The Earthsea Trilogy

By Ursula K. Le Guin

Rating: 3 stars

A Wizard of Earthsea

The boy Sparrowhawk leaves his home of Gont and travels to the Island of the Wise to learn wizardry, but in his youth and arrogance he accidentally unleashes a great evil on the world which he must set right. I quite enjoyed this book, especially the use of magic of names, but felt that the language was somewhat forced. It felt sort of forced-Tolkien-ian and jarred a little bit for me.

The Tombs of Atuan

In this one, Sparrowhawk travels to the island of Atuan to try and retrieve the lost half of a great ring said to be able to bring peace to the whole of Earthsea. I liked this better than Wizard. The writing felt more assured and LeGuin seemed to have found her feet and was more assured. I also liked the character of the priestess Tenar and how her plight was handled.

The Farthest Shore

The final book of the Earthsea trilogy sees Sparrowhawk and the young prince Arren set out to find the cause of the malaise that is draining the will of the people and drawing magic out of the world. This one felt bleak from the start and it continued in that vein. It’s a great adventure story, spanning great chunks of the world of Earthsea and the final confrontation is appropriately apocalyptic and bittersweet.

In all, I’m glad I’ve read these books now and wish I had read them when I was younger and they may have made more of an impression on me. I think that the middle book was my favourite, having a less irritating Sparrowhawk than the first and less bleakness than the third, it was the Goldilocks book :).

Book details

ISBN: 9780140050936
Publisher: Penguin Books Limited
Year of publication: 1972

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