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Ursula K. Le Guin

Tuesday, 26 February 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’ve been on an Ursula Le Guin binge the last two weeks. I started in Texas with The Left Hand of Darkness. Then I had a break as we hit the road. I didn’t restart until after I read Jane Austen’s Persuasion while waiting for my daughter and grandbaby to be released from the hospital, but the rest of the time I’ve spent reading here in Louisiana has been Le Guin’s Earthsea series. There are two more books that I haven’t read yet, but here are the ones I have:

Ged was the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, but once he was called Sparrowhawk, a reckless youth, hungry for power and knowledge, who tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death’s threshold to restore the balance.

When young Tenar is chosen as high priestess to the ancient and nameless Powers of the Earth, everything is taken away — home, family, possessions, even her name. For she is now Arha, the Eaten One, guardian of the ominous Tombs of Atuan. While she is learning her way through the dark labyrinth, a young wizard, Ged, comes to steal the Tombs’ greatest hidden treasure, the Ring of Erreth-Akbe. But Ged also brings with him the light of magic, and together, he and Tenar escape from the darkness that has become her domain.

Darkness threatens to overtake Earthsea: the world and its wizards are losing their magic. Despite being wearied with age, Ged Sparrowhawk — Archmage, wizard, and dragonlord — embarks on a daring, treacherous journey, accompanied by Enlad’s young Prince Arren, to discover the reasons behind this devastating pattern of loss. Together they will sail to the farthest reaches of their world — even beyond the realm of death — as they seek to restore magic to a land desperately thirsty for it.

Years before, they had escaped together from the sinister Tombs of Atuan — she, an isolated young priestess, he, a powerful wizard. Now she is a farmer’s widow, having chosen for herself the simple pleasures of an ordinary life. And he is a broken old man, mourning the powers lost to him not by choice. A lifetime ago, they helped each other at a time of darkness and danger. Now they must join forces again, to help another — the physically and emotionally scarred child whose own destiny remains to be revealed.

So, I enjoyed the books. They are written for young adults (thus having some of the predictability of books written to that age), and often the main conflict is resolved in a couple of pages. But, they’re good reads. Very different from The Left Hand of Darkness, which I will try to post on soon.

  1. aperturefever
    Thursday, 20 November 2008 at 4:00 pm

    I recommend “The Dispossessed” by Ursula le guin. Its not in the same magical path as the Earthsea series. It has more political extensions and it deals in a technologically advanced world but I think its the book that Ursula was born to write. I believe its her heritage to the future generations even if she wrote it when she was young. Just a personal view.

    Best regards!

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