The Tombs of Atuan

The Earthsea Cycle, Book 2
Narrated by: Rob Inglis
Series: Earthsea, Book 2
Length: 5 hrs and 28 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,840 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A bold young wizard enters the labyrinth of the sacred Tombs of Atuan to steal the magical ring of Erreth-Akbe. Instead, he finds an unhappy priestess in need of a hero to save her.
©1970 Ursula K. Le Guin (P)1994 Recorded Books, LLC

Critic Reviews

  • Winner, Newbery Honor, 1972

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

In Some Ways, the Best of the Original Trilogy

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

If you liked The Wizard of Earthsea, this is a must-read sequel. I love how LeGuin pulls on a few threads from the first novel but mostly departs into a completely different tale ... in tone, structure, plot, and even in geography. Marginalizing Ged as a character until halfway through is a brilliant stroke and gives us a new character to care about in the form of a young girl, chosen one of the old powers of the Earth. The result is powerful ... lyrical, dusky, narrow in scope. Wow. It probably works best for young adults, as a coming of age story for girls. But it has a universal appeal.

13 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Narrative > Narrator

Rob Inglis's imperfect telling of "Tombs of Atuan" doesn't do justice to what is fundamentally a perfect story. Inglis's vocal range is not particularly strong, and it ignores nuances within the characters he represents. Ged, for instance, is no longer the youngster he was in "Wizard of Earthsea," but he's certainly not the elderly sage he sounds in Inglis's performance of "Tombs." Part of the problem is associative: Inglis uses precisely the same deep tone for Ged's voice in "Tombs" as he does for Ogion's in "Wizard." While this narrative decision does underscore the subtle parallels between the more mature Ged and his aged master (for instance, the way he controls the earthquake while underground), it mischaracterizes the age gap between Ged and Arha, which is not as great as Inglis makes it sound. Ged's voice is certainly deep, as the story explicitly states, but Inglis's rendition makes him sound ancient.

4 people found this helpful

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Best. Fantasy. Series. Ever.

I purchased, downloaded and began reading this book the moment I finished the Wizard of Earthsea. And I did the same for the next book the moment I finished this one.

7 people found this helpful

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A tale of a Priestess

This is more the tale of the priestess than it is that of the Wizard. With that in mind though, it is a solid tale well worth listening to.

6 people found this helpful

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Alone, no one wins freedom.

"Alone, no one wins freedom."
- The Tombs of Atuan

I adore Le Guin's voice and her soul. I hate fantasy. Or, rather, I have told that to SO many people I believe it is true. But, I make exceptions. Le Guin could have writen self-help and business books and I'd gladly read them. She was a feminist, but unafraid to write a book both with a female lead, and a female lead who is helped by a man/wizard. She is interested in power, in evil, in humanity, in big questions and nuanced answers. Her prose is very good, but her characters are amazing. She recognized, I believe, that the secret to writing about strength is to write about weakness. Just like the secret to writing about light is to write about darkness. This isn't one of her GREAT novels, but I might even change my mind about that, if the ideas in this book are still pounding around in the labrynths of my brain in a couple weeks. I might need to give this book 5-stars just to escape it.

4 people found this helpful

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The Tombs of Atuan

I read this and A Wizard of Earthsea after watching the TV adaption. As I stated in my review of the previous book, I was not expecting such a well written and engaging book as this one is.
This book follows Tenar, who is a priestess dedicated to vengeful and dark gods called the Nameless Ones. She starts out as a cruel and hard girl who grows into a cruel and hard young woman. Then Ged shows up and the story becomes quite redemptive. Since this is considered a YA novel, I wasn’t expecting good character arcs, but this book surprised me! I thoroughly enjoyed both the characters and their stories, and the well written world they lived in. Le Guin knows excellent prose and character development and these books have proven it. I am looking forward to the third one!
I will say, if you are looking for something resembling the TV mini series, you won’t find it here. The dialogue is not childish, the descriptions are brief but effective, and the story is darker than expected. Read this when you are needing a break from less accomplished authors!

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Dull and dreary compared with the first book

This book generally takes place in a dungeon setting, with a weak protagonist. This isn't inherently bad, but it's a significant departure from the vast landscape and dynamically powerful hero of the first book. I found it generally dreary and unsatisfying, but I'm still hooked on Le Guin's sage writing style and jumping right into the next book.

3 people found this helpful

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Classic read

It took me a minute to get used to this book.. after listening to modern sci fi and fantasy. But once I got used to it, the simplicity and depth enveloped me. Le Guin is always a worthwhile read (or listen)!

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Worth, but again short sequel.

It's really short for the price tag on this audibook. Despite that it was nice relax fably listen for me.

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Best in the series

As I began reading, I couldn't imagine becoming so emotionally-invested in our heroine: The sheltered high priestess/child of an alien, theocratic society, serving dark and cruel powers.

By the end, Tenar was my friend, as she was Ged's.

--spoiler--

Tenar. The true mother of dragons.