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Not that long after finishing Lev Grossman's The Magicians, I was back at the library and signing out the sequel volume I'd noticed in the first place, the one I'd somehow known to look for the predecessor for straight off. The Magician King goes straight from the Narnia-like "Fillory" (that much more Narnia-like in this volume, although still with the religious allegory carefully dialled back) back to "secret magic," exploring through both current action and an extended flashback (that does go somewhere significant) a sort of tossed-off idea from the first book. (It was "tossed off" to the extent that I missed it being brought in on the very last page of the first book, and had to go back to it to settle my mind on the subject...) It just might be that the two "we all know this is really an 'edgy' commentary on something else" parts of the first book mesh better in this one. At the same time, though, I might have become a bit more annoyed with the smaller pop culture references. They might give a sense of characters a little too much like "regular folks" who can't take anything seriously any more... In any case, I am wondering if I've managed to "work through" some compulsion to read works of fiction I haven't read before. It will, of course, be a while before there'll be another book in the series if there is one at all: I could see things as continuing or not continuing at the end either way.

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