"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
Rob Inglis brings anything he reads to life in a spectacular way. and this book was already bursting with life all its own. I highly reccomend this book to any and everyone who enjoys High Fantasy.
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.
This is a great early sketch for what will be an epic series of books. I look forward to when Ursula writes "A Wizard of Earthsea" where I'm sure she'll flesh out the characters, add some cohesion to the world, and finish linking together the somewhat disjointed scenes. Sure, she published this in 1968 and released several more books but it's not too late to go back and finish writing this one...
one majorly sweet dude
This book is all right, but the narrator is not very engaging. His voice breaks pretty regularly. The voices he does for the characters are not great, especially things like dragons and monsters. It's a little hard to understand him sometimes.
Also, there's a part that tells you to switch tapes, and in the end it suggests you call a toll-free number to order more books on tape.
I'm not sure I would have gotten through this book had I not had piles of laundry and ironing and dishes. Yup. I listened while I cleaned. And even though my cleaning was mind numbing, I would still zone out listening to this book. It was very slow. The hero, Ged, wasn't very likable. Ged was kind of a punk. He did a lot of stupid stuff, and the only points he won from me came from being Vetch's friend.
The book did pick up steam, so I was curious enough to figure out what happens. Although what happens is tied up and ended a little too simply. And I was looking forward to some falling action, and there wasn't much of this either.
So that being said. There are some interesting question the book poses. Can a young person, though pride or arrogance or another failing, inadvertently ruin their life--like for good? How do we place our trust in others? And how do we arrive at the decision to place our trust in them? Just because we don't know how to do something, should that keep us from trying? What's in a name?
Of course the world building of this fantasy is impressive (and tedious). Also irksome how few women are in this book. It rankles that in an entire school for magic learning there are no girls and in among all these wise wizards and mages there are no women. Sure there are disreputable female characters doing some magic.
I knew it was a seminal work. Also knew it was part of a trilogy, but I have zero interest in hearing anymore about Ged.
Could be so much better..this is a seminal work -certainly deserving of a voice far more interpretive.. I don't understand why the narrator is British. From the cartoon movie to this, all of LeGuins work is poorly represented. It's not bad..it's just not great..
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.
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