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4.0 out of 5 stars the 4th in the Earthsea series by Ursula le Guin.
A rather odd little bllk. Very thoughtful and introspective - not at all what I expected.
But, for all that, I couldn't put it down until I finished it!
Such a good writer, and I am looking forward to reading the 5th book.
Published 7 months ago by R J Evans

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected, but not without its interest or appeal
*WARNING - This review does contain some spoilers*

I first read the original Earthsea Trilogy back in the 70s, when I was a kid. I was learning what I liked, and what I didn't, and I was given "A Wizard of Earthsea" to read at school, and told to get on with it. I loved it, and sought out "The Tombs of Atuan", which I liked, although not quite...
Published 2 months ago by Mr. D. Clark


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected, but not without its interest or appeal, 14 April 2014
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Mr. D. Clark "londinius" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tehanu (Earthsea Cycle) (Paperback)
*WARNING - This review does contain some spoilers*

I first read the original Earthsea Trilogy back in the 70s, when I was a kid. I was learning what I liked, and what I didn't, and I was given "A Wizard of Earthsea" to read at school, and told to get on with it. I loved it, and sought out "The Tombs of Atuan", which I liked, although not quite as much as its predecessor, and then "The Farthest Shore" which I adored, and read over and over until the covers fell off the book.

Here I am, over 3 decades later, and I find out that Ursula LeGuin wrote a 4th book in the series back in the 90s. Could I justify to myself buying and reading what is ostensibly a children's book? Too right I could. I've read it "Tehanu" twice now, and while I'm still not certain I have a handle on exactly how I feel about it, here's where I am at the moment.

Half of me feels cheated by the fact that all of the action takes place on Gont, that Tenar dominates the book, and that there are no great and epic feats of magic within the book. Yet the other half of me kind of applauds Ursula LeGuin for doing this. There is an argument for not giving the readers and fans what they want, but giving them instead what they need.

Here's what I liked about the book.
1) Tenar and her back story. This book pretty neatly answers the question - You've been chosen as The Eaten One by the Nameless Ones on Atuan. You meet a strange wizard from the West, who helps you rediscover yourself, and you help him to escape the tomb, while reuniting the broken halves of the Ring of Erreth-Akbe. You go with him to Havnor, and receive great acclaim, and then retreat to his homeland of Gont. You stay with his ageing, hermit-like mentor Ogion, and he goes off to become Archmage, and the most famous and successful magician since Erreth-Akbe himself. Then what?
2) The focus on the 'everyday folk' of Gont. In a way, the book takes the cycle full circle, back to where it began.
3) Ursula LeGuin's prose in this book is, as ever, a pleasure to read.

Here's where I think the book is flawed
1) Ged. The way I see it, the original trilogy is about Ged growing up. By "The Farthest Shore" he is so powerful, so wise, so together and so mature that I am afraid that I just cannot see him reacting the way that he does in this book to the loss of his power and magic. For me, by the end of "The Farthest Shore" he knows he has achieved his life's work, and he doesn't need it any more to be what he is. So I just cannot reconcile the Ged in this book with the Ged of the previous three.
2) * Warning - SPOILER ALERT - The whole dragon/human thing. I never felt that this was sufficiently explored within this book. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I can't help feeling that this was maybe meant to be either a much longer book, or maybe just the first in another series.
3) Preachiness. While I think some reviews on this site are making rather a lot of the 'feminist' agenda of the book, I do feel that there are times when the book has just ground to a temporary halt so that I can be preached at, in a way that doesn't happen in any of the other books.

So if you're like me, and read and loved the original trilogy and are thinking about reading 'Tehanu', it's worth thinking about it before you do. If you're looking for more of the same epic sweep and grandeur of the original set, give it up as bad job, because you ain't going to find it here. If, on the other hand, you are prepared to approach it with an open mind, you may well find that you can appreciate its wistful, almost elegiac quality. I did. I think.
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4.0 out of 5 stars the 4th in the Earthsea series by Ursula le Guin., 20 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Tehanu (Earthsea Cycle) (Paperback)
A rather odd little bllk. Very thoughtful and introspective - not at all what I expected.
But, for all that, I couldn't put it down until I finished it!
Such a good writer, and I am looking forward to reading the 5th book.
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Tehanu (Earthsea Cycle)
Tehanu (Earthsea Cycle) by Ursula K. Le Guin (Paperback - 11 Sep 2012)
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