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The Earthsea Quartet by Ursula K. Le Guin
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The Earthsea Quartet (1990)

by Ursula K. Le Guin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Earthsea Cycle (Omnibus 1-4)

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1,433225,251 (4.08)38
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English (21)  Finnish (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
I love this book - and it has stayed with me - I often come back to Ged's journey to himself and consider my own inner journey. A very powerful look at individuation told through fantasy. ( )
  StephBradley | Dec 11, 2014 |
My overall score is an average of my opinion on each individual book, which I will summarise:

Sadly, I found A Wizard of Earthsea a largely disappointing (2.5 stars), very stiff, dry and unexciting tale for the most part, and I must admit to feeling rather excluded given the scarcity of female characters (those that do appear do so briefly and are with just one or perhaps two exceptions nasty/evil.) The great Ged struck me as an arrogant twerp much of the time. Perhaps I'm of an age where immense wizardly power alone does not impress! I need more: I need personality, I need insight, I need (or at least appreciate) entertainment in a work of fantasy, even one aimed at a young adult readership.

I was greatly surprised at the dullness of the writing as I've read a lot of le Guin in the past and know how brilliant she can be, but this was terribly laboured apart from a period near the end where things started to flow. My reaction was so negative overall that I felt as though I couldn't be bothered to continue with the rest of the omnibus, but luckily I had a glance at other reviews and noted that people who had started with the same poor reaction felt that things improved afterwards.

As indeed they did. The Tombs of Atuan is psychologically interesting, has strong female characterisation (and a much more fascinating and likeable Ged!) and an adventure plot that is well-paced and constantly interesting. It also introduces intriguing new possibilities, making me want to keep on reading. (3.5 stars)

The Farthest Shore is probably more like the story I wish the first novel had been, although it also wanders into becalmed, uninspired waters at times. Overall, however, it advances the history and is quite enjoyable (3 stars).

The best, in my opinion, was the last: Tehanu (which I have just reread after finishing Tales From Earthsea, so I can remember how things ended before I start on The Other Wind.) Perhaps I prefer this because I'm reading it for the first time in my early 40s. It's much more adult than any of the preceding tales, and much more satisfying. The plot and the secrets contained therein are complex and well-managed: there are none on the periods of "dead air" that I experienced in some of the other books. When no great exciting, magic-y stuff is happening intricate, beautiful, moving and thoughtful observation of relationships and personal journeys kept me enthralled. Along with some of the characters (no spoilers!), I fell in love. (4.5 stars)

As a result of that wonderful finish, I sat me down and ordered Tales From Earthsea immediately, and was not disappointed. ( )
  Vivl | Sep 22, 2014 |
[This review only covers A Wizard of Earthsea. Will expand it when I continue with the series.]

Plot:
Ged grows up in a small village where it soon becomes apparent that he has special magic powers. So he is sent to grow up with his aunt, a witch. But Ged has bigger plans and a great thirst for power, so when he is offered the chance to be the apprentice to famous wizard Ogion, he doesn’t hesitate. But even so, his thirst for power isn’t quenched yet.

I have to admit that A Wizard of Earthsea was a frustrating read. I didn’t like Ged a whole lot, especially in the beginning and the disjointed way the novel progressed, without any real plot development, didn’t make things easier. I was also annoyed at the treatment of the women in it.

Read more on my blog: http://kalafudra.com/2014/08/15/a-wizard-of-earthsea-ursula-k-le-guin/ ( )
1 vote kalafudra | Aug 27, 2014 |
Reading it for the first time now, I was underwhelemed by the first story, maybe because so many recent authors I like have been influenced by it and have used its ideas and plot points in their own books, so the newness of it all was missing.
However, I loved the other 3 stories, and I thought they were really great. ( )
  ScarletBea | Feb 15, 2014 |
Beautiful, beautiful books. Mostly devoid of Ursula Le Guin's politics, although I suppose there's something in the main characters all being dark-skinned, and in the observations -- particularly in Tehanu -- about the differences between men's power and women's power. Great fantasy. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ursula K. Le Guinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bergen, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The four books of the legendary Earthsea saga together for the first time in a single volume: A wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore, Tehanu. Ursula Le Guins creation, Earthsea - an ancient world of wizards, magic, darkness and light, and an ever - shifting balance of power - is an acknowledged masterpiece.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140154272, 0140348034, 0241956870

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