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A Wizard of Earthsea by URSULA K. LE GUIN

A Wizard of Earthsea (original 1968; edition 1994)


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Title:A Wizard of Earthsea
Info:Puffin (1994), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fantasy, young adult, adventure, Earthsea, wizards, magic, dragons, coming of age, 2012

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A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (1968)

Recently added byEmilyKM, private library, mosesmcintosh, hgoldsmith, weber93, alkaidlee, m32446, Ms.Morgan
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English (163)  Spanish (2)  French (1)  Japanese (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (168)
Showing 1-5 of 163 (next | show all)
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Le Guin's writing is beautiful -- lyrical and powerful. I love how she makes all of her words count. They are all necessary, there's no fluff or redundancy -- it's simple, natural, alive, and vivid. Her understanding of different people and cultures (her father was an anthropologist and her mother was a psychologist) enhances her ability to create imaginative, creative, and believable characters and worlds. When you step into Earthsea, you feel like you're in a real world with real people. It's deep and engrossing right from the start. And did I mention that the writing is beautiful?

This is the original boy-finds-out-he's-a-wizard-and-goes-to-wizard-school story and it's highly enjoyable for both adults and kids. And some of them are available on audiobook or Audible.com download -- Hooray! (Those created by Fantastic Audio are particularly entertaining). Read more Ursula Le Guin book reviews at Fantasy literature. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
While reading this 1968 story of a young wizard and his quest, I was reminded of many other wizard stories. Harry Potter, for one. A Wizard of Earthsea has all the requisite themes for a great wizarding story. Impatient young person with talent and no control who only wants to learn how to use the power and not the intricacies. Young person gets taken in by wizards who wish to educate them, only to find youthful recalcitrance to both patience and education. Youth creates problem with half-baked skill, and then must go on quest to resolve the problem, usually with at least one friend who unreservedly believes in them.

So it is with Ged, who comes from a poor and abusive family, but in a land in which wizards are revered and respected. Ged has the talent, but no control and no patience to learn nuanced spellcasting, despite the teaching of the local village witch and, later, an itinerant wizard who takes Ged in.

Eventually Ged winds up at wizarding school at which he meets his best and worst friend. In a matter of prideful ego, Ged and the worst friend hold a magic challenge to prove who is best. Ged unleashes a shadow demon which terrifies the other wizards in training and causes Ged to go on his quest.

Essentially getting set back a year in wizard school, Ged now understands the value of patient learning and considered spell casting. After graduation, he begins to understand that he will never be able to settle into a job until he goes on the quest to bring an end to the shadow demon stalking him.

Ged's best friend Vetch of course insists upon going with Ged, and so they set out to find the shadow demon and set things right. In the end, Ged learns that he must embrace his dark side in order to set things right.

A Wizard of Earthsea is fun and explores the themes which make any book worth reading. What is the nature of power and knowledge? What is the power of a great friend? And, most of all, who are we in all our messy gloriousness? ( )
  AuntieClio | Apr 3, 2014 |
p. 10 - But need alone is not enough to set power free: there must be knowledge.

p. 17 - Come, lad. Bid your people farewell and leave them feasting.

p. 19 - "But I haven't learned anything yet!" "Because you haven't found out what I am teaching," replied the mage...

p. 81 - Ged stood still a while, like one who has received great news, and must enlarge his spirit to receive it. It was a great gift that Vetch had given him, the knowledge of this true name.

p. 81 - Who know a man's name, holds that man's life in his keeping. Thus to Ged, who had lost faith in himself, Vetch had given that gift only a friend can give, the proof of unshaken, unshakable trust.

p. 98 - From that time forth he believed that the wise man is one who never sets himself apart from other living things, whether they have speech or not, and in later years he strove long to learn what can be learned, in silence, from the eyes of animals, the flight of birds, the great slow gestures of trees.

p. 101 - Speed he wanted, and therefore used the magewind, for he feared what was behind him more than what was before him. But as the day passed, him impatience turned from fear to a kind of glad fierceness. At least he sought this danger of his own will; and the nearer he came to it the more sure he was that, for this time at least, for this hour perhaps before his death, he was free.

p. 128 - Ged woke, and for a long time he lay, aware only that it was pleasant to wake, for he had not expected to wake again, and very pleasant to see light, the large plain light of day all about him. He felt as if he were floating on that light, or drifting in a boat on very quiet waters.

p. 131 - He had come to the tower-keep by chance, and that the chance was all design; or he had come by design and yet all the design had merely chanced to come about.

p. 144 - Anger welled up in Ged's heart, a hot rage of hate against all the cruel deathly things that tricked him, trapped him, hunted him down.

p. 189 - In the morning Ged woke beneath his friend's roof, and while he was still drowsy he felt such wellbeing as if he were in some place wholly defended from evil and harm. All day long a little of this dream-peace clung to this thoughts, and he took it, not as a good omen, but as a gift. It seemed likely to him that leaving this house he would leave the last haven he was to know, and so while the short dream lasted he would be happy in it.

p. 214 - Now when he saw his friend and heard him speak, his doubt vanished. And he began to see the truth, that Ged had neither lost nor won but, naming the shadow of his death with his own name, had made himself whole: a man: who, knowing his whole true self, cannot be used or possessed by any power other than himself, and whose life therefore is lived fore life's sake and never in the service of ruin, or pain, or hatred, or the dark. ( )
  sunybookworm | Apr 3, 2014 |
A very Jungian ode read by a horribly melodramatic Harlan Ellison. I wasn't thrilled. ( )
  Citizenjoyce | Apr 3, 2014 |
Ged was the greatest sorcerer in Earthsea, but in his youth he was the reckless Sparrowhawk. In his hunger for power and knowledge, he tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world.
  alishablaire | Mar 18, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 163 (next | show all)
The most thrilling, wise and beautiful children's novel ever, it is written in prose as taut and clean as a ship's sail. Every word is perfect, like the spells Ged has to master. It poses the deep questions about life, death, power and responsibility that children need answering.
added by melmore | editThe Guardian, Amanda Craig (Sep 24, 2003)

» Add other authors (54 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ursula K. Le Guinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ellison, HarlanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harman, DominicCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rambelli, RobertaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rambelli, RobertaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robbins, RuthIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553383043, 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 first book, A Wizard of Earthsea readers will witness Sparrowhawk's moving rite of passage--when he discovers his true name and becomes a young man. Great challenges await Sparrowhawk, including an almost deadly battle with a sinister creature, a monster that may be his own shadow.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:24 -0400)

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A boy grows to manhood while attempting to subdue the evil he unleashed on the world as an apprentice to the Master Wizard.

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