Tina Bennett at Janklow and Nesbit has closed on a sequel to Lev Grossman’s The Magicians (Viking, Aug. 2009). Molly Stern at Viking (who edited The Magicians) bought North American rights to The Magician King. The new book picks up with protagonist Quentin Coldwater five years after the original—at the end of The Magicians Coldwater is 23—when he and his friends have become royalty in the fantasy world of Fillory. Coldwater, who is dealing with the challenges of being a member of the ruling class, embarks on a dark quest in the novel, which Bennett called “Voyage of the Dawn Treader [book 5 in the Chronicles of Narnia] as rewritten by Raymond Chandler.” Viking is aiming for a fall 2011 release.
The Magicians was a bi-polar book caught in a tug-of-war between Harry Potter and Holden Caulfield – one part self-deprecating coming-of-age-story, one part caught-in-a-magic-school – and had a similarly mixed reception. Critics seemed to either love it or hate it. I fell firmly into the ‘love it’ camp, naming it my favourite book published in 2009. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the sequel.
What is disconcerting, though, is the seeming shift in The Magician King to the more fantastical, an element of the first novel that even lovers of the book admitted was mediocre compared the earlier portions. It will be interesting to see if Grossman can address some of these criticisms now that he is giving readers more than just a brief peek at the land of Fillory.