Ursula K. Le Guin is an author who has no need for my review, but whose book rocked so hard I can’t help but give it props.
In A Wizard of Earthsea, Le Guin places emphasis on the significance of a name, which is why the main character has three. For the sake of simplicity, Imma call him Ged.
At a young age, Ged discovers he has a powerful talent for magic, and his talent grows with the help of his mentors. When Ged begins to study at a school for wizardry, he finds friends—and competition. The challenge to be the best inspires him to attempt the most difficult, and dangerous, magic he has tried yet—and the result is disastrous. Ged releases a dangerous magical force, and he realizes that he can only conquer his fear by confronting it head-on.
The language in A Wizard of Earthsea is fluid and timeless, like a fairy tale, and Le Guin tells the story that needs to be told without covering it with a wet blanket of detail. Adding to the universal feel of the story are some poignant themes and significant imagery: the importance of a name and the weight of our words, the danger of pride and the reward of sacrifice, the way fear dictates our every decision.
You ever read a fantasy story that was trying too hard? Took itself too seriously? So fantastically imaginative that it was no intellectual good? A Wizard of Earthsea is not that.
It is a coming of age story, and a cautionary tale, and a love story (of sorts), all told in this original, colorful, clean & simple, foreign fantasy world. I look forward to buying a copy for myshelf. (I know you see what I did there.)
But that's just one person's review. Have a different view? I'd love your thoughts. Add a comment below!
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