I was in elementary school when I first got the Tombs of Atuan on cassette from the library. A Wizard of Earthsea is an even better book, and I'm truly happy to have it to listen to whenever I want. As the main character grows, he learns to balance his desire for power with the need to use it responsibly, and to understand the consequences of his actions before taking them.
It's a very classic coming-of-age story and the setting is immense, rich and powerful.
This recording was not re-done for audible, it is the original Recorded Books cassette recording, including the directions to change cassettes every so often. That's rather jarring, because it's a good 30 seconds of gap here and there with the "please fast forward to the end of the cassette before loading the next one..... A Wizard of Earthsea, Cassette X"
I really wish they'd edited this better to remove those. Just a small touch that really would have made the book more enjoyable to listen to. The story itself is a classic, but for audio, the listening experience matters a lot. That definitely takes it down a notch.
Completely rewrite the book. The characters were so very uninteresting, and the moments that should have been meaningful or suspenseful were about as boring as the rest of it.
Didn't live up to the hype.
Dispassionate uninteresting competent
Tempted to ask for a refund.
I don't think I'd need to, since it's succinct and readily understood, but I'd certainly recommend it to a friend!
This was my first Le Guin audio book.
Rob's performance was stellar. Involving, compelling vocal timbre and cadence, good acting and use of varied voices for different characters. I would liken his performance to that of a grandfather reading a bedtime story, though perhaps somewhat more restrained and refined. I removed one star simply because the quality of the recording is somewhat lacking, i.e. low fidelity. If he is available, it would be great to have Rob re-record this book, or to attempt to restore the audio if possible.
My favorite moments were when Ged showed his wit, cunning and heart, such as when attempting to learn the name of the Doormaster of the Wizard's School, and when interacting with his pet.
I gave the story a 3/5 star rating overall. In brief, I think Le Guin establishes an intriguing world that I would be happy to explore in greater depth, but I find the character of Ged somewhat uninteresting. [Minor spoilers ahead] He spends much of the book as rather unlikable, both in his personality and his interactions with his peers. As the book is something of a coming of age tale, he does undergo an arc, which is nice to see, though at the end I still find myself much more interested in the world he inhabits than in him, himself.
There are also some strange inconsistencies in the universe of the book - for instance, a significant passage is dedicated to one of Ged's teachers explaining to him why, contrary to his desires, a rock should not be changed into a diamond, for it could upset the very balance of the world. His initial encounters with powerful, antagonistic magic also leave him stupefied, or even blind and comatose. Yet immediately upon exiting his wizarding school, his first mission is to kill a bunch of dragons. His method for confronting some of them? To TURN INTO A DRAGON. I mean, the 13-year-old kid in me was going nuts - that scene was awesome! But, within a few short chapters, we go from, "don't mess with the fabric of the world! Don't change stuff! Also, magic is dangerous and seems to be draining you when you use it in confrontational situations," to "Oh, for your first mission, take on 9 dragons at once, and turn into a dragon if you feel like it." There are later consequences for Ged's abuse of transformations, but the way the book teeter-totters between building up compelling rules for the world, and then disregarding them when convenient, is disappointing.
However, it may be the case that there is some deeper meaning here that I am simply disregarding. Perhaps Ged's use of transformations is yet another by-product of his lack of maturity and, as mentioned above, he does grow up significantly throughout the course of the book. In summary, I was not greatly moved by this book, nor by the character of Ged specifically, but am sufficiently interested in Le Guin's world to be excited for, and ready to dive into, the next book in the series.
What is a man without his shadow?
Sparrow Hawk is haunted by a darkness, much like you or I. His left his face scarred, his confidence shattered. His devours the hearts of men. His personal contrast. And, like our own, his helps define him as a great man.
This book is fantasy in its true form. It illuminates virtues and good in a way only imagination can. Enjoy.
I likes this book. I would listen to it as I was working out, it's a good way to zone out and go a little further. the story itself seemed rushed though. I would just be liking where sparrowhawk was in the book, when it would randomly jump ahead. as for the characters, besides sparrowhawk, I didn't get too attached to anyone else, because it didn't seem like they were in the story for long to effectively grow attached. Overall, a good book, but the story was a little lacking. look forward to the next book though.
I first read this in the 70s. It was among the first fantasy novels I encountered, and hooked me into the gene. It was a delight to encounter it once again.
These days we tend to compare magic systems and world building, but when LeGuin was writing it was as one of the pioneers of modern fantasy. If it seems familiar at times, that would be because she helped to chart these waters. After 40 years, I had forgotten much of the story. To me, it still stands strong and tall on its own.
As this is an old school audio book, the narrator doesn't use character voices, and apparently didn't need to. His resonate deep voice carries the story along in a strong, clear, captivating tone.
There was a curious moment when out of nowhere came instructions to switch to the second cassette. But that adds to the old school charm of the book.
I would recommend this book to people who can enjoy a fantasy book for more than its action. It is appropriate for YA, with any dark elements being fairly tame. There is a coming of age element to the book. In fact, it has many delightful layers of elements to uncover if you choose to dig in. But some will want to know that there is not a significant love interest.
The narrator had a good voice and a wide range of character voices, but he inserted frequent and random pauses between lines and even in the middle of sentences. On top of that, many of these pauses were filled with heavy, loud, deep breathes, like they were easily winded. It was very distracting to listen to.
The plot was good, I liked the setting, the magic, and the characters. But the end was very anticlimactic. I mean, it made sense and all, but it seemed like they spent several days getting to the final encounter with the shadow, and then 2 minutes after landing on the island the book is in epilougue, and not a whole lot happened.
Overall I enjoyed it, but I expected more from the ending and the reader was fairly distracting.
The groundwork for Patrick Rothfuss, Terry Goodkind, etc
Inglis enhances any book he reads and elevates it to another level.
This series is a classic for a reason, it follows the genre work set by Tolkien, but branches out into a detailed magic system that the LotR never goes into. One complaint is that the plot just rambles along until it finds a conclusion. The has little in the way of a plot, almost just a character sketch of the protagonist.