I would say that I enjoyed this installment only slightly less than The Magicians.
I've seen quite a few reviewers say the last two books in this series made up for how little they enjoyed the first, but having read The Magician King I honestly don't understand that statement.
The storytelling is somewhat more focused on a "quest" if you will, but for me this book read like a seamless continuation of the first.
Grossman's narration is still dark & cynical.
Characters are still assholes.
Expectations are still being turned on their heads.
Personally I think an idea like this one is genius.
Quentin & the gang are the exact opposite of what we want from typical heroes & heroines. They are relatable in the worst way, because they personify the parts of ourselves that we turn a blind eye to.
The story examines how we can simultaneously know everything & nothing about ourselves & who we are. It's both a criticism & an endorsement of the "happy ending" we've come to respect so much in our stories.
It's kind of dreadful to read a tale like this that is both depressing & beautiful at the same time. But it appealed to the dreadful parts of me I suppose.
I know this story isn't going to speak to everyone, and I think it's easy to get bogged down in the smaller details before the larger picture comes into view, but its message to me is loud & clear.