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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

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  •  
    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 2014
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    REVIEWS
    43
    1
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    Story
    "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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
    ratings
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    1
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    Story
    "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
    ratings
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    24
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Kathryn elgin, TX, United States 11-24-11
    Kathryn elgin, TX, United States 11-24-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well developed world, but hard to stay interested."

    Slow paced and the story itself is not terribly engaging. The reader does a decent job with the author's style which is rather elevated.

    The world is developed, but the characters did not engage me.

    Over-all, an average tale, in the epic fantasy style, but I won't read more in this series.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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  • J.
    London, United Kingdom
    11/20/11
    Overall
    "Magic like it ought to be!"

    This is a very thought-provoking read. Splendidly written and for once includes the responsibilities and consequences that come with great magical power.

    I wish the 2nd and 3rd book were available on audible...

    I was mesmerised.



    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Piano man 2007
    Europe
    8/28/11
    Overall
    "Good wizardry"


    I enjoyed this book, made me think of Terry Pratchett but without the catchy humor :-).

    The narrator voice was ok. A shame I can't find part 2 or book 2 on audible.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Macwoman
    Leamington Spa, England
    4/13/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unbeatable fantasy classic"

    I first read this 20 years ago and was moved to revisit it because of hearing the author, Ursula Le Guin, being interviewed on radio. She is still writing at 85, but I doubt she has bettered this magnificent book. The precursor of so much modern stuff - Harry Potter is built on its back! - but written with extraordinary sensitivity to language and character..

    The hero is Ged the trainee wizard and the story is of his journey towards wisdom, the obstacles he encounters and the suffering he creates for himself through pride and the desire for fame and power. It is gripping as a yarn apart from its fascinating symbolism. I particular love the theme of self-encounter. His first mentor is Ogion, to whom he returns when he has reached rock bottom in his ability to fight the shadow. Ogion says simply:

    'If you go ahead, if you keep running, wherever you run you will meet danger and evil, for it drives you, it chooses the way you go. You must choose. You must seek what seeks you. You must hunt the hunter.'

    There is a whole philosophy of life in this, as it works itself out through the story.

    I also love the setting of the archipelago called Earthsea, a mass of islands, inhabited by an island people whose knowledge is of the wind and the waves the sky, which is beautifully realised. And I also love the dragons! Any dragon lovers cannot afford to miss this book!

    Rob Inglis's reading is adequate but it is really time we had an up-to-date version of this classic that includes all the four books in the quartet.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mark
    4/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved the Earthsea series as a child..."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    & I really like Rob Inglis as a narrator (his reading of Lord of the Rings is fantastic).
    Really frustrated to find that the remaining books in the series aren't available. But still, it's one of the great fantasy works & beautifully read.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Wizard of Earthsea?

    Enough good moments that I wouldn't want to spoil them for future readers.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Whereas Tolkien gives chapter & verse, allowing you to visualise as perhaps he imagined things, UKLG is more broad sweeps, allowing the reader / listener more scope for their own imagination.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Don't do it! Series was awful beyond belief.


    Any additional comments?

    Any chance of obtaining the rights & getting Rob Inglis in to finish recording the rest of the series?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amy Oudot
    London, England
    7/21/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Proof that classic fantasy fiction is timeless"
    Would you listen to A Wizard of Earthsea again? Why?

    Yes, definitely. It is a masterclass in story-telling. Le Guin builds a world whole and complete that is both engaging and


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Vetch. A simple yet beautifully drawn character.


    Which character – as performed by Rob Inglis – was your favourite?

    Vetch. Rob Inglis' choice of accent for the character suited him well. He captured the essence of his likable nature perfectly.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. I generally listen to audio books on my walk to and from work (an hour each way) and found myself reluctant to stop when I reached work and sitting at home saying to myself "just one more chapter..."


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • crazy chicken
    4/25/11
    Overall
    "The Wizard of Eathsea"

    This was a bit of an experiment for me since I don't normally listen to fantasy/ sci-fi books. It is hard to know what category to put this book into. It was a nice story and the characters were described in fine detail. It just didn't really grab me and I think I will stick to more believable, realistic stuff. This for me is the great thing about having a monthly subscription: it means I can listen to all kinds of books I might not otherwise buy to read. I am glad I read it and it was a good experience.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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