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The Other Wind by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Other Wind (2001)

by Ursula K. Le Guin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Earthsea Cycle (6)

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The Other Wind is the sixth and final book in the Earthsea series. I really enjoyed the series, although I thought this last book was the weakest. The story started off very strong, and I especially enjoyed the first 25% or so. After that, while there were still good parts and I was still interested in the premise, I thought the story itself became kind of slow and repetitive.

One thing I enjoyed was that we had the chance to revisit a lot of favorite characters from past books in addition to meeting some new ones. A lot of plot threads from the various books were brought up and woven into a bigger picture. The problem is that I thought that bigger picture was blurry. We learn a lot about what happened in the distant past that made the world the way it is now, and what the price was, but I felt like it was all too light on logical reasoning and rational explanations, even for a fantasy world.

This book has a lot of scenes with people gathering together, in small or large groups, catching each other up on recent events, or sharing what they know about things that happened in ancient history from stories they've heard. The reader had to sit through some of those stories being told multiple times, if slightly differently and with different levels of detail each time, and it started to feel repetitive. ( )
  YouKneeK | Sep 23, 2016 |
And at last we see the crone and the sage, and how their lives well-lived continue to transform others. The most notable is the young wizard? magician? named Alder who comes to see Sparrowhawk for guidance. We hear Alder's tale of life, with its joys and intense sorrow, and how he is seeing how the balance is changing on Earthsea. Then we meet back up with Tehanu and Tenar at the court of the the king, Lebannen. And still the circle widens: as Lebannen becomes a stronger king, he is given" a princess to marry who happens to be from the Kargan lands and so knows Tenar and her history.

All of these times and stories are interwoven in this maybe-last book of the Earthsea series. It seems as though LeGuin is able to view her life through her characters: how have our lives changed the lives of others? How will our story continue when we are separated from those we love?

And most importantly, how has the balance of Earthsea changed and what can we do to make the change fruitful?

With more of LeGuin's amazing use of fulfilling and simplified language that conveys so much with just the stroke of a few pens. I will forever think of my cats as being their "velvet noses" that she poignantly says in relation to Alder's journey. ( )
  threadnsong | Jun 18, 2016 |
I have read the first 4 book in the Earthsea series though it was awhiel ago that I read them. In this book Alder, a mender, begings having dreams about the dead trying to be free from the dry lands. Eventually all the races of earthsea are brought into the change that Alder is causing. It was an enjoyable story I just wish it was longer and that Ged had been in it more. ( )
  RachelNF | Jan 15, 2016 |
LeGuin's Roke is far more interesting than Hogwarts. She addresses gender and ethnicity with eloquence and emotion. The Earthsea cycle is one of my favorite fantasy series, right up there with the Avalon books by Marion Zimmer Bradley. ( )
  Marjorie_Jensen | Nov 12, 2015 |
The Other Wind
by Ursula K. Le Guin
Harcourt, 2001
ISBN 0151006849 (hardcover), 246 pp.

Review date: August, 2015

Billed as "a new Earthsea novel", Ursula K. LeGuin's The Other Wind (2001) is the sixth, and quite likely the final, entry in the Earthsea Cycle—but I can understand not wanting to label it as such, since the fourth book bore the subtitle "The Last Book of Earthsea" and look what happened after that. But drastic changes occur in this novel, and it seems unlikely that any more will be written—although we fans can always hope for more. For anyone who's followed the series this far, it's a fitting and fairly satisfying end to the series, and especially to the second half of it, following the story that was started in Tehanu and continued in "Dragonfly" (the novella found in Tales from Earthsea) and bringing it to a logical conclusion. New characters, like the village sorcerer Alder, and Kargish Princess Seserakh, are introduced, but established ones are also integral to the tale: Ged, Tenar, Therru, King Lebannen, Irian, members of the Council of Roke, and more show up in this tale, which is sure to please fans.

Alas, as fitting a conclusion to the series as it may be, I personally just didn't find it as enjoyable as the previous books. I can't say that it was a letdown, per se—only that it failed to give the satisfaction I've come to expect. Something of a cross between the first half of the series and the second, it lacked the unadulterated mythical resonance of the first three books and the hard-hitting realism and the emotional depth that I'd come to expect from the second half. That's not to say that these elements weren't there, only that they weren't as pervasive or substantial as I'd have liked. To be honest, it read less like Ursula K. LeGuin and more like a lot of the other fantasy fiction out there, albeit with LeGuin's unique touch raising it above average.

On its own, I would recommend The Other Wind, just probably not very highly. But this book doesn't stand on its own, nor was it meant to: it's the conclusion to a series. So if you've made it through the first five books and enjoyed them, you must of course read it, and I feel that it will satisfy most fans of the Earthsea Cycle—just perhaps not as much as hoped or expected.



3 stars: It was good. Technical, conventional, and other errors are rare or nonexistent, and the work stands out among others of its kind. I would be likely to recommend the work to others. Equivalent to a 'B', or above average, grade. ( )
  tokidokizenzen | Aug 17, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
But there is more to The Other Wind than that: Le Guin's consistency now becomes revealed as a kind of destiny, a drive towards democracy if you like, an implicit impatience with the highfalutin genealogies such bogus mythologies are compelled to recite. Marvellously, the book contains humour, which is otherwise a kind of universal acid to children's fable: if it is funny, it corrodes everything it touches. Here it actually works. And the real magic now is the magic of writing.
added by melmore | editThe Guardian, Nicholas Lezard (Jul 26, 2002)
Love, too, is much more central and important than in the other Earthsea books. The loss that all lovers face, even when they are completely constant and loving, is one of the aching subjects here. In the first few pages of the novel, Ged feels “a sadness at the very heart of things,” and in fact essential loss, essential grief is the main thing that “The Other Wind” is about.... How to address that sadness is this novel’s question
added by melmore | editSalon.com, Donna Minkowitz (Oct 4, 2001)

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ursula K. Le Guinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Nielsen, CliffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Farther west than west
beyond the land
my people are dancing
on the other wind.

- The Song of the Woman of Kemay
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Sails long and white as swan's wings carried the ship Farflyer through summer air down the bay from the Armed Cliffs toward Gont Port.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 044101125X, Mass Market Paperback)

The greatest fantasies of the 20th century are J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle. Regrettably, the Earthsea Cycle has not received the fame and sales of Tolkien's trilogy. Fortunately, new Earthsea books have appeared in the 21st century, and they are as powerful, beautiful, and imaginative as the first four novels. The fifth novel and sixth book of the Earthsea Cycle is The Other Wind.

The sorcerer Alder has the power of mending, but it may have become the power of destruction: every night he dreams of the wall between the land of the living and the land of the dead, and the wall is being dismantled. If the wall is breached, the dead will invade Earthsea. Ged, once Archmage of Earthsea, sends Alder to King Lebannen. Now Alder and the king must join with a burned woman, a wizard of forbidden lore, and a being who is woman and dragon both, in an impossible quest to save Earthsea.

Ursula K. Le Guin has received the National Book Award, five Nebula and five Hugo Awards, and the Newbery Award, among many other honors. The Other Wind lives up to expectations for one of the greatest fantasy cycles. --Cynthia Ward

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:11 -0400)

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The sorcerer Alder has the power of mending, but it may have become the power of destruction: every night he dreams of the wall between the land of the living and the land of the dead, and the wall is being dismantled. If the wall is breached, the dead will invade Earthsea. Ged, once Archmage of Earthsea, sends Alder to King Lebannen. Now Alder and the king must join with a burned woman, a wizard of forbidden lore, and a being who is woman and dragon both, in an impossible quest to save Earthsea.… (more)

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