One difficulty for authors of multi-part stories is to raise the stakes in each succeeding installment. Otherwise, the tale becomes a soap opera or so spread out that the reader no longer knows—nor cares about—much of the huge cast. Grossman delivers the goods. Each of his three Magicians books presents his protagonist with new challenges—challenges which supersede those of the previous book.
Grossman takes the reader deep into the souls of his main characters, though not quite as deep as The Magician King. If we can’t identify with all their wizardly issues, we can certainly bond with them at the human level. Many of the sly cultural references may be lost on younger readers, but these really aren’t appropriate reading for them anyway. Leavened with just enough humor.