert. Wonderful story telling and character progression.

Here comes some of the things that detracted from the book as a whole. The apocalypse of Fillory, immediately reminded me of the end of book 2. Yes, there needs to be some dramatic tension. Yes, it fits in with the Ram-Gods dying, but ultimately I didn't care at all that Fillory was self-imploding.

It was stated in previous reviews, but Plum lacks a personality. Sure she's afraid of Fillory coming to get her, but having that fear as a character's primary motivation left me disinterested in her.

Julia's part in the story felt a bit hollow. I understand that's shes a different person than in book two (aka divine), and getting too in depth in her new self would cause some problems in the story, but seeing that she was one of the main characters in book two, I felt her role didn't do her justice.

I feel a little deflated so I'll leave it at that. Still a great book, characters, and world. Loved the tie-in with the rest of the series, but a couple of key burrs in the novel, leaves it a four stars.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 While not my favorite book of the series, a well-written and worthy conclusion... 2 septembre 2014
Par Larry Hoffer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I'd rate this 3.5 stars.

Another series of books I really enjoyed has come to an end. As I've said many times before, I'm always hesitant to read the last book in a series, both because I don't want to be left without another book to look forward to, and I'm always nervous about how the author will conclude a series I've grown attached to.

Lev Grossman's The Magician's Land is the conclusion to his Magicians trilogy, a series that followed a group of young magicians as they discovered the magical land they had read about in children's books was actually real, and it was in need of rulers to lead it. In this final book, Quentin Coldwater has found himself banished from his beloved Fillory, where he and his best friends had ruled as kings and queens, defending the kingdom where necessary and protecting the magic within it.

"Six months ago he'd been a king in a magic land, another world, but that was all over. He'd been kicked out of Fillory, and he'd been kicked around a fair bit since then, and now he was just another striver, trying to scramble back in, up the slippery slope, back toward the light and the warmth."

Left with nowhere else to turn, Quentin returns to his alma mater, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic, to try and find a new purpose in his life. While he discovers a love for teaching, it's not long before circumstances connect him with Plum, a graduate student with tremendous talent and a mysterious history, and they both find themselves exiled from Brakebills as well. The need for money and a purpose lead the two toward a dangerous mission, which is connected to Quentin's past in more ways than they can imagine.

Meanwhile, in Fillory, Eliot and Janet, the High King and Queen, have found that all is not harmonious in the kingdom. Enemies are invading, and the magic that has kept the land protected for years on end seems to be failing. The end of Fillory is at hand, and they are desperate to find a way to stop their kingdom from being destroyed, and them along with it.

This is a book about trying to discover your true purpose, and not losing sight of the person you are, even in the face of tremendous adversity. It's also a book about trying to save the things that mean the most to you. And more than anything, this is a book about the pull of friendship, and the willingness to do whatever is necessary for those we care about.

In all of the books in this trilogy, I marveled at the immensely creative and poetic details that Grossman brought to his descriptions of Fillory and the other magical places, and the powers that the magicians have. I also loved the unique voices he gave each of his characters, how their personalities remained relatively consistent throughout, and I really enjoyed the interactions between them.

I found the concept of Fillory's imminent destruction tremendously intriguing, and felt the book really hit its stride whenever it focused on that, as well as the dynamics between the characters. More than the other two books, however, I felt as if The Magician's Land got a little more bogged down in backstory and details that threw it a bit off course. This is definitely a trilogy where you're expected to read the books in order, because Grossman doesn't provide much information about what happened previously, instead simply mentioning characters and incidents without elaborating.

In the end, while this wasn't my favorite book in the series, I did enjoy the way Grossman concluded everything. I really found Fillory to be a special, intriguing place, and so enjoyed spending time with the characters, and I'm just sorry to see everything end. If you believe in magic, and want something a bit more cerebral, definitely check out this trilogy.
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