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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overcoming Fear - Maintaining Balance - Restoring A King!
Young Prince Arren of Enlad, heir to the Principality of Morred, sails to Roke, the Isle of the Wise, to warn Ged that the world's magic is disappearing. Word had reached his kingdom from other points in Earthsea, and he and his father had begun to notice signs of this malaise in their own land. Sorcerers, mages, witches and chanters, no longer remember their spells, nor...
Published on 9 Sep 2005 by Jana L. Perskie

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars "The Farthest Shore"
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...
Published on 10 Mar 2010 by David Brookes


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overcoming Fear - Maintaining Balance - Restoring A King!, 9 Sep 2005
Young Prince Arren of Enlad, heir to the Principality of Morred, sails to Roke, the Isle of the Wise, to warn Ged that the world's magic is disappearing. Word had reached his kingdom from other points in Earthsea, and he and his father had begun to notice signs of this malaise in their own land. Sorcerers, mages, witches and chanters, no longer remember their spells, nor are they able to sing their songs. The names of things are on the verge of being forgotten. Wizards are being maimed and killed in some places. Men and women who have long depended on magic to enrich their lives, seem not to care at all anymore. Roke is "defended," invulnerable, protecting the Masters from harm, so the prince's warning is the first heard on the Island.
Ged, now the Archmage: the greatest wizard of all Earthsea; "the man who had capped the Black Well of Fundaur and won the ring of Erreth-Akbe from the Tombs of Atuan and built the deep founded sea wall of Nepp; the sailor who knew the seas from Astowell to Selidor; the only living Dragonlord," confers urgently with the other Masters. They know the Balance has been disrupted. Whatever balance remains, now resides in Roke when it should lie in the hands of a king. Eighteen years before, the Ring of the King's Rune was returned to its rightful place. This deed improved the world for a while, but it did not bring oneness. There has been no king on the high throne in Havnor for 800 years. Now a king must sit on the throne of Earthsea again, to wield the Sign of Peace and unite the lands and peoples. However, a prophecy must be fulfilled first: "He shall inherit my throne who has crossed the dark land living and come to the far shores of the day." Ged insists on taking action before any more discussion takes place about kings and future. He would go where the trouble is now, immediately, to find the source of the blight. He must find and close the hole in the world that is leeching out the light. Ged will take one companion with him, Arren.
As the two sail south and then west, they discover decay, decline, darkness, forgetfulness. Many people they encounter take drugs to numb, and to let the body be free of the mind. Others seem to have their minds' dimmed without using substances. Clearly, magic and meaning have been drained from the ports, towns, cities and countrysides of Earthsea, as has all sense of well-being and vigor from her people. The dead are mysteriously crossing over under the influence of a vile mysterious creature. Even Orm Embar, the powerful Dragon of Selidor, seeks help from Ged and Arren to rid the world of this insanity.
"The Farthest Shore," the final novel in the initial trilogy, is my favorite. Ged's and Arren's commitment to prevent their world from falling apart, is inspiring and often extremely moving. There is a theme of human development here, a sense of passing on the torch which reminds me of T. H. White's "Once and Future King," with Ged as Merlin, the mentor and tutor, guiding the young king toward his future. Arren is ascending to his power, moving towards his prime, while Ged makes the transition to old age, leaving behind his legacy. Both books focus on peace, unity and harmony.
Ms Le Guin examines the delicate balance between life and death. She focuses on the importance of death and how its inevitability makes life more meaningful. As with the first two books in the trilogy, her approach is influenced by eastern philosophy. The eternal cycle of life, death, the return of the body to the earth, and one's energy to the universe, is part of the natural world which maintains the equilibrium of our planet.
As always, the author's prose is exquisite.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous sequel to a Wizard of Earthsea, 31 Jan 2003
By 
Martin Turner "Martin Turner" (Marlcliff, Warwickshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Tombs of Atuan (Paperback)
Sequels are tricky things. The world that Le Guin created in a Wizard of Earthsea was so detailed and so perfect that you might reasonably expect the sequel to be 'more voyages of Ged around the archipelago'.
It isn't.
Instead Le Guin takes us to a totally different culture, a different worldview, a different language, a different place, and different main character.
This is the story of Tenar (or Arha) the priestess of the Nameless Ones, cruel spirits in a far flung but sacred spot of the Kargad Empire, known to us from the Kargad raid which begins 'A Wizard of Earthsea'.
There can be few sequels this good. Like its predecessor, this story is absolutely perfect - to the point at which when we first meet the wizard Ged, we see him with distrust through Tenar's eyes, even though we know him as our old friend Sparrowhawk.
This is a totally different kind of story, a totally different take on plot and person, pursuing a different line of philosophical and psychological enquiry.
If you enjoyed 'A Wizard of Earthsea' -, hey, even if you didn't, even if you've only just got into reading long books, - get hold of this, read it, love it, treasure it. You'll never look back.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great ending to a great series., 8 Jun 1999
By A Customer
One of the great things about the Earthsea Trilogy(I'm not counting "Tehanu", the unnecessary fourth book in the series) is that all three books are different in style. There is a gap in time between the events in each book, and as a result, the reader is plunged into a new setting each time. This may put off the casual reader, but for those who are willing to adjust their expectations(and possibly give the book a second reading), the rewards are great. "The Farthest Shore" is a fine ending to one of the best fantasy series ever written.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for older readers, 18 Sep 2003
By 
I was given the Earthsea trilogy for Christmas when I was probably 8 or 9 years old. I loved the first two straight away but found the last one tough going and didn't finish it at that age. As I've got older, I've come to find it the most moving of the trilogy. It deals with issues I think are of more interest to adults than children, growing old, death and powerlessness, and is quite dark in tone. But unlike Tehanu it does seem to fit with the first two books and doesn't have the unbearable rawness, bleakness and lack of optimism I found in Tehanu which made me wish I'd never even read it. The Farthest Shore is still full of adventure and wonderful descriptions continuing the exploration of the Earthsea universe and is well worth reading but is perhaps too slow for younger readers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sacred light in the nameless dark, 25 Oct 2007
`The Tombs of Atuan' is a very short book, hence this will be a very short review. But despite its brevity this story is as poetically penned and effortlessly gripping as the first part (`A Wizard of Earthsea') of this on-going saga. Admittedly, this story is more slow to start, partly because the meeting between the two main characters Tenar/Arha and Ged/Sparrowhawk only occurs halfway through the book. But once these two characters do finally encounter one another, coming as they do from totally different worlds, not just geographically but also in terms of experience, worldly knowledge, beliefs and upbringing...magic can't help but enthrall the reader, which will coincide with your speedy consumption of this tale. The harshest criticism of this book would be that its primary purpose is to act as a bridge between important story elements within the quartet, with perhaps less high plot-points to it than other tales, but otherwise it's a thoroughly enjoyable story. As always with Le Guin, sparsely but superbly written, short but sweet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overcoming Fear - Maintaining Balance - Restoring A King!, 26 Feb 2005
Prince Arren of Enlad, heir to the Principality of Morred, sails to Roke, the Isle of the Wise, to warn Ged that the world's magic is disappearing. Word had reached his kingdom from other points in Earthsea, and he and his father had begun to notice signs of this malaise in their own land. Sorcerers, mages, witches and chanters, no longer remember their spells, nor are they able to sing their songs. The names of things are on the verge of being forgotten. Wizards are being maimed and killed in some places. Men and women who have long depended on magic to enrich their lives, seem not to care at all anymore. Roke is "defended," invulnerable, protecting the Masters from harm, so the prince's warning is the first heard on the Island.
Ged, now the Archmage: the greatest wizard of all Earthsea; "the man who had capped the Black Well of Fundaur and won the ring of Erreth-Akbe from the Tombs of Atuan and built the deep founded sea wall of Nepp; the sailor who knew the seas from Astowell to Selidor; the only living Dragonlord," confers urgently with the other Masters. They know the Balance has been disrupted. Whatever balance remains, now resides in Roke when it should lie in the hands of a king. Eighteen years before, the Ring of the King's Rune was returned to its rightful place. This deed improved the world for a while, but it did not bring oneness. There has been no king on the high throne in Havnor for 800 years. Now a king must sit on the throne of Earthsea again, to wield the Sign of Peace and unite the lands and peoples. However, a prophecy must be fulfilled first: "He shall inherit my throne who has crossed the dark land living and come to the far shores of the day." Ged insists on taking action before any more discussion takes place about kings and future. He would go where the trouble is now, immediately, to find the source of the blight. He must find and close the hole in the world that is leeching out the light. Ged will take one companion with him, Arren.
As the two sail south and then west, they discover decay, decline, darkness, forgetfulness. Many people they encounter take drugs to numb, and to let the body be free of the mind. Others seem to have their minds' dimmed without using substances. Clearly, magic and meaning have been drained from the ports, towns, cities and countrysides of Earthsea, as has all sense of well-being and vigor from her people. The dead are mysteriously crossing over under the influence of a vile mysterious creature. Even Orm Embar, the powerful Dragon of Selidor, seeks help from Ged and Arren to rid the world of this insanity.
"The Farthest Shore," the final novel in the initial trilogy, is my favorite. Ged's and Arren's commitment to prevent their world from falling apart, is inspiring and often extremely moving. There is a theme of human development here, a sense of passing on the torch which reminds me of T. H. White's "Once and Future King," with Ged as Merlin, the mentor and tutor, guiding the young king toward his future. Arren is ascending to his power, moving towards his prime, while Ged makes the transition to old age, leaving behind his legacy. Both books focus on peace, unity and harmony.
Ms Le Guin examines the delicate balance between life and death. She focuses on the importance of death and how its inevitability makes life more meaningful. As with the first two books in the trilogy, her approach is influenced by eastern philosophy. The eternal cycle of life, death, the return of the body to the earth, and one's energy to the universe, is part of the natural world which maintains the equilibrium of our planet.
As always, the author's prose is exquisite.
JANA
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Guardian Of The Ominous Tombs & Dark Labyrinth, 23 Feb 2005
The tale of the "Tombs of Atuan," is the second book in the Earthsea Cycle and begins a few years after Ged's adventures combating the "shadow" force. In Atuan, part of the Kargish lands, a little girl, Tenar, was chosen at birth to assume the role of One Priestess of the Tombs of Atuan, where the ancient Nameless Ones are said to dwell. The nine tombs had stood there, since the time of the first man, since Earthsea was created. "They were the tombs of those who ruled before the world of men came to be, the ones not named, and she who served them had no name." When Tenar was five years-old, she was taken from her parents and formerly given to the Nameless Ones, her life until death was dedicated to them - the old gods. She was to become the High Priestess, reborn, of an ancient religion. And now she has no other name but Arha, the Eaten One.
Her days are all the same, spent learning the endless rites and lore important to her position. Arha is separated from other neophytes, who have been sent to serve various gods, and soon grows bored and restless. Beneath her dwelling place, under the Throne and the Tombs, lies a vast labyrinth where hidden treasures are stored. She had been introduced to the hidden passageways when she reached her teens and now spends her days, alone, exploring this dark underground maze. It is here that one day she comes upon an intruder. Since it is forbidden for anyone else to walk under the Tombs, or to show light there, she is at first incredulous to see the area illuminated for the first time, and to note the presence of a stranger who stands where even other priestesses are forbidden. It is Ged who is there to recover a most priceless treasure - and to offer the young woman a wider destiny if she wishes it.
The author emphasizes that Arha must make a decision whether or not to free herself from a dying cult - from the weight and darkness of the Nameless Ones. She must decide whether she is willing to work to recover her identity and her name. Ms. Le Guin again underscores the power of names that she introduced in "A Wizard of Earthsea," along with the themes of light and shadow, good and evil. She is a truly exceptional writer, whose lyrical and poetic narrative and extraordinary descriptive passages bring her characters and landscapes vividly to life.
JANA
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A meaningful, well-told tale., 5 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This book, along with its companions _A Wizard of Earthsea_ and _The Farthest Shore_, is certainly one of the finest works of fantasy to be written this century. I will not compare it to Tolkien's _Lord of the Rings_, for there really is no good grounds for the comparison. However, I will say that the writing is of the same calibre as Tolkien's, if in a different style.
The book follows the development of a girl, Tenar, from childhood through young adulthood. As a child she is identified as the reincarnation of the High Priestess of the Nameless Ones, and is reared at a remote desert place of worship. Her name is taken from her, and she is then known only as Arha, the Eaten One. As she grows older she begins to doubt what she has been taught, and spends more and more time wandering alone through the vast subterranean Labyrinth that is her domain as High Priestess. The coming of a stranger, Ged, triggers the solidification and exploration of her doubts.
This is a compelling, lyrically written book; though written for older children, it is just as well suited to adults. The author has keen insight into the nature of good, of evil, and of humans. The book can be read independently of its companions; for those who wish to know more of Tenar/Arha, her tale is taken up once more in a book called _Tehanu_, which the author wrote some 30 years after the original.
A glorious read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book, 17 Jun 2008
By 
Victoria Clare (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I am really surprised to see that some people have given 'The Farthest Shore' less than five stars. To my mind this book, with its predecessors, A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan, is one of the great books of the 20th Century, a book that every serious fantasy enthusiast should have read. I suppose this really does prove that no one book can please everyone!

It's superbly written, with a spare, clear style that is a complete joy. It's full of ideas about the world and power and death that have coloured my thoughts since I first read it. The setting is original and beautiful, and the characters are real people that I would love to meet. The story makes me cry every time I read it.

In short: if you have you have an attention span and a soul, but have not yet read this book, drop everything you are doing right now and buy not only this one but the other two as well. Then read them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The last enemy, 18 April 2006
Another great tale full of wisdom and moving eloquence.....and another tiring voyage of discovery for Ged and co.

The theme is Death, and there are comforting words here regarding its role for life and the Equilibrium.

Dragons appear again too, and there are some really memorable accounts once more, of their great presence, being and power.

A nice work of fantasy with a strong perspective, but there could have been something more here too, more likeable realism to the characters, and a bit more potter-esque drama... Still, it excels with its artistry and quiet wisdom.

I've yet to read the next one, and 'Tales from Earthsea' etc, so the world is not completed yet...
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The Tombs of Atuan (The Earthsea Cycle) (Craftsman Audio)
The Tombs of Atuan (The Earthsea Cycle) (Craftsman Audio) by Ursula K. Le Guin (Audio CD - 27 Jun 2008)
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