In this first book, A Wizard of Earthsea readers will witness Sparrowhawk's moving rite of passage--when he discovers his true name and becomes a young man. Great challenges await Sparrowhawk, including an almost deadly battle with a sinister creature, a monster that may be his own shadow. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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186 of 200 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Jung, Myth and Ursula LeGuin,
But the book isn't a treatise. It's a wonderful, well-told story of a young man, Ged, coming of age in a world where words can have the power of magic and dragons are as real as earthquakes. There is nothing didactic about this story; Le Guin's writing is compelling and her characters are vivid: Ogion, the Mage of Silence, whose word had stilled an earthquake; Vetch, who helps Ged on a deadly quest for no reason but friendship; Murre, Vetch's sister; Yevaud, the dragon of Pendor; and Skiorh, possessed by a gebbeth.
Earthsea doesn't exist in a vacuum. Le Guin constructs a deep and textured history, and her characters act in ways that are consistent with that world. She manages the trick of writing a mythic tale without falling into the traps and foibles of sounding like you are trying.
The climax is straight from Carl Jung, but you don't need to know Carl Jung from Steve Young to appreciate it.
From time to time, religious groups call for this book to be banned from school libraries, claiming it promotes witchcraft. Nonsense. This is a book every teenager should read. It speaks to self-understanding, nothing more.
And some feminists criticize Le Guin because Ged is a male character. Again, nonsense, Ged is an archetype, and his gender matters not at all.
This is an important book. It's also terrific fun. Highly recommended.
49 of 53 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Jungian psychology at its best...,
By A Customer
89 of 102 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Anthropological Fantasy Masterpiece,
The story concerns the Wizard Sparrowhawk and his education. Sparrowhawk comes from a desperately poor village in the mountains, from among illiterate peasants (compare to the world of the hobbits, where, though illiterate, there is no squalor) who live with their goats. His home island, Gont, is the birthplace of Goatherds, Pirates, and Wizards, and from an early age Sparrowhawk shows his powers. After saving his village from an invading army, Sparrowhawk is apprenticed to Ogion, the great Mage. There Sparrowhawk begins to learn what Wizards know: the names of all things. He also is drawn to showing off, including calling up the dead.
Too powerful and curious for Ogion, Sparrowhawk goes to the isle of Roke to attend the school there ( Rowling only stole from the best) and finds he's not only the best pupil, but he can make enemies. In a boast, he calls up a spirit and brings out a sort of un-him. The un-him scars Sparrowhawk and kills the school's Archmage who uses his power to try and undo what Sparrowhawk has done.
Ged, Sparrowhawk's true name, must now pursue this unhim while fighting dragons, evil stones, and gibbeths, people the unhim have entered and destroyed.
Finally, Ged turns on his pursuer to fight an epic battle on the unsea and reunite himself.
LeGuin's spare prose is based on folktales, and myths, and Earthsea's theology of balance, true names, and magic is clear: Ged has disturbed the balance, so he must restore it. Like Tolkein's and Lewis' books, there is a sexual innocence here: Ged is a mage first and foremost: he feel attractions, but no lust. Of course, Heros of Myth are too good to be lustful; chastity preserves their power.
Unlike the other fantasies, the Earthsea Trilogy is not England, but an actual mythical place, albeit medieval in a European sense. Ged is no Englishman either, being copper-colored.
The deep understanding of what makes a culture a culture underlies everything LeGuin has written, from "The Dispossed" to "Terhanu." The intelligence behind these books is impressive, neither sentimental nor baroque, almost clinical in its portrayal of an premodern world where magic does work, and where every action has personal consequences and real pain.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This book was recommended to me and I really liked it. I plan on getting the rest of the series as well so I can continue to follow the story of Sparrowhawk. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sonja Aletter
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best of YA Fantasy
Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea is one of fantasy fiction's most unique and endearing series. The world she has created is vivid with culture, magic and mythos, the first installment... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Han Jie
5.0 out of 5 stars Much Better Than the Miniseries
I had seen the miniseries on SyFy a few years ago when it used to be the SciFi Channel. I enjoyed the miniseries, so I thought I'd like the book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mel-o-rama
3.0 out of 5 stars A good story
After reading all of the reviews and the back cover of the book my expectations were hi. The story is good, but there isn't a lot of dialogue or character interaction. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Avid Scribbler
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple and Fatastic - (in both senses of the word)
This book is by far the most clear cut example of excellent and pure storytelling I have ever read.
I admit, the story is for a younger reader than I am, but for... Read more
Published 5 months ago by T. Jungclaus
5.0 out of 5 stars Visit Earthsea again and again
The world of Earthsea is so rich, textured, and well developed that it is hard to force yourself to leave it once the book is over. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Aunt Lulu
1.0 out of 5 stars Two different authors?
The first three books are pretty good. Ranking amongst the best fantasy novels I have read.
When I discovered Leguin continued the saga, I couldn't wait to get hold of the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by J. Flachs
3.0 out of 5 stars Wizard of Earthsea
A Wizard of Earthsea at first glance does not seem an original book. The plot - wizardry and defeating evil, seems like a very common theme in fantasy novels, so it doesn't seem... Read more
Published 8 months ago by T.S
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing storytelling, you will want it to go on forever
You will get so deep in this book that you will want to stay there forever.
Published 10 months ago by I. Ginev
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the All Time Greats
This book is one of my favorite fantasy books. Of course it all comes down to personal taste, but to give you an idea I'd rank this similar to:
Weis and Hickman -... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Sachmo
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