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Publisher's Summary

In the Uplands, people have magical and fearsome gifts. Orrec, a boy growing into his powers, can destroy any living thing with simply a glance. But he refuses to use his ability, and wears a blindfold to protect others from his devastating gaze. This allegorical coming-of-age tale shows that power can be cruel.
Listen to another book in this series: Powers.
©1994 Ursula K. Le Guin; (P)1994 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Rich in the earthy magic and intelligent plot twists that made the Earthsea novels classics." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ken
  • Boiling Springs, PA, United States
  • 11-10-11

Book 3 won the 2008 Nebula Award

I had never heard of this series and thought I'd take a chance on them because of the author. These are well written, thoughtful books that really deserve as much attention as her other works. Each audio reader does a good job. Each book could stand on its own, too. The stories are complex (I mean that in a good way - as in, not simplistic). It's just good literature. (...hence the Nebula award.) She respects the intelligence of the reader/listener and the maturity of her characters' thoughts and actions reflects that.

I really enjoyed Le Guin's Earthsea trilogy, so for those of you looking to compare them, this has a less dark theme and these are more about the people than about the magic - if that matters to you. As I listened to all three books, I found myself thinking, "These are really good books!" as I got into each. And they stayed good right to the ending of each. They really deserve just as much attention as other bestsellers in the field.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

LeGuin is guaranteed to please!

This is classic Ursula LeGuin. She tells a story which is interesting, drawing you in to the action and at the same time teaching lessons about kindness, understanding and acceptance of yourself and others. She weaves this into a tale mixed with magic and fantasy. It is written for "children" but is a great read for any age.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Andy
  • Williamsburg, MI, USA
  • 04-21-07

Great for Anyone

This is a great book whether you are into science fiction or not. It is thought-provoking and very emotional. It has turns in the story that makes it fun to listen to as well. Definitely recommend it.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Christie
  • American Fork, UT, USA
  • 09-01-08

Unique

This is a very unique story, but it seems more like a diary-type story that jumps around a bit. There was no real climax. The story itself was intriguing, but I think the narrator made the story a bit more dull then if you were to have read it yourself.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

quiet tale

I have had the opportunity to read 6 le guin books thus far, a mere drop in the ocean with regards to her large body of work. I would boldly venture to say that if you are an " A type , fast thinking, fast doing personality " her books may not be for you. Her story telling is quite , and un hurried . It is as though , the story teller has all the time in the world to spin the yarn. This method of story telling suits my sensibilities . I enjoy well put together thoughts and we'll written prose. Miss Le guin excels at both. I thought the raconteur was good, but not exceptional . He was believable and that's what counts . I had the great privilege to hear Rob Inglis do the three parts of " earth sea series" and I was blown away. He is a power house , yet quite in his delivery a brilliant decision to use him as the narrator . He added such depth to the story. This is not " earth sea" , but it is a good story nonetheless . At the end, the reader may ask themselves . .... exactly what does bearing a gift mean to me?. Is it a strange physic phenomenon , a quirkiness of nature, or is it the way that I carry myself in every day life , Respectful of the earth, my fellow man and all living things . Words to ponder and reflect. This is what le guin does. We are all given gifts , it's just up to us to open our eyes and embrace them.

  • Overall

Great story, very unique.

A very lovely story, a nice change from the everyday fantasy with swords and love stories.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A good intro for a great later book.

This book was fun. I enjoyed it. But the third book is phenomenal. If you only have a chance to read one book in the series, skip to the third (Powers). It can stand completely alone since the main characters of the first two only make cameos in the third book. If you have already read Powers, go ahead and read this one, but be warned it isn't as amazing. If you want to read them all, start here so you are saving your dessert for last!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Short

The world described in this book is fascinating, almost even more so than Le Guin's famous Wizard of Earthsea books, which makes it a real shame that we get to spend so little time in it. To be blunt, this program is way overpriced for only five hours. The story in "Gifts" is more like the pilot episode of a TV series than a self contained book. The conflict and moral issues at stake are truly interesting but are resolved in the last 14 minutes of the book with a too convenient death, it is incredibly disappointing, in fact I would go so far as to call it a cop-out.

I was planning to say that I was eager for the continuation of the story surrounding these characters except I made the mistake of immediately purchasing the Voices audiobook, and so I all ready know it's terrible, and fails to address anything brought up in Gifts, though the main characters do feature prominently.

The reader, while not awful, doesn't suit the character behind the first person narrative and that takes a little getting over. Enough so that I would recommend getting the print version of this book if that's an option. He is, however, not nearly as dreadful as the reader of Voices.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The gift of Gifts

I have always enjoyed the worlds created by Le Guin. Her character development is excellent and her plots are worthwhile. The first book of this series presents a premise as interesting as the magic in the Earthsea series.

While a bit more brooding than Earthsea, I liked the book and plan to read the whole series.

  • Overall
  • Jeremy
  • Virginia Beach, VA, USA
  • 06-09-10

Enjoyable Listen

I picked up a monthly audible account the day I was able to install the audible app on my android :) (beta) and this was my first listen. I'm happy :)

It took me about an half an hour to really get into this book, after that I really enjoyed the pace and plot line