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A Wizard of Earthsea: The Earthsea Cycle, Book 1 | [Ursula K. Le Guin]

A Wizard of Earthsea: The Earthsea Cycle, Book 1

When Sparrowhawk casts a spell that saves his village from destruction at the hands of the invading Kargs, Ogion, the Mage of Re Albi, encourages the boy to apprentice himself in the art of wizardry. So, at the age of 13, the boy receives his true name - Ged - and gives himself over to the gentle tutelage of the Master Ogion. But impatient with the slowness of his studies and infatuated with glory, Ged embarks for the Island of Roke, where the highest arts of wizardry are taught.
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Publisher's Summary

"The shapeless mass of darkness split apart. It sundered, and a pale spindle of light gleamed between his open arms. In the oval of light there moved a human shape: a tall woman...beautiful, and sorrowful, and full of fear." - from A Wizard of Earthsea, first in a tetralogy that includes The Tombs of Atuan and The Farthest Shore, introduces the listener to Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, known also as Sparrowhawk. When Sparrowhawk casts a spell that saves his village from destruction at the hands of the invading Kargs, Ogion, the Mage of Re Albi, encourages the boy to apprentice himself in the art of wizardry. So, at the age of 13, the boy receives his true name - Ged - and gives himself over to the gentle tutelage of the Master Ogion. But impatient with the slowness of his studies and infatuated with glory, Ged embarks for the Island of Roke, where the highest arts of wizardry are taught. There, Ged's natural talents enable him to surpass his classmates in little time. But when his vanity prompts him to summon Elfarran, the fair lady of the Deed of Enlad, he unleashes a shapeless mass of darkness - the shadow.

©1968 Ursula K. Le Guin; (P)1992 Recorded Books, LLC

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (780 )
5 star
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3.9 (622 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Benjamin 12-04-13
    Benjamin 12-04-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "ENTERTAINING!!"

    Do you enjoy fantasy? Do you enjoy ANY stories with wizards in them? If you answered yes, then you CANNOT pass up this book.

    The only criticism i have of this book is that it's too short. I think the target audience is younger readers, but enjoyed reading it for the first time as an adult. I have never read anything like it from this perspective.

    This is the first book I've read by Ursula Le Guin, but so far I love her. She knows how to paint a scene, without being too wordy so that we can actually enjoy a progressing story. *

    Love the Narrator; he's perfect for this one.

    *I read an article from George R. R. Martin where he basically said if it wasn't for writer's like Ursula Le Guin and her "Wizard of Earthsea" (and a few others), that fantasy wouldn't be where it is today. That says a LOT.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alison Austin, TX, United States 09-04-13
    Alison Austin, TX, United States 09-04-13 Member Since 2010

    Miss Construed

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I'm not in Middle Earth, I'm not in Middle Earth"

    This is a well written coming of age tale. It was excellently narrated, but I have to admit that for the first half of the book I was totally distracted by the narrator. Mr. Inglis narrated all of the Hobbit/LotR books and I'm afraid I've type cast him in my head. Just hearing his voice evokes Middle Earth. I had to consciously remind myself that I was not listening to a Tolkien story. Once I got past that, it was an enjoyable listen. I'll be listening to the rest of the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carly Pittsburgh, pa, United States 07-20-13
    Carly Pittsburgh, pa, United States 07-20-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Entertaining tale, suitable for young adults"
    What did you like best about A Wizard of Earthsea? What did you like least?

    Quick, inoffensive read. Despite great female authorship, the women characters fail to impress. A book very much of the time it was written (1960's).


    Would you be willing to try another book from Ursula K. Le Guin? Why or why not?

    Absolutely; I enjoy her prose.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John MENLO PARK, CA, United States 06-19-13
    John MENLO PARK, CA, United States 06-19-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Fair . . . well-written . . . but . . ."

    I'm still looking for the fantasy writers who can sweep me off my feet . . . I think if you're already a fan of the genre, you would enjoy this---the descriptions of magician-craft were well-done and interesting---but I'm beginning to wonder if fantasy just isn't my genre . . . because at the end of the book I'm just left with a half-hearted feeling. (one exception was the first book in Game of Thrones, but I'll be damned if I'm going to invest that much time in a sequel(s) to a book that ends with a "tune in next week."

    So for this book . . . well-written, fair use of a credit, but I wouldn't recommend to someone not already into the genre.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David B. Wood Atlanta, GA USA 04-27-13
    David B. Wood Atlanta, GA USA 04-27-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Not Bad"
    Would you try another book from Ursula K. Le Guin and/or Rob Inglis?

    Perhaps, but I'm in no great hurry


    What other book might you compare A Wizard of Earthsea to and why?

    Plot-wise, there are superficial similarities to Harry Potter, but it reminds me more of books like "The Dark is Rising."


    What didn’t you like about Rob Inglis’s performance?

    A little sedate. Narrative voice was good, but the characters came across a little dry.


    Do you think A Wizard of Earthsea needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    I believe there are several. It's not a bad book, but it shows its age in terms of style. Liked it, but didn't love it.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a digitizing of the old cassette recording. Unfortunately, the producers couldn't be bothered to remove all the "Please fast-forward to the end of the cassette..." bits. It's not that difficult.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenya 04-10-13
    Kenya 04-10-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Fills in time"

    very dry like a history book rather than experiencing the world as the character dose. The characters are dry so its hard to get behind anyone. Good to listen to while grinding in a video game

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    T. Shaffner 03-28-13
    T. Shaffner 03-28-13

    Say something about yourself!

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    "An interesting book, slower pace"

    While this book was interesting, I found myself wondering if the fact that it was written several decades ago accounted for the slower pace. I wondered if books had evolved in the same way movies have (you know how you rewatch a movie from the 80s now and the tension scenes seem so much slower than you remembered?). I enjoyed the story overall but never really felt drawn in or developed a deeper understanding of the world, I was just a bystander as the events were recounted. A fun enough read but not exactly the greatest book out there.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Chicago, IL, United States 03-25-13
    Anthony Chicago, IL, United States 03-25-13
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    "Classic Wizard Tale"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. Good solid adventure story and great performance.


    If you’ve listened to books by Ursula K. Le Guin before, how does this one compare?

    No.


    What about Rob Inglis’s performance did you like?

    His voice is perfect for these kinds of novels, his voice inflections and different voices for all the characters is lovely.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No, but there were parts that were so good I got lost in the story and couldn't stop listening.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 11-13-12
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    "Excellent Story - Narration could be better"
    What made the experience of listening to A Wizard of Earthsea the most enjoyable?

    I have loved these stories from the time I was a teen.


    Any additional comments?

    Narration was very good except that I couldn't help feeling like the narrator was on the edge of a cold or a sore throat because at times it was as if his voice were ready to fail him. Other than that it was very well done.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Thompson 03-17-12 Member Since 2010
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    "The Earthsea Cycle, a Necessary Listen"



    The Earthsea Cycle is a series that has been with me my whole life. It is, next to Tolkien, one of the richest fantasy worlds I have ever encountered, which, I suppose, speaks more to my lifelong attachment than anything else. However, these books are undoubtedly epic fantasy in the tolkienian tradition.
    A Wizard of Earthsea, the first book in the cycle, is about a boy who goes to wizard school???remember, this is long before harry Potter was ever thought of. Ged, or Sparrowhawk as he is called, arrives at the island of roke ready to learn the art magic. His exceptional skill and excessive pride cause him to release a shadow from Unlife during a test of power against his rival. The shadow attacks Ged, leaving him injured, scarred, and uncertain of his skill. After leaving the school with his staff that marks him as a wizard, Ged at first lives in fear of the Shadow that will find him and consume him if it can, until he chooses to hunt the thing across the archipelago of Earthsea.
    leGuin???s Earthsea Cycle can seem unrelentingly serious at times, but these are meditative fantasies that Give you characters you have to deal with. No fast-food fantasy here.
    What makes this favourite of mine even better is that it???s read by Rob Inglis, one of my favourite readers. Mr. Inglis also reads The tombs of Atuan and the Farthest Shore, the second and third books in the Earthsea Cycle. Five stars of five for this exceptional book and wonderful reader.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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