Review Detail

Intro to Earthsea
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
“The wise needn't ask, the fool asks in vain.”

My first exposure to Ursula K. Le Guin’s work, I’m a little sorry to say. I’m not sure what’s taken me so long… but I CAN now see some of her influences in more recent fantasy authors.

The book is a fairly quick read—no more than 6 hours investment—and provides both the base worldbuilding blocks to the Islands-only realm of Earthsea along with the origins of one of its most famous wizards. One gets the impression that much information has been lost, but it doesn’t dwell in lament over that too long. Instead, it simply gets on with the story it can tell. The story centers on a motherless boy named Ged, who is being somewhat negligently reared on an unremarkable island by a vaguely abusive blacksmith father and morally nebulous witch aunt. When the island is invaded, the boy stretches his magical capacities in an effort to save his village—and in doing so earns the attentions of a famed wizard.

The 3rd-person semi-limited telling follows Ged through apprentice training and a sort of wizarding school, where he continually makes impatient or prideful errors, causes problems, and grows through his mistakes. It ends right around his 19th year after he goes out into the wider world to right a tremendous wrong of his own making.

The story posits a relatively soft magic system. People either have inherent magical propensity, or they don’t. And everything has a “true name” that can potentially allow a magic user to master that creature (or person.) As such, nicknames are popular and one does not give out their true name to just anyone. Dragons and wizards dominate the more obvious fantastical elements.

Le Guin’s prose is a vivid blending of the simple and the elegant. There is visceral emotion that is well expressed, but not a tremendous amount of depth. Many things are expediently skipped over rather than explored—relational development seeming to suffer the most.

There were times this felt very much like a Middle Grade read, but given the era it was written in and the eventual age of the protagonist, it would be wrong to label it as such. Is it Middle Grade appropriate? Absolutely.
But part of its appeal is in the wide range of audience who could potentially enjoy this story without it requiring too much of their focus.

Favorite Quotes:

*“Go to bed; tired is stupid.”

*“War as a moral metaphor is limited, limiting, and dangerous. By reducing the choices of action to “a war against” whatever-it-is, you divide the world into Me or Us (good) and Them or It (bad) and reduce the ethical complexity and moral richness of our life to Yes/No, On/Off.”
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Fowl Twins (The Fowl Twins, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
One week after their eleventh birthday, the Fowl twins--scientist Myles,...
Kai and the Monkey King (Brownstone's Mythical Collection, #3)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Kai grows tired of her bookish mum not being...
Astro Kittens: Cosmic Machines (Astro Kittens)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Greetings, my little Astro Kittens! Are you ready to take...
Astro Kittens: Into the Unknown (Astro Kittens)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Greetings, my little Astro Kittens! Are you ready to take...
All the Things We Do in the Dark
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Sadie meets Girl in Pieces in this dark, emotional thriller...
The Rubicus Prophecy (The Witches of Orkney, #2)
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Abigail has just started her second year at the Tarkana...
Fancy Nancy: Camp Fancy
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Based on the Disney Junior TV show and inspired by...
Rules for Vanishing
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes...
What Makes Us
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A viral video reveals a teen’s dark family history, leaving...
Harry Potter Origami
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ever wanted to fold your own Chocolate Frogs? Or play...
By Any Means Necessary
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Heart-wrenchingly honest, fans of Brandy Colbert and Nicola Yoon will...
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution...
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In 2001, audiences first met and fell in love with...
On the Come Up
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers...
Spin
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sixteen-year-old Paris Secord's (aka DJ ParSec) career--and life--has come to...
Leah on the Offbeat
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best...

Latest Member Reviews

Forgiven Are the Starry-Eyed
 
5.0
"The story: Sheltered high school junior Andrea Cavanaugh believes she hits the jackpot when Josh McMillan, a..."
All the Things We Do in the Dark
 
4.3
"ALL THE THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK is an intensely challenging and thought-provoking read with some magical realism elements...."
Rules for Vanishing
 
5.0
"RULES FOR VANISHING is a deliciously haunting YA horror perfect for Halloween. Told through collected documents, interviews, and texts, this..."
What Makes Us
 
5.0
"WHAT MAKES US is an intriguing story that follows a teenaged boy, his mother (in the past), and his friend..."
Serpent & Dove
 
5.0
"Lou is on the run from her family and she lives a thieving life with her friend Coco. Both of..."
By Any Means Necessary
 
3.7
"BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY is an engaging contemporary YA that presents some issues very well. The writing is in a..."
On the Come Up
 
5.0
"ON THE COME UP is a fantastic new YA contemporary that handles big issues like racism and sexism. The characters..."
Fireborne (The Aurelian Cycle, #1)
 
3.3
"FIREBORNE is a new YA fantasy that follows two teens, Lee and Anna (Antigone) in alternating points-of-view. Lee and Anna..."
Artemis Fowl: The Graphic Novel
 
4.0
"As Middle Grade graphic novel adaptations go, this urban fantasy is above par. The artwork has a bit..."
Into the Crooked Place (Into the Crooked Place, #1)
 
4.0
"INTO THE CROOKED PLACE is an engaging YA fantasy that follows five characters on a quest of aligned goals- even..."
To Kill a Kingdom
 
5.0
"TO KILL A KINGDOM is a wonderful YA fantasy about a siren and a pirate. Told in alternating points of..."
The Rift
 
3.3
"THE RIFT is a unique YA fantasy that takes place on Black Water Island, a place prized for the herd..."
The Beautiful (The Beautiful, #1)
 
3.3
"THE BEAUTIFUL takes place in New Orleans, primarily following a young woman, Celine. Celine fled France after a terrible event..."
 
5.0
"Eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson goes to Madrid, Spain with his family in order for his mother to reconnect with the country..."
Glow of the Fireflies
 
3.3
"GLOW OF THE FIREFLIES is a YA fantasy that follows a teenaged girl, Briony, who has no memories from before..."
Creep
 
3.3
"CREEP is an interesting YA thriller/horror that follows an incoming high school freshman, Olivia (Liv). Olivia lives in a small..."
 
4.0
"EVE OF MAN by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher is the latest in YA dystopias. In the story, a phenomenon of..."
 
4.7
"Sam Jones and Zoe Miller are seniors in high school, but they've never had a reason to communicate during their..."
 
4.7
"Michigan Manning just wants to play hockey. Unfortunately, the high school she attends in the upper peninsula of Michigan has..."
When You Ask Me Where I'm Going
 
5.0
"WHEN YOU ASK ME WHERE I'M GOING is an absolutely gorgeous collection that reaches to touch the soul. In poems,..."