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A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

09 Jun

I picked this book for the fantasy readers’ advisory class this year.  I was looking for a classic fantasy title that was considered one of the best and also didn’t have 700+ pages. Imagine my excitement when a 183 page book fit perfectly. I expect chocolates of thanks from the staff any moment now…

Sparrowhawk or Ged (his true, secret name) is already an archmage and dragonlord when the story opens but the reader is quickly turned to a story of when he was a young boy. Discovering his magical abilities by mistake he is soon on the path to becoming one of the best wizards known. But, Ged’s pride often gets in the way. He feels constantly slighted by his fellow apprentices and is quick to anger.  When he can no longer control his rage a terrible shadow is unleashed into the world that threatens to kill Ged. Full of shame Ged sets out on a journey of discovery on who he is truly meant to be.

Almost always, when I read a science fiction or fantasy book by an exceptional author I am humbled by the experience. With Le Guin the reader is gently schooled on such minor topics as family, self-sacrifice, dignity and being honorable. The journey Ged takes is one that is all at once unknown and familiar. The pace is gentle but the action moves you quickly through the book. Characters are well-developed enough to provide assimilation into the culture and to take great life lessons. The tone of balance versus unbalance will keep readers on edge without realizing it is even happening. Truly exceptional. 1968, 183 pages.

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Posted by on June 9, 2009 in Fantasy

 

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