The unthinkable has happened in Earthsea. People are losing their magic. The young prince Arren asks Ged, now The Archmage, to help
him discover the truth behind this loss. The two begin a journey on the seas to many islands of the archipelago, the home of dragons, and finally to the land of death itself.The Farthest Shore
is the third book in The Earthsea Cycle, and the final book in Jawasreadtoo's June portion of the Summer of Series challenge (I did it!). It takes place several years after the second book, The Tombs of Atuan
. Here, Ged has grown much older and has even taken on the role of Archmage. Much like in The Tombs of Atuan
, Ged plays a secondary role, although he is more present in the overall story this time around. Our young hero is Prince Arren, who is a very different character then both Ged and Tenar. Arren lacks the issues involving pride that the two previous protagonists had, although he has his own faults. I found that I warmed to him quite quickly, enjoying the near-hero worship he exhibited for Ged earlier on in the book.
As far as enjoyment goes, I was not quite enthralled with this book as I was A Wizard of Earthsea
, but I on a whole, enjoyed it about as much as I did The Tombs of Atuan
. One thing that really surprised me is while I found myself missing Ged in the begging of The Tombs of Atuan
, I found myself missing Tenar in much the same way. The Farthest Shore
feels like a return to the world established in A Wizard of Earthsea.
We get to see snippets of the wizard's school again, the plot is once more revolves around traveling, and there are dragons (yay!) once more. Despite it's adventurous edge, there is also a heaviness to this book. One of the biggest themes in accepting the inevitability of death, and the consequences to those that fight against the natural order of things. The result of this is several lengthy scenes of back and forth dialogue between Arren and Ged that touches upon the nature of death. Under any other writer, I felt as if these sections would have really dragged the book down, but LeGuin writes them so exquisitely that instead I found myself rather jealous of her writing abilities (once again). The final scenes that take place within death are really intense, although I suspect that I will have to read this book once more to fully understand all of the issues brought up here. I won't spoil the end of the book, but I do find it really interesting to examine the ending in light of some of the themes brought up during the book.The Farthest Shore
is a worthy third book in The Earthsea Cycle. To be honest, I also thought it was a worthy end to The Earthsea Cycle, which makes me very curious about where the series goes in it's final three books.
Rating: four stars
Length: 259 pages
Challenge: This book is part of the Summer of Series Challenge
and the 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge
Similar Books: For other fantasy books that focus around quests, both The Hobbit
, and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
are must reads. For other fantasy books that examine death, I would have to recommend Garth Nix's Sabriel.
Other books I've read by this author: A Wizard of Earthsea
), and The Tombs of Atuan
xposted to temporaryworlds
, and goodreads