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The Tombs of Atuan by Urslua K. Leguin

The Tombs of Atuan (original 1971; edition 1979)

by Urslua K. Leguin

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5,51683788 (3.99)166
Title:The Tombs of Atuan
Authors:Urslua K. Leguin
Info:Bantam (1979), Paperback
Collections:Your library

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The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin (1971)


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English (78)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Japanese (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (83)
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
Tenar was chosen from birth to be the Priestess for the Nameless Ones. Only she may walk through the perpetually dark labyrinths that hold great treasure. But when she finds a wizard stumbling around in the dark, her very beliefs are tested.

I didn't like this as much as the first book because I was expecting more of Ged. Tenar was an okay character, but we never really got to know her. Not really. The first half of the book was mostly just exposing us to Tenar and this part of the world. But it wasn't that interesting.... I kept waiting for some action or for some plot.

Finally, after Ged appears things get a little more interesting. Their conversation and interaction revealed more about the world and showed us more about Ged and how he knows true names now.

It was an okay book. Just... not much plot, y'know? I didn't really like the resolution with how Tenar dealt with the other priestess. It was not climactic enough.

2.5 stars rounded up. It was decent, but not great. I would call this a sagging second book.
Recommended only for those who already read the first book. ( )
  NineLarks | Sep 15, 2014 |
I wasn’t going to keep reading this series but this one is also required for class. Tenar being the protagonist made things a bit better. Still, then Ged shows up and kinda steals the show. I spent all my critical energies for this on an essay but overall, it was just ok.
( )
  Evalangui | Aug 22, 2014 |
Newbery Honor book. Second book in the critical acclaimed Earthsea Cycle. Author lives in Portland, Oregon. ( )
  root.katy | Jun 9, 2014 |
I like that this story was not Ged's. Book one of this trilogy was very much about Ged/Sparrowhawk, and while he plays a very important part in this, the second book of the series, it's not his story. I really liked that. It gave a wider view of the world and diversity is good. This is not a plot-centric story, it's very character-based, and I liked that too. It wasn't perfect, but the things that niggled at my brain in a bad way were far outnumbered by the things I enjoyed. ( )
  RhondaParrish | May 9, 2014 |
The Tombs of Atuan is the second book in Le Guin's Earthsea trilogy and is a quieter, bleaker book with no grand adventure. In fact, the connection between the two books only becomes obvious about halfway through.

Tenar, a 6-year-old girl, is believed to be the reincarnation of Arha, priestess (The Eaten One) of the Nameless Ones, gods who are worshiped in the dark, and whose wishes are only dark.

Arha learns the daily regimen and rituals required of the Priestess, and is eventually led into the dark black of the tombs themselves, and the Labyrinth. Night after night, in a place where no light is allowed, Arha learns her way around. From one place to another, she counts steps and turns and openings and delves deeper into the place only she is allowed.

But one night, Arha turns the corner into a room where there is light and discovers all is not what she thought it was. She encounters her first stranger, clearly not of her world, and a man as well. After a few days of spying on him through spy holes above ground and giving him directions to one particular room, she goes back to see this man. It is this encounter which reveals the tie between Shadowhawk from Wizard of Earthsea and Arha of the Tombs of Atuan.

Puzzled by the presence of this man, Arha returns to him taking bread and water along. He speaks to her softly and patiently, waiting for her to decide what to do with him. Finally, he reveals his true name of Ged to her and reminds her of her true name, Tenar.

He also tells her of the Ring of Erreth-Akbe, half of which she has stolen from him, hanging on a chain around his neck. The other half is supposed to be hidden in the Tombs of Atuan, and when reunited, the ring will heal the rifts in his world of Earthsea.

When Ged points out they are being spied upon, Arha moves into action and decides they must escape, because the spy, old Kossil, priestess of the Godking has been waiting for her chance at killing Arha and if they remain Kossil will kill them both.

As they make their way through the underground labyrinth and tombs, the ground begins to shake in anger as the Nameless Ones realize their sacred space has been desecrated both by light, and by a male non-believer. Ged uses his power to keep the earthquake at bay, while he and Tenar make their escape. Stopping at the top of the hill to view the wreckage, they are witness to the total implosion and destruction of all the temples and buildings dedicated to the Nameless Ones.

And so, Tenar begins her quest for self at Ged's side. They travel by foot and boat to the city of Havnor. Eventually Tenar will go to study with Ged's old teacher, Ogion.

The Tombs of Atuan made little sense to me in terms in the world of Earthsea. Why was this little girl so important? And why did I suffer through many pages of dark tomb and labyrinth investigating? What was the point of all this? It just dragged.

And then, around page 64, it began to come clear. Ged who fought his darkness in Wizard of Earthsea was sent to restore the Ring of Erreth-Akbe, but more importantly, to rescue Tenar from her dark life as Arha and lead her to a brighter place in which to discover herself. ( )
  AuntieClio | Apr 15, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 78 (next | show all)
Carol Reich (KLIATT Review, March 1995 (Vol. 29, No. 2))
Le Guin's 1970 fantasy for YAs (part two of the Earthsea Trilogy) has held up well over the decades and remains engaging. Narrative predominates throughout, but during the dialogue Inglis' voiced characters are never confusing to the listener. The three main female voices are acceptably done, the two main male voices are well done, the recording is clear, and Inglis is skilled enough to drop out of character for phrases such as "she said." Between the two of them, Le Guin and Inglis paint a vivid picture of the devious, threatening labyrinth that exists both underneath the temple and within the heart of the High Priestess whom the Wizard Ged rescues from service to the Nameless Ones. This book can stand alone. Category: Fiction Audiobooks. KLIATT Codes: JS*--Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1994, Recorded Books, 4 tapes, 5.5 hrs.
added by kthomp25 | editKLIATT, Carol Reich (Mar 1, 1995)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ursula K. Le Guinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Garraty, GailIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0689845367, Mass Market Paperback)

Often compared to Tolkien's Middle-earth or Lewis's Narnia, Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea is a stunning fantasy world that grabs quickly at our hearts, pulling us deeply into its imaginary realms. Four books (A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, and Tehanu) tell the whole Earthsea cycle--a tale about a reckless, awkward boy named Sparrowhawk who becomes a wizard's apprentice after the wizard reveals Sparrowhawk's true name. The boy comes to realize that his fate may be far more important than he ever dreamed possible. Le Guin challenges her readers to think about the power of language, how in the act of naming the world around us we actually create that world. Teens, especially, will be inspired by the way Le Guin allows her characters to evolve and grow into their own powers.

In this second book of Le Guin's Earthsea series, readers will meet Tenar, a priestess to the "Nameless Ones" who guard the catacombs of the Tombs of Atuan. Only Tenar knows the passageways of this dark labyrinth, and only she can lead the young wizard Sparrowhawk, who stumbles into its maze, to the greatest treasure of all. Will she?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:43 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Arha's isolated existence as high priestess in the tombs of Atuan is jarred by a thief who seeks a special treasure.

(summary from another edition)

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