temporaryworlds (temporaryworlds) wrote in bookish,

#52 A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin

(I think I may be the fourth person on my f-list to review this today. Haha)

Ged, also known of Sparrowhawk, is the greatest sorcerer in Earthsea. This is the story about how he came to be that man. Born the son of a smith, Ged, received little love from his family, but gained knowledge of magic from a local witch. When Ged has learned all that he could from her, he was taken in by a wise and powerful mage, who later set him on to a school for wizards. This is the beginning of a journey where Ged will become a wizard, face down dragons, and confront dark magic.

A Wizard of Earthsea is one of those books that I've been meaning to read since high school. I was happy when I saw that jawasreadtoo was running a summer reading challenge, and that one of the selections was The Earthsea cycle, as it motivated me to finally pick up the book. I'm really glad that I did. As a reader of modern fantasy, reading A Wizard of Earthsea is much like reading Tolkien. It's in books like these that you get to see the roots of the fantasy books that you have already fallen in love with. While reading Ged's story, I couldn't help but think about other books that I have read that are obviously been influenced by A Wizard of Earthsea. The characters found in this novel are incredibly archetypical, but drawn with just the right amount of detail so I didn't have too much trouble sympathizing with them. Ged is a really interesting lead, a powerful wizard with a real urge to learn and to gain power. When his ambition gets the best of him, Ged is launched into a fascinating story that literally has him running away from his own shadows.

A Wizard of Earthsea is written with the same mastery of language that one may experience with Tolkien, but also with a refreshing brevity which results in a much shorter book. LeGuin's prose is so fantastically concentrated, and every word seems to count. Admittedly, it took me a little while to get used to LeGuin's style, but once I did, I really found myself enjoying the writing. LeGuin's style is mostly on the slower side, but every now and then she launches something at the reader that is really exciting. My favorite part of the book, when Ged confronts the dragon, is a shining example of this. The setting of the story, an archipelago, is rather unlike anything I've encountered in fantasy before. Another unique thing that they have done with this book is with maps. Usually, fantasy books will have maps in the front of their books, which this book possesses. A Wizard of Earthsea also has several maps strewn out the book which zooms in on a specific area. I thought this was a nice way for the reader to follow Ged around on his journey.

A Wizard of Earthsea is a classic of fantasy literature. Although I put off reading it for many years, I'm glad I finally picked it up and gave it a fair chance. It was quite enjoyable to read.

Rating: four and a half stars
Length: 182 pages
Source: paperbackswap
Challenge: This book is part of the 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge, and the Summer of Series Challenge
Similar Books: The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien. The Once and Future King by TH White
Other books I've read by this author: This is my first

xposted to bookish , temporaryworlds  and goodreads
Tags: xxx author last name: a-h

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