"This had gone badly wrong, and he should have seen it coming."
I think the thing I like best about the Magician's Trilogy is that things tend to go badly wrong. Quentin Coldwater has matured considerably from the feckless self-pitying dick of the first book and the smug directionless dick of the second. All his failures and trials have turned Quentin into a decent man who actually cares about other people, but the universe has not tired of punching Quentin in the face.
The story gets really meta in places, especially when we learn how Martin Chatwin forced his way back into the magical land of Fillory, imposing an adult perspective on a world built for children, which is exactly what the author is doing. The Narnia references have always been thick on the ground in this series, but with Magician's Land the references are so heavy that I imagine anyone who has not read the Narnia books might find it all a tad confusing. But I for one loved Narnia as a child as much as I suspect Grossman did; and as an adult I have the same ambivalent feelings about the books and their author.
Magician's Land brings the story to a strong end, but I hope Grossman will decide to revisit Brakebills and the Neitherlands some day. Coming across a new Magicians novel is like walking outside and finding Fall has arrived early when you were resigned to the heat and humidity of Summer.