Thursday, October 1, 2015

Review: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

I cannot believe it took me this long to finally read Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea. (I feel like I'm at risk of losing my credibility as a lifelong YA fantasy fan!) But now that I have read it, I definitely understand the hype.

A Wizard of Earthsea is the coming-of-age story. It is quiet and lush and intelligent. It is full of wonder, but does not flinch from the horrible.

Gifted with incredible magic, young Ged makes a mistake--a proud, thoughtless mistake, a child's mistake--which is magnified because of his power. He spends much of the rest of the book seeking to atone, and to track down the terrible, nameless thing unleashed by his actions.

The world-building is exquisite. Ged's journey, his search for atonement always interwoven with his discovery of the shape and nature and name of things, is deeply compelling.

I will confess to some surprise at the lack of female characters--the only one I recall being positively portrayed was a fourteen-year-old who seemed to know her place, who dutifully took care of her household--but I have hope that will be remedied in later books.

If, like me, you have managed to miss this classic, I advise giving it a read as soon as possible.


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