Books, writing, reading and words. I love them; do you?

A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin: #BookReview.

304 pages

Children’s/Science Fiction and Fantasy

It may seem like an odd time of life to be reading children’s literature. In my defence, I bought this book ‘blind’ as one of a number I ordered after being gifted a book token for my 70th birthday. I’d heard of Ursula Le Guin, had her books recommended, but had never read any of her work, and this title came up as a potential taster.

Like all good children’s classics, this is intelligent writing with no condescension, and a challenging vocabulary. There’s certainly no reason an adult would turn it down.

What’s initially surprising about the work is its slow build to action.

This slowness is beautifully compensated by easy engagement with the characters and, in particular, with Ged, the main protagonist. Wonderfully drawn; this credible youngster inhabits a world depicted with just enough detail to encourage imagination.

Magic in fantasy has always been a slight irritation for me; it smacks of an easy solution to worldly problems. But in this author’s hands it works well and fails to become the panacea it so often represents in other works.

The adventure builds when the unusual antagonist is introduced. That the enemy is created by the ignorance and pride in power of the protagonist is a subtle lesson for children (and, perhaps, for all leaders of all ages) everywhere.

A myriad islands make up the world of this novel, and Le Guin manages to give each an individual personality, often in very few words.

The denouement builds tension at an increasing rate, making it hard for the reader to put the book down once this stage is reached. And the conclusion is superb and as surprising as it is inevitable.

I enjoyed this book and will seek out her more adult titles to read in future.

[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]

11 Responses to “A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin: #BookReview.”

  1. Zeno The Stoic

    Beautiful, splendid book. It is a parable. Its apparent simplicity is just that: apparent. As with the best fairy stories it is a working out in fiction of the forces of good against evil. An ancient and fundamental human concern, linked inextricably to our search for meaning and safety in an uncertain world. One of the reasons we seek gods and wizards.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • stuartaken

      Thanks for your comment, Anthony.
      IMost of the fantasy novels I’ve read (and written) are parables, and most deal with that eternal theme of good against evil; I beleive it goes with the territory, if you’ll forgive a cliche. Of course, how we view those two opposites, and what contitutes either good or evil can vary according to our philosophy, history and even our geographical location.
      Had a quick look at your website: eclectic and well presented, so I’ve tweeted a couple of your posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
          • Zeno The Stoic

            Ah! Sci Fi – my favorite genre. I was going to have the temerity to recommend some of Ian Banks to you – I love his “parables” and recently felt very deeply about something he wrote in Surface Detail. Now \i understand (and indeed share) you interest in parables. I will download and read one of your books with great pleasure.

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply
            • stuartaken

              For SciFi, you could try my novella, The Methuselah Strain, or, if you don’t mind a series (each of them can be read as a stand-alone as well) my Generation Mars series. Blood Red Dust is the first novel: it’s written in a slightly different style to most of my novels and some readers have found it challenging. The other two in the series, War Over Dust and Return to Dust, are written in a more conventional style. Probably the best bet is to pop up to the ‘Books and Other Published Work’ tab, click on ‘Science Fiction’ in the drop down menu and have a gander at the descriptions for each book.
              If you prefer short stories, there’s also an anthology ‘Ten Tales for Tomorrow’, which is also science fiction. Enjoy!

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