I really enjoyed The Magicians, but this one didn’t really do it for me. I’m not sure what it was. It seemed to drag and jump about and left red herrings (Janet, The Order, Penny). Grossman used too many words, I think, and that diluted the potential punch of the story. There were some parts that were clearly supposed to be really poignant, but they were obscured by so much internal monologue on the part of the characters that I just didn’t feel the impact. I expected to be bludgeoned (emotionally speaking) and instead got whacked with a foam mallet.
“Quentin had always felt that way but now he felt this way. It pained him to feel this way. Frankly, he felt pissed. But, that’s what he signed up for…” That kind of thing. That’s not a direct quote, by the way, just my paraphrasing. Grossman’s writing isn’t that bad (it’s not bad at all, really…it’s just not as awesome as it was in the first book), but that’s kind of the feeling I got while reading.
I don’t mean for this to be a negative review, and there were parts I enjoyed. It’s possible, too, that I picked this one up too soon after Gaiman’s American Gods and Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, both of which dealt with similar issues of mortals interacting with gods and attaining “god” status themselves. Maybe if I’d read this one first, it would have held a little more oomph for me. As it was, though, I’m just kind of glad to be done with it.
Now I need to take it back to the library so Lev Grossman’s author photo on the book jacket stops looking at me reproachfully. I’m sorry! I just didn’t really like it! I don’t like Curtis Sittenfeld’s books either, if that’s any consolation.