Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 1232
Powerful
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Ursula K. LeGuin's POWERS is a gorgeous YA fantasy masterpiece, every bit as potent and elegant and memorable as her transformational works from earlier decades, such as her "Earthsea" books and her Nebula award-winning THE DISPOSSESSED. The third of three distantly-related stand-alone novels in her "Western Shore" series, POWERS probably disappoints a fair number people who pick up the book. The title and cover unfortunately suggest a story closer to the type of YA the public has become accustomed to these days. I understand the motives of LeGuin's nervous publisher, who (rightly) worried that the book would need a bit of marketing bait-and-switch in order to make it off the shelves in the present YA environment. Be that as it may, once you open the pages and realize you're not reading "Harry Potter Goes to High School in Forks" you have a choice: put it down and go back to reading more of the same thing you've been shovel-fed for the past decade, or ease into a very special treat. The beauty of this story is demanding; you have to earn it. Masterful, patient world crafting, an unforgettable character on a richly profound spiritual and physical journey, a plot that lumbers along with the fragility and banality of any real person's life--all of these elements bleed together to bring you a tale that will stay with you for years, as if Gavir were your own brother, and the rich landscape he journeys through your own home. Read this book slowly. Sit with it. Live in it. You'll be loathe to leave when you're done. Lucky for me, this is the first book in the series that I've read. I can't wait to return to the Western Shore in GIFTS and VOICES. Ursula K. LeGuin is arguably the most talented and profound fantasy writer alive today. We're so lucky that she writes genre fiction. We're so lucky that she's still at it. I urge every reader to treat this book as the treasure that it is: a rare, wonderful masterpiece.
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