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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new stage; some new magic and wisdom.....
Some have said that this is an ill-fitting continuance to the first three books of Earthsea, but I do not agree. It's a new stage, as all of the books contain much wisdom within their differing stages, and this one succeeds just as well in carrying the characters where we left off, into new inner and outer territories....Earthsea is a proper saga, so here we are in safe...
Published on 1 May 2006 by greenwise design

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4 of 4 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 14 months ago by Mr. D. Clark


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new stage; some new magic and wisdom....., 1 May 2006
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Some have said that this is an ill-fitting continuance to the first three books of Earthsea, but I do not agree. It's a new stage, as all of the books contain much wisdom within their differing stages, and this one succeeds just as well in carrying the characters where we left off, into new inner and outer territories....Earthsea is a proper saga, so here we are in safe hands, venturing believably and braced for insights into 'equilibrium'.

The story continues in the heart and mind of Tenar....of the Tombs.....

There may be less action here, and the theme is more feminine-orientated, but not jarringly so at all; this is a skilled writer who cares about her world. And beware, for here be dragons again! The books were never really about shallow action anyway, (left more to the imagination) but more about self-containment; inner being and harmony, with ideas about male and female energies, and believable motives for evil & ignorance.

The mature magic of this earthy book lies rooted in the practicalities of the world, and this book re-iterates this, whilest still being satisfying and accessible to read.....classic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earthsea revisited, 13 April 2006
When I thought my children were the right age I decided to introduce them to the Earthsea books that I had loved when I was about 12 so I asked in my bookshop about the Earthsea trilogy. No such thing they said. Then after a pause - we do have an Earthsea Quartet. I couldn't wait. As many of the other reviewers have said this book marks a shift in LeGuin's approach to Earthsea. The aproach is more reflective and the themes of abuse and cruelty, loss of power, and the relationships between men and women probably makes greater demands on readers.

One of the things I particularly love about this book is the attention that LeGuin pays to the practicality of her characters. The world may need saving but the goat still has to be looked after, the floor swept and the dishes washed. In other fantasy books these things tend to be used in contrast to the heroic action or for comic effect (think of Hobbit domesticity or Mr Tumnus entertaining Lucy) but LeGuin uses these things to make life on Gont absolutely convincing and also uses it to tell us or remind us about the central characters, their history and their relationships with each other.

Tehanu and the other more recent additions to the Earthsea series are a real treat. They are true to the original stories but open them up to a new perspective and more than justify LeGuins decision to revisit Earthsea.
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4 of 4 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
By 
Mr. D. Clark "londinius" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Power Arises In Earthsea & A New Life Begins For Ged, 27 Feb. 2005
Ursula Le Guin added this fourth book, "Tehanu," to the initial Earthsea Trilogy, almost twenty years after the publication of "The Farthest Shore." She returns to Earthsea, and to Gont, to chronicle Ged's life after he ceases to be Archmage, and to reunite him with Tenar. A new power and another champion of Balance, Tehanu/Therru, is also introduced here. Tenar's reflections on her life, the nature of a woman's power and her own place in the world are major themes in the novel. Although "Tehanu" stands on its own, as do the other books in the Earthsea series, the story will be more enjoyable if the previous books are read first.
Tehanu/Therru, a little girl who had been tortured, burned and left to die by her savage parents, is taken in and adopted by Tenar, now called Goha. She is a widowed mother of two, and a grandmother, living at Oak Farm on Gont, the home she shared with her deceased husband, Flint. The child is terribly disfigured, scarred both inside and out, and her new mother is doing all she can to earn her trust. Ogion, the mage of Re Albi, is dying and sends for Tenar, his beloved last pupil. He took her on as a student when Ged brought her to Gont many years before. The way of magic was not hers, however, and she left to become a wife and mother. Before Ogion dies, he sees an unusual strength, a special quality, in Therru and tells Tehanu to "Teach her all - not Roke." Shortly after the mage's death, Ged returns on the back of the dragon Kalessin. Unconscious, near death after his fateful voyage into the Dry Lands, Ged has lost his power. Tenar takes the crippled man, her former companion, under her wing to nurse back to health.
Ged's loss of magical power and his opportunity to explore new paths in life seem more of an advantage than not. "Tehanu" emphasizes Ged's rebirth, after his return from the dead, rather than his loss. As an Archmage, he sacrificed many of life's simpler, but rewarding, pleasures for power. At one point in a "A Wizard of Earthsea" he realizes he always wished to return to Gont - to forego "all wizardry and venture, forgetting all power and horror, to live in peace like any man on the known, dear ground of his home land."
However, just as all are healing, and as Arren is about to be crowned high king of Earthsea, danger stalks the former Archmage and his Priestess friend of old, along with the little girl they care for.
Obviously, in the 17 years between "The Farthest Shore" and "Tehanu" Ms Le Guin continued to grow and develop with the times. During this period the feminist movement, was reborn and had a tremendous impact on the author. I read the following comments by Ursula Le Guin in an interview, "One of the things I learned was how to write as a woman, not as an honorary or imitation man. From a woman's point of view, Earthsea looked quite different than it did from a man's point of view. All I had to do was describe it from the vantage point of the powerless - women, children, a wizard who has spent his gift..." "Some people hate the book for that. They scold me for punishing Ged. I think I was rewarding him."
Her prose, as always, is exquisite, as are this novel and the entire series. Bravo Ursula Le Guin!!
JANA
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not the same Earthsea as before, 20 July 2014
This review is from: Tehanu (Earthsea Cycle) (Paperback)
Although this story was written and published some decades after the first three Earthsea books, this volume continues almost on the heels of The Farthest Shore.

The main character in this story is Tenar, who had been featured in The Tombs of Atuan. We learn what happened to her after that story ended, and it is a rather humble, homely story that led her to Sparrowhawk's childhood home of Gont. However, due to Tenar's pale skin and foreign ways, many of her neighbours have kept distant from her. To some extent, Tenar's intelligence also distances her from her neighbours, as many don't seem to believe a woman could be intelligent.

The ideas and tone of this story are different from the earlier stories, even when Sparrowhawk reappears on Gont. He had also changed since Tenar last saw him, yet their changes have also changed how they see each other. But the former Archmage has enemies who wish to make him pay for their failures... and make Tenar and a young girl with burn scars over her face that Tenar has taken in pay as well, since they are with him.

I loved the first three Earthsea books. And I love this, too... although again, I would point out that they are very different. And don't get started on the TV films or anime... again, they're not the same. The books are well written and lovely bits of long ago and far away. Enjoy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed every minute!, 25 Jun. 2009
By 
B. Jonsson "Literate Warlock" (falun, dalarna sweden) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I read the Earthsea Trilogy as ateenager, then in my twenties and again, now, in my forties i bought a new copy. I then rejoiced to find a fourth book,Tehanu, which I immediately bought and devoured.

LeGuin has the remarkable gift of being able to write so much into a story and yet to keep it comparatively short in comparison with so many other writers who suffer from a Tolkien minority complex. LeGuin understands that her threads, her persons, her conflicts can carry the story forth without those extra hundreds of pages of lore, myth, songs and traditions of many contemporary writers. Earthsea isn't by far as well described as Middle Earth, or other places, but is tangible, understandable and feels real. One understands that dangers, as yet undiscovered, lurk here, but this is hinted at best. There is no Supreme Evil that haunts all living creatures here, the evil is more close to home. The will to live forever, the will to defeat and to conquer death itself, has disturbed the natural order of things and upset the world.

Tehanu is a very interesting person, with her disturbingly tangible history, a history that so many young women experience in many parts of the world today - Abuse and violence.
Tenar, her keeper and adoptive mother,is actually the main character, a sensible woman, seen as different, a strong woman in the hierarchy of men, a woman who has broken the bonds of slavery and lives free. Our friend Ged is here but a goat herder, a common man, an ageing man. They adopt Tehany, the badly scarred and disfigured girl, who almost never talks and who scares other people.
The trio of outcasts have to make a new life for themselves, a life without demands, without threats of exposure to the evil powers looking for them. Alas, this is unsuccessful and they find themselves in mortal peril.
Again, this peril is but briefly described, the decisive moments are short and abrupt, leaving me a little unsatisfied at first. Then I realize that this is how life is, the waiting for moments of action and decision speaks more of life than the actual outcome.
Having finished it I felt at ease, satisfied. Warm inside.
Thank you Ms LeGuin!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly brilliant., 11 Oct. 2010
By 
Absolutely superbly written, dealing with themes most fantasy writers can't even address, let alone handle with this insight.
If I had a criticism I'd say the end was a bit rushed.
But the relationship between Tenar and Therru is handled superbly.
Not very much happens at all in this novel, most of it is just about how someone copes with the aftermath of an awful act.
The whole book is a fantasy take on post-traumatic stress. Too often in popular novels, violence is seen as having no particular cost. The hero or heroine gets up, dusts themselves down and goes on as before.
Here the cost is enormous. You have three people Tenar, Therru and Ged dealing with the awful things that have happened to them. Tenar's care for Therru is particularly well done, considering she herself was traumatised as a child.
The only thing is, there is a question about whether this is truly a children's book. It's suitable for young adults, for sure, but I think it might be a bit strong for some younger children because the emotions here are raw and difficult.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "Tehanu", 10 Mar. 2010
By 
D Brookes (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
As with the other Earthsea books, the writing is superb, brief yet full of details, with all the emotion and character you could ever want in fantasy prose. It beats most mainstream fiction.

Talking about this book specifically, the story is very interesting and compelling, though seems to wander about a bit and is a touch less memorable than the other stories. Unless I'm mistaken I think it's also the longest, but still pretty short - however the brevity of the author's style still makes this feel like a complete and rewarding tale.

Ged, or "Sparrowhawk", is one of fictions greatest characters. I always recommend that if you start reading the Earthsea books, read them in publication order. This book is fourth in the sequence, and was originally slated to be the last. If you think you've read enough by now, you should probably stop here and ignore the last two books, as it wraps up Ged's character quite nicely.

7.5 / 10

David Brookes
Author of "Half Discovered Wings"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tehanu, 4 Mar. 2010
Lots of reviews both here and on the page where Tehanu is included in the omnibus are critical. I stumbled on the whole series a year ago and read them in one breath. Beginning with The Other Wind because it arrived before the others. I was blown away.

Such precise and spare writing that gives such a generosity of story - Azver is barely pencilled in (a few lines over 3 books) but he is all there. At the beginning of Tales from Earthsea Ursula le Guin speaks of symbols and how our stories that have meaning are outdated and how her writing seeks to address the sorts of difficult human questions/darknesses which arise.

Tehanu is not a comfortable book to read, or perhaps I am too powerless and 'outside', myself. I found it compelling, and The Other Wind all the richer when I reread it in its proper place.

Ursula le Guin turned 80 last year which surprised me because I found the Earthsea books so fresh and 'modern'.

Very impressed!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars le guin achieves the near impossible, 8 May 2007
By 
S. Egan (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
i came to this book after re-reading the original earthsea books. in this book le guin steps beyond the merely masterful storytelling of her earlier books and fashions to my mind a story that has the power, mystery and depth of living myth.

the narrative part of the story is in itself wonderful, detailing the more everyday aspects of living as a backdrop to ged's continuing journey of self-discovery. and the serious treatment of the interaction between ged's situation and tenar's way of life is really the work of a mature soul.

however, underneath that story is an even deeper exploration of the nature of reality in the mystery of tehanu. the book gently builds (with some fantastic revisioning of magic to include earthier realms) to an extraordinary climax which left me shaken to my very core. when it comes to wild, deep, trandscendant writing le guin effortlessly takes the pitch higher than i've ever encountered anywhere. this is developed in the other wind on a narrative level but revel in the mythic repercussions of this story alone.

a true gift from a writer who has honed her skill so much she can touch the ineffable.
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Tehanu (Earthsea Cycle)
Tehanu (Earthsea Cycle) by Ursula K. Le Guin (Paperback - 11 Sept. 2012)
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