In the third book of the Magician’s series, Quentin Clearwater must find a way to survive being cast out of Fillory, the magical land he once ruled. Stuck in our world he revisits the haunts of his childhood. He returns to his parents’ house and to his school. He gets to experience that disquieting adult moment of meeting parents and teachers again and seeing them, maybe for the first time, as human beings in their own right. He gets a job and even though it is a job teaching at a hidden magic school, it still counts as a real job and evidence of his growing maturity and awareness of the greater world. His only other work experience thus far is King of an enchanted land. Growing up, facing mortality, and learning to take responsibility isn’t easy for anyone. But, for a magician it involves monsters, demonic ex-girlfriends, and, of course, the end of the world.
The Magician’s Land and its two prequels are great books that show the reader an expansive world, full of strange and wondrous beings. But, even in the midst of the most wonderful transcendent moments, you can never quite lose sight of the fragile and awkward humanity of the characters. In 2011, for The Magicans, the first book in the series, Grossman won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer presented by the World Science Fiction Society. This third book that is brilliantly conceived, a partly satirical work, with allusions to other classics in the genre, is demonstration of the author's talent and ability to enchant and captivate readers.