Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Five SFF books that play with magic & its aftermath

Melissa Albert is the New York Times and indie bestselling author of the Hazel Wood series (The Hazel Wood, The Night Country, Tales from the Hinterland) and a former bookseller and YA lit blogger. Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages and included in the New York Times list of Notable Children’s Books.

Albert's new novel is Our Crooked Hearts.

At Albert tagged five "books and series that, like Our Crooked Hearts, play with magic and its aftermath." One entry on the list:
The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

(Spoilers ahead, but no more than you’d read on the book’s jacket copy.)

All good portal stories of a certain type must end with their child protagonists being gently evicted from fairyland. By the time we reach this, the final book in the Magicians trilogy, we’ve watched protagonist Quentin Coldwater angst his way through magic school and into a throne in the Narnia-esque land of Fillory—before it throws him out on his ass. The Magician’s Land opens on a very humbled, deposed King Quentin lurking around a strip-mall bookstore, hoping to pick up a freelance magic job, which turns into one of my favorite fictional heists. It gets even better from there. In the earlier installments Grossman riffed magnificently on magic school narratives and quest books like The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Magician’s Land goes wider and weirder. If books one and two sprawl across the map of existing fantasy stories, this one lives off the edges, where dragons be.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue