“The Farthest Shore” by Ursula Le Guin

At first I didn't like this cover but then I saw it at a certain angle and the eye seemed to glow...SO COOL!!!
At first I didn’t like this cover but then I saw it at a certain angle and the eye seemed to glow…SO COOL!!!

Quick summary:

In this story, we are introduced to Arren, prince of Enlad, an island in the north of the Earthsea archipelago. Something is causing wizards, sorcerers, and others with magical propensities to lose their abilities. Arren is sent to Roke, the island where wizards are trained, to find out why. Ged Sparrowhawk, who is now Archmage on Roke, decides to go on a quest to solve this problem with Arren in tow. They visit various islands in the South and West Reaches of Earthsea where they try to figure out what is stealing the magic in Earthsea. Finally, with the aid of a dragon, Ged gets an idea of what the cause might be and travels to The Dragon’s Run and Selidor islands to find out. On Selidor, Ged and Arren travel to the land of the dead to resolve the loss of magic. The adventure is a success, Ged returns magicless and retires to his homeland, Gont, and Arren is crowned king of Earthsea.

My reaction:

This is the third book in the Earthsea series and I didn’t like it much. The first book was great, filled with Ged’s adventures as he runs from and then chases his shadow. The second book was not exciting but wasn’t a bore either because Tenar escapes and frees herself. This book too wasn’t a bore but it’s adventure was subdued. For most of the book, the reader is either in Arren’s thoughts or kicking it from a distance with the narrator, simply analyzing the actions of characters and their thought processes.

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“The Tombs of Atuan” by Ursula Le Guin

Available on Amazon and at your local bookstore.
Available on Amazon and at your local bookstore.

Though I enjoyed the first book of the Earthsea Cycle, A Wizard of Earthsea, I did not enjoy the second as much.

Quick summary:

In The Tombs of Atuan, we are introduced to Tenar, the priestess of the Nameless Ones, gods without names. She was taken from her family at the age of six to become the new priestess since the old one had died. Brought up in a dry landscape void of any other humans except the women who serve the temples of the gods and the soldiers who guard the outskirts, Tenar knows nothing of the outside world except wisps of memory from her childhood. Her hopes and dreams are limited to the walls of the temple. It’s not until Ged Sparrowhawk appears in the Tombs, searching for the other half of the Ring of Erreth-Akbe, that she becomes curious and begin to defy the rules given to her to follow.

My reaction:

The Tombs of Atuan is a good story but while reading, I kept wondering what would happen in the next book. It’s probably because there’s not much action in this installment that I found it hard to commit my attention to it, however, it was not a boring read. I quite like the story of the Ring of Erreth-Akbe, which besides Ged’s appearance is the only thing that connects this installment to book one.

Still, I like that the protagonist is female and from the Kargish islands, a place that does not hold magic in high regard. This perspective gives us a different view on the world and structure of Earthsea. Also, I loved that in order for Tenar to escape her servitude, she must choose to be free. Though Ged can take Tenar away from the Tombs, in order to truly escape the powers of the Nameless Ones, she must choose to go.

My appreciation for the story grew when I read the afterword (included in the September 11, 2012 edition). In it, Le Guin discusses her reasons for writing the story and why she chose to write from Tenar’s point-of-view. It’s amazing the thoughts given to the craft of this story.

The Farthest Shore (book 3) ->

<- A Wizard of Earthsea (book 1)

Quotes from the book:

“…it is no use trying to open a door until you know how the door is opened.”

“She wept in pain because she was free…Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake…It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one.”

Confessions of a Book Whore

I Am a Book Whore

I’m such a book whore! Seriously, why can’t I just stick to one? No, instead I start reading one and then another catches my eye and then I’m off with that one too, reading them both at once. Sometimes I feel guilty because I tend to give more attention to one than the other – most times, to the second than the first. I wish I could settle down with just one book but whenever I try to do so, my mind wanders and I begin to wonder if there’s something better out there that I’m missing out on.

For the New Year, I decided to read 30 books. It’s a doable goal. Last year’s 60 books didn’t work out well and I only read 45 by pushing myself hard. “30 books” is more relaxed. So far I’ve read 5 books, which has surprised me because I didn’t expect to read that much in just a month. The month isn’t even over yet.

The first book read was The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I was so captivated by this book that it didn’t even cross my mind to consider running off with another. This book lassoed me and held fast. Most times I couldn’t even tear my eyes from the pages. Everything was done one-handed and with a quarter of my attention while I read, which caused many accidents to happen—especially in the kitchen—and shoddy clean-up jobs.

After completing The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I jumped into The Magician’s Guild by Trudi Canavan. This one is a bore. I’m still trying to make my way through it. The chemistry is simply not there and I kept wandering off so I began reading The Writing Life by Annie Dillard. Although Dillard’s book kept me interested, it was not enough to turn me from my whorish ways so I began reading A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin.

I ran off with A Wizard of Earthsea and had a blissful affair. We were involved once when I was a teenager but then I forgot about it—it’s hard to keep up when you’ve been involved with so many books. But it was great hooking up again and rediscovering what we once had. I promise this time I will not forget. It was a good lay.

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“A Wizard of Earthsea” by Ursula Le Guin

Available on Amazon and at your local book store.
Available on Amazon and at your local book store.

Just finished Ursula Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea novel and I am in awe. I decided to buy and read this book because throughout my college years, I kept being reminded of an image from a book I read while in high school: a wizard sailing to the edge of the world. I could not recall what story I imagined that image from but I searched to find it.

I kept hearing of Ursula Le Guin (especially after reading about J.K. Rowling) and decided to look her up. Her named sounded familiar. When I came across A Wizard of Earthsea, it seemed familiar as well. A part of me kept pushing to check it out because it was probably that book that the image that haunted me was from. Still, another part of me doubted it since I could not recall a story by Le Guin.

As I began reading, I got swept up in Le Guin’s storytelling. She is a master storyteller and weaves such a strong spell in her narration that you’re unable to put the book down until you’ve reached its end. It’s not all action and cliff-hangers as the majority of young adult books are today. But still it moves you along. You get caught up in the life of Ged, the protagonist who is destined to become a great wizard, and you become as curious as he is about his destiny and his shadow.

Quick summary:

Ged, a boy who was once called Duny is from a poor village in the mountains of Gont, one of the islands in the archipelago that makes up Earthsea. He bumps into his powers by accident when he overhears his aunt, a local witch, speak a word and he repeats it calling the goats he looks after to him. They come to him but would not leave and his aunt has to unbind him from them. At that moment, his aunt realizes that her nephew has some power and begins to teach him some of what she knows. Soon, he can call animals to him and later gains the nickname Sparrowhawk in his village since he is usually seen with a bird of prey.

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