I’ve had a hate-hate relationship with Lev Grossman since the mid-2000s. I read his novel Codex and promptly awarded it the second worse book I’d ever read prize. Thus, when the hub-bub about the Magician’s Series began, I duly ignored all the things I was told.
However, the raving persisted. I had numerous people who knew I was a big reader recommend these books to me. Finally, when the Editor purchased them I relented and finally agreed to give the first of the trilogy a go.
I admit, I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t fantastic, but it intrigued me enough to read the second one. So, I read it, and Mr. Grossman burned me again. I felt like I had been sucker punched. His “not-so terrible” first book caused me to give him just enough rope that he could hang me with the second one. I was disturbed and annoyed.
I was very unsure if I would read the final book in the series. I didn’t need more trauma, but I am a completionist. The Editor read it first. She really liked it and thought I should give it a try. She said it had a different vibe than the others.
She was correct. The last book does have a very different feel and on the whole is really good. It is the best book in the series. It’s probably one of the best finishes to a trilogy I’ve read. This is really unusual. My experience with trilogies is that the first book is wonderful, but they lose steam and disappoint in the end. So, the fact this series doesn’t graph in a linear decline but rather a heart rate monitor where the last super cedes the first is interesting and rare. But where does this leave Mr. Grossman and me?
Well I think I can say that the relationship has been promoted to love-hate and that I will consider his future novels. But I’ll probably have the Editor read them first before I dive in.
In the end, I’m glad I read the series middle book and all. I’ve also realized that some authors do deserve a second maybe even a third chance. People grow in their writing just like readers do in their reading. It’s just something to think about the next time someone recommends a book to you by an author who’s previous work wasn’t your cup of tea.