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A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)

by Ursula K. Le Guin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Earthsea Cycle (1)

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English (245)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  Japanese (1)  All languages (251)
Showing 1-5 of 245 (next | show all)
How does one sit down and review Ursula K. LeGuin? Honestly, I'm skeptical that I can do it, but I'll try. You don't sit down after reading one of her books for the first time and think about all the ways it could have been better. You even have a hard time sorting out the things you love, because it was all just so good.

I was worried, at the start, because there were resemblances to a book that I read last year and had ambivalent feelings about; another story about a talented but arrogant young wizard who is going to be hot shit someday, but needs to be taken down a few pegs first. Of course, the problem in the other story is that an older version of that young wizard is our narrator, so though he gets into scrapes and lets his pride get the better of him, he's never really in the wrong, or was only wrong so that he could learn a lesson that would make him great in the end. I'm not sure if it's because of the narrator, or if it's a flaw in that other story, but while our young wizard certainly learns a wide variety of things, there's a cocky smugness that never truly leaves him, no matter what messes he gets himself into. Some people might like that in a character; I found him insufferable.

Ged doesn't have that problem. While he may start out as an arrogant young brat with an excess of pride, he doesn't stay that way. He screws up in a really major way that changes his life forever, and instead of grinning and clevering himself out of it, he changes. He matures. He is afraid, and he knows despair, and in the end it's determination, maturity, and acceptance that win him the day instead of his cleverness. He learns how to lean on his best friend for help, and he learns something sobering about himself in the process. The Ged that comes out of the other side of this adventure has been stripped to his core, and his core contains wisdom, humility, and self-knowledge instead of a cheeky grin and a clever mind.

That is to say that this book is probably the best version of this particular kind of story that I've read thus far, and I enjoyed it immensely. If you like a mythic fantasy, I would suggest you give this one a shot. It's a story with the mythic tone that I find particularly cozy--it's the kind of story I imagine read aloud beside a roaring fire in a fireplace while everyone clusters around to hear the tale--and on top of that, it's got a good heart.

Plus, it's Ursula K. LeGuin. She won't steer you wrong.

This review first appeared on my blog. ( )
  VLarkinAnderson | Sep 24, 2018 |
We follow Ged, aka Sparrowhawk, as he travels from being a pre-teen boy with some magical abilities and saving his people from an invasion, to becoming a highly skilled wizard in Roke and traveling across Earthsea. At first, he is hunted by an evil shadow he released during an impulsive fit of pride to show off his magical abilities but he soon becomes the hunter as he and his friend Vetch travel through the Open Sea to finally settle the score and relieve him of that which hunts him.

I really enjoyed this classic fantasy tale from Le Guin and am looking forward to find out what else Ged and Vetch will come across. The writing is beautiful, the story flows and the world is built before our eyes as we travel with Vetch and come across many different types of lands and people. We learn the inner workings of Ged and his thoughts as he travels alone and then accompanied by Vetch and although the book is short, there is a lot packed in that makes it a great story.

We learn about balance, the consequences of our choices, friendship, pride and ultimately, learning how to deal with the dark inner workings of ourselves. I certainly enjoyed this and can see why some compare Ged to Gandalf and Merlin. ( )
  christianeyoungberg | Aug 30, 2018 |
It's real fantasy, it's great, and in some ways it reminds me of The Name of the Wind. Loved it a lot - Ged really grows on you, and the story is quite dense, and there as much story in this book as many others would fit in a trilogy (growing up, mastering school, mastering the antagonist, for example?). I clearly need to read more books by Ursula K. Le Guin! ( )
  _rixx_ | Aug 30, 2018 |
I didn't care for Ged much until the shadow came. I really liked Vetch and Ged's friendship with him and Ogion.

I felt like this book, like so many books where the main focus of the plot is a journey, was slow and boring. It was also sometimes hard for me to figure out what was going on. There was lots of descriptions but they didn't paint a vivid picture in my mind. I was also reading the Ebook on the Kindle and it doesn't let you zoom in to see the map in the beginning so for most of the book I was completely lost of the many islands' locations. Finally, I caved and looked it up on Google.

I also still don't quite understand the magic system in this universe. It's all illusion except when it's not. The only clear thing I took away was that an equilibrium as to be maintained, which is generally the case of most magical systems.

I don't know if I'll read the next book or not. I really liked the characters by the end of this book, especially how Ged had changed and become less prideful and more comfortable with himself. My favorite part of the book was when he was the wizard in Low Toring.
It will depend on whether the next book is just more of him traveling or if it's mostly set in just one place. I've had enough of his journeys. ( )
  Catsysta | Aug 5, 2018 |
This was one of my husband's favorite books. I figured I'd check it out. Might give me some insight on the man. His other favorite books are The Catcher in the Rye & Misery. Hmmm....
The verdict - pretty good. I would actually consider reading other books in the series. It's no Lord of the Rings, but still enjoyable. ( )
  CSKteach | Jul 20, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 245 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (41 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Le Guin, Ursula K.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Archer, KarenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cases, MadeleineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon. DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ellison, HarlanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, Anne YvonneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harman, DominicCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mitchell, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paronis, MargotTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rambelli, RobertaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robbins, RuthIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saunders, Micksecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Only in silence the word,
only in dark the light,
only in dying life:
bright the hawk's flight
on the empty sky.    
—The Creation of Éa
To my brothers
Clifton, Ted, Karl
First words
The island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm-racked Northeast Sea, is a land famous for wizards.
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.
It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soul.
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:23 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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

» see all 4 descriptions

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