epiphany_maria (epiphany_maria) wrote,

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Book Reviews: The Magican King + The Rival Queens

The Magician King by Lev Grossman
I didn’t know Lev Grossman is the brother of the author of ‘Soon I Will Be Invincible’. In this sequel, Quentin is now one of the rulers of the wonderful magical land of Fillory. He has earnestness and people have odd fealty to him. But soon even self-serving Quentin and his awesome insensitivity realises something is wrong in the world of magic. Meanwhile flashback chapters show how Julia went disturbingly downhill after her rejection from magic school. She went into the underground to capture the lingering spectre of the divine.

This is a very good tale about the price, absolute fear and monstrously unjust toil of magic. People have adventures in a magic land and on Earth where unsettlingly delicious things happen. People are not terribly wise and search for spiritual totems and get meagre consolation from their awesome power.

Best Lines:
“He’d rather hoped it would involve drawing unholy sigils in the sand in letters of fire ten feet high, and flinging open the portal to hell.”

“Pretty lucid for a document prepared by a guy who lived in a cave.”

“Better never to have lived, when the old gods return.”

“There will never be another chance.”

The Rival Queens: Catherine de’Medici, Her Daughter Marguerite de Valois, and the Betrayal That Ignited a Kingdom by Nancy Goldstone
This historical biography is an excellent account of the infamous Queen of France, her ill-fated unloved daughter who lived most of her life in open misery, religious wars, civil wars, assassinations, paranoia that regularly erupted in increasingly preposterous ways, battles, duels, felonious grasping lovers, executions, the discomfiture of royal marriages and violent rhetoric.

This was a time of paranoid delirium and ominous portents where being born a Princess did not entitle Marguerite to solicitous protection or stop her life from going drastically wrong. This is a story of royal husbands treating their wives in ways that cannot be justified and shows how the house of Valois squandered its credibility and plunged a country into bloody catastrophe. It is a tale of when religion was an inviolable absolute, Nostradamus made dark predictions, royal siblings ramping minor arguments up into shouting matches and murder and the evil consequences thereof. And how one woman had the grim satisfaction of being the last living member of her wretched murderous family.

Best Lines:
“Afterthought of a wife,”

“This man is the scourge of god,”

“Remained in the bedroom to observe their efforts,”

“She wore a locket stuffed with a cremated frog.”

“One is continually burning someone of the lower class.”

“He explained with characteristic incoherence.”

“Unlawful, profane, indecent sex.”

“Never did a woman who loved her husband succeed in loving his whore...For one cannot call her otherwise, although the word is horrid to us,”

“L’Escadron Volant,”

“Perhaps not the optimal operation for a devout Catholic living in the 1500s.”

“Hated him to the death.”

“Shall I never have a moment’s quiet? Must I have fresh troubles every day?”

“Would not be around to gloat at his death.”

“They suggested suspicions.”

“Everything is falling apart in ruin.”

“Deliver the court from her contagious presence.”

“You cannot be ignorant of all the evil that was said of her.”
Tags: book review, reign, the magicians, the tudors

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