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The Farthest Shore: Book Three (Earthsea…
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The Farthest Shore: Book Three (Earthsea Cycle) (original 1972; edition 2004)

by Ursula K. Le Guin (Author)

Series: The Earthsea Cycle (03)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,9541201,138 (4.02)181
A young prince joins forces with a master wizard on a journey to discover a cause and remedy for the loss of magic in Earthsea.
Member:Rydou
Title:The Farthest Shore: Book Three (Earthsea Cycle)
Authors:Ursula K. Le Guin (Author)
Info:Gallery Books (2004), Edition: First PaperbackPrinting, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin (1972)

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» See also 181 mentions

English (112)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  Japanese (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (119)
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
I’m finally three books into the Earthsea Cycle! In my journey reading this series, I actually started with The Tombs of Atuan, because it happened to be the only one I had lying around at the time. So reading Earthsea has been an interesting experience for me, trying to keep the timelines straight in my head. But no regrets! I absolutely love these books and this series.

For those who don’t know anything about Earthsea, the story is set in an imaginary archipelago, with different kingdoms on each island. Certain people have the ability to perform magic, which is done by learning the “true names” of things/beings, thereby having the ability to control or manipulate them. One of those people is a man named Ged, (aka Sparrowhawk). In the beginning of the series, he discovers his abilities and eventually goes to hone his skills at the magic academy on the island of Roke. Ged goes through some interesting trials and experiences in the first two books – A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan – and meets interesting people, dark spirits, and some dragons along the way. But I won’t go too in-depth about those, you’ll just have to read them. ;)

In The Farthest Shore, Ged is an older man, about 40-50 years of age, and he is now Archmage at the academy at Roke. The perspective of this story is told through the eyes of Arren, the teenage prince of a land to the north, who was sent to see Ged and tell of a dark message. In his land, tales have been reaching them of places where magic no longer works, that wizards have simply forgotten the words of magic. Ged too has heard these tales, and knows the threat is real. He and Arren therefore embark on a voyage to discover the source of this problem.

As with each of the Earthsea novels, there are some really great underlying themes to the story. Each has more or less had a “coming of age” element. In the first book, it was Ged’s; the second, Tenar’s. This book is Arren’s coming of age. Growing up in a pampered court environment, he’s never known hardship or combat. On his journeys with Ged, he goes through all these experiences, and more. He learns about resilience and survival. The book also deals with themes of life and death namely that there can’t be one without the other, and there is no reason to be scared of death because it’s a part of life.

“‘Death and life are the same thing – like the two sides of my hand, the palm and the back. And still the palm and the back are not the same… They can be neither separated, nor mixed.'”


There are also some great messages in this book about power, and the consequences that come with a greediness for power. The book’s villain strives for more and more power, and is blind to how his struggle for power has basically made his life meaningless.

But the way these themes are handled in the story are not the only thing that I loved about this book. First of all, it is very readable, once you get into the flow of Le Guin’s writing style. It’s not always linear but that’s what makes it interesting to me. There are a lot of flashback or dream-sequence moments that really add meat to the story. The writing is sometimes less about the plot and more about how the characters are reacting to that plot. The Farthest Shore, like its predecessors, is also every beautifully descriptive. Le Guin definitely also went above and beyond with the world-building in this volume. I felt like we saw even more islands than in A Wizard of Earthsea, and she went way more in-depth with writing about the behaviors and lifestyles of the inhabitants of each island. Another thing I really loved about this installment is the very haunting villain, and the dark sense of foreboding that is built up throughout the story.

Overall, I would totally recommend The Farthest Shore, along with the first two books in the series. The Earthsea Cycle is truly a unique series, and really unlike any other fantasy novel I’ve read. It just has a completely different feel. One big difference setting it apart from other fantasy stories is that the main characters are primarily people of color – white characters are actually the minority, which is something you hardly ever see. The setting also stands out, and doesn’t really have that medieval-retelling-feel that most novels seem to have – not that I’m opposed to that, it’s just awesome to read something different once in a while. Oh and if those reasons aren’t good enough… THERE ARE DRAGONS!! What more could you need?? Whatever the case, please start reading The Earthsea Cycle! You will not be disappointed.

Final rating:

★★★★★

Also published on my blog! :-) ( )
  escapinginpaper | May 18, 2024 |
These are great.
  RaynaPolsky | Apr 23, 2024 |
This was solid. Probably better than book 1, but slightly worse than book 2. Many of the same issues apply - the character development is limited, and more of the tell rather than show variety, but more happens than in the other books, and there are still phrases and sections that are well worded and keep you going. Still wouldn’t really recommend the series too much, but its been a reasonable listen while running. ( )
  mrbearbooks | Apr 22, 2024 |
The closer of the original Earthsea trilogy. LeGuin being LeGuin, the arc of this trilogy is an interesting structure. While Ged is a central character throughout, he is the point of view character only in the first book. There is a different YA character arc in each book, and a larger Ged arc over the three. Unusual for YA of the time but no longer is the darkness that permeates. Magic in all forms is disappearing, and the cause is one mage's actions to create a form of immortality that is really more unending death. Ged and Arren go on a quest to uncover the cause that takes them to the edges of the known Earthsea territories. As with most quest stories, this is much travelogue as development, the chapters with the children of the sea who live their lives on rafts being a prime example. I'm usually disappointed by novels that lead to a final battle of wizards and this was no exception. The outcome always seems disconnected causally from any prior context. It just happens.

That said, this is classic LeGuin. It's hard to go wrong with spending time reading her. Recommended.
  ChrisRiesbeck | Mar 14, 2024 |
Not read
  mccabep | Feb 11, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
As adventure narrative this lacks the concrete tensions of its predecessors, but once more the themes -- centering here on the "unmeasured desire for life" and its misapplications -- are deeply embedded in the action (though far from peculiar to the imagined kingdom of Earthsea)
added by melmore | editKirkus Review (Sep 8, 1972)
 

» Add other authors (41 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ursula K. Le Guinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Chodes-Irvine, MargaretCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
真砂子, 清水翻訳secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ellison, PaulineCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Erkel, Bart vanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garraty, GailIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, Anne YvonneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gilbert, YvonneCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guay, RebeccaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harman, DominicCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Inglis, RobNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Landa, Michel LeeTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maillet, FrançoiseTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oomen, F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paronis, MargotTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pergameno, SandroPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rambelli, RobertaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smee, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Solo nel silenzio la parola,
solo nella tenebra la luce,
solo nella morte è vita;
fulgido è il volo del falco
nel cielo deserto.

La creazione di Éa
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For Elisabeth, Caroline, and Theodore
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In the court of the fountain the sun of March shone through young leaves of ash and elm, and water leapt and fell through shadow and clear light.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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A young prince joins forces with a master wizard on a journey to discover a cause and remedy for the loss of magic in Earthsea.

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