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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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  • Eugene
  • CHICAGO, IL, United States
  • 10-04-17

a beautiful story, beautifully told

I can't believe I never discovered Ursula Le Guin or Earthsea before! This book is a treasure. It's a beautiful and original story, filed with humanity and wisdom, and told in a pared-down, elegant style. It feels timeless. Although it is supposedly a YA novel, there is far more depth here than in most "adult" novels and I actually think adults will get more out of this story than children or teens (the central themes are overcoming the mistakes of one's past and dealing with darker elements of one's own character). Also, for those who (like me) are hesitant to pick up a fantasy novel, please don't let that deter you from this. This book is set in a fantasy world, but its power comes from very well-drawn characters and a moving story that anyone can relate to. Also, the narration is very well done.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful story with the perfect narrator

This is a wonderful work of fantasy writing by an author who has influenced many other writers in the genre, such as Terry Pratchett. The narrator, who also did the unabridged recordings of JRR Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, is the perfect choice to do this book justice - if only Rob Inglis could have been persuaded to read the fourth book in the Earthsea Cycle!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A classic: 2018=50 years in print

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Marilee
  • Stanstead, QC, Canada
  • 03-15-12

I love this story!

I use this story with my English 9 class, not just because it fits so well with my curriculum, but because it is such a good story. I first read it as part of my children's lit class in university and found myself enjoying it so much I read the remaining books in the series just for fun.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

DECENT BOOK HERE

I ordered this due to a recommendation from a friend. It was not bad and also was not what I would call good either

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  • Tim
  • Boise, ID
  • 12-16-17

Well performed, but unsatisfying writing style

The story is inventive and interesting. The descriptions paint a lively and engaging world. The narrator is really good. I was hoping to really like this book, however, the writer spoils all sense of peril and suspense by giving too many revelations about future events.

The book is written mostly in a third-person narrator style. The narrator is omniscient and constantly gives you clues about what is going on between all the characters and about future events. This approach to the story spoils the critical events, taking me out of the moment with the main characters and encourages me to emotionally disengage from the story, as the narrator has already told me everything is going to be alright. This manner of storytelling is very dissatisfying to me.

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this is a really old book

it's a short book that skips around all over the place. hard to keep track of I've listened to this like twice and it was ok both times not really worth the credit though

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Fun story. Reminds me a bit of Harry Potter.

Enjoyable and imaginative. Wish there were more legit female characters. Light reading with some decent underlying themes.

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Made Me Little

I read this story when I was ~12. I couldn't remember much beyond enjoying it, & having recently discovered some of Le Guin's other work (Left Hand of Darkness), I thought I'd indulge in some pure storytelling from childhood years. No regrets: a good story with refreshingly different kinds of characters and interesting values playing behind the fictional world of these wizards: one in which listening, waiting and knowing when not to act is the sign of greatest wisdom. It made me little again. Hope you enjoy it!



AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

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A great listen

I had a 12 hour bus trip and this to keep me company. Was great.