"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
stunningly beautiful prose in a haunting and deceptively simple story of magic and wizardry so familiar because it's been so often imitated, often without success.
The story is s tapestry of dragons wizards village folk and " The Old Powers" of Earthsea. Leguin writes in an easy folk lord fashion. Englace captures the essence of the story perfectly. IMO. This is a better trilogy than Tolkien... although not as broad an undertaking Leguin covers much ground with no wasted prose. My favorite fantasy novel by far. It is too bad she pretty much destroyed it all with " The Other Wind" which I find hard to believe she actually wrote.... doesn't sound like her at all and it belittles most of the philosophy behind this original trilogy... either Leguin sold out to a ghost writer or she lost it mentally. I prefer to ignore the Other Wind" after all beauty is in the eye that sees.
First off, this is the second book I've listened to that is narrated by Rob Inglis. Either he only narrates fantasy books that have really poor execution, or I just don't like his narration. Or possibly both. There is just something about the way he narrates that makes me zone out or yearn to take a nap. However, regardless of my personal tastes regarding his narrating-prowess, this audiobook was objectively lousy. It's re-released audio from way back when you found audiobooks on cassette. How do I know this? Because the audiobook told me to flip/change my cassette! There is zero reason that that shouldn't have been cut when released as an audible audiobook.
As for the book itself, there was just something about the writing that I could not get into. It's written in a way that seems somehow distant. Like, I went through 7+ hours of the book and by the end I still didn't feel as if I really knew Geb any more than I would know the hero of a Grimm's fairy tale. And even what I did get of Geb wasn't particularly endearing. Honestly, none of the characters was particularly likable or even memorable. They were all mostly just boring. It was impossible for me to become invested in any of them.
That isn't to say that the book doesn't have any strengths. One of the things I enjoyed most about it was learning about the system of magic that their world contains. Even the events and story itself would be entertaining if it wasn't bogged down by such dull writing and uninteresting characters.
Having never read this book, nor having more than passing knowledge of the author, I gave this audiobook a try based on a strong recommendation. The story seems to presage very well known fantasy fiction of more recent times, so much so that they have to be considered part homage at a minimum. Yet it stands apart in the author's light reliance on magic to propel. I'm now looking forward to the next book in the series!
Performance wise, I have no criticism, though predictably an American author has been given voice by regional and class accents of the British Isles. I would have welcomed a different approach.
Hi, I am married, have 4 dogs! I work, and I write novels in my spare time! I see the value of a book, but love audiobooks! Cheese to you!
poetic, seascrolls, interesting
Ged of course, main character. The whole magic used by a boy is interesting, running around full of pride, sort of full of himself. He grows and is humbled.
I liked him as the narrator he had a calm cadence in his voice. He pronounced things clearly, occasionally I could hear the sound of the tape (recorded from a tape I believe ) and sometimes you could hear him take a breath. It felt very much like an old uncle telling me about Ged.
I liked the Shadow tearing the hell out of Ged. Chewing him up! HA funny. That and the idea of shaping the fog to save the town, combined with concealment. interesting how the story proceeds.
The time I read it as a boy, i really enjoyed the book. Listening to it, reminded me of how it was then, and how i feel now. Kind of a surreal experience, and i enjoyed it now at 50, as much as i had enjoyed it at 10. :-)
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