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A wizard of earthsea. Illus. by Ruth Robbins Unknown Binding – 1968


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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 205 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books U.S.A.; Paperback edition (1968)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0007HQBQS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,557,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ursula Le Guin has won many awards, including a National Book Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Newbery Honor and the World Fantasy Award For Life Achievement.

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First Sentence
THE island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm-racked Northeast Sea, is a land famous for wizards. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Martin Turner HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Jan 2003
Format: Paperback
A Wizard of Earthsea ranks alongside Narnia and Middle-earth as a masterpiece of other world fantasy for children. Of course, this claim is made fairly frequently and for every new fantasy writer - but A Wizard of Earthsea has stood the test of time.
Set in a world far more detailed and fully realised than Philip Pullman's or JK Rowling's, this is a powerful tale of a child - Ged - growing up to be a wizard and having to meet the consequences of a single catastrophic failure in adolescence.
The scope is enormous. It wakes feelings of majesty, power, compassion, fear, terror, joy, frustration and freedom. Dragons' lair, the sea, countless islands, twisting streets, tiny villages, the weather and the world of the dead are some of the settings.
The story, the imagination and the author's voice never falter. This is in many respects a perfect work - the same thing that Tolkien achieved in the Hobbit but failed to achieve in the Lord of the Rings, and Lewis achieved with the first six Narnia books but failed in the Last Battle.
A must read - even if you don't like fantasy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Aug 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My finding of this book occured much like Clinton Rickard's finding, but just a little different. It was assigned for my summer reading entering into the tenth grade (although I believe that it is suitable for someone entering eighth or ninth grade and anything higher than that). Guessing that it would be the harder of the two books assigned, I decided to read it first and give myself a longer time to read it. Expecting to take a few days to get through it, I planned my schedule around reading it (taking an hour out of my day is not easy). Surprisingly enough, I ended up starting *and* finishing it on the first night. A story dealing with sorcerers, wizards, mages, (clerics?), dragons, and every other amazing fantasy-style character you could imagine. Of course, you say, I could write a story that involves those characters. True. Yet when you would go to compare it to this ... it would (blatantly) suck. I find this story so involving ... so gripping (especially during the times of high suspense, when the equilibrium between the powers of the light and of the dark is shifted, and "the shadow" is inadvertently allowed into the world) that it would be virtually impossible to rip yourself back into the real world before finishing it without pondering deeply why the story took its certain course, or why the characters did what they did. (I know that sounds a bit generic, but this story is *definitely* *not* *generic*.) One of those "must-reads", I would say.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Oct 1999
Format: Paperback
To rate this book is not really a challenge.....the five crowns come up straight away. From the first page you feel for the charaters and wahnt to know more. It really is a book you cant put down. This tale of one young mans pride leading to disaster and then the rebuilding of his shattered life makes for compellig reading...once finished you maybe thrrsting for more so when you find the other three in quartet oyu'll be running to the libary to get them :-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Mar 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
LeGuin creates a completely believable world reminiscient of the days when Viking pirates plundered European settlements. Earthsea is an archipelago of small and large islands, ruled by island kings threatened by seagoing marauders and the occasional dragon. It is a region still subject to the creative power which formed the islands out of the sea and still endows a few of its inhabitants with some degree of magical power. From amongst these some are drawn to train as fully fledged wizards on the island of Roke so as to serve the island kings or attend to woes of the island people.
Into this world the young rustic boy Ged is born with exceptional powers which after their initial wonder and excitement prove more of a burden to him and serve instead to separate him from his family and people. LeGuin writes an intriguing tale of the loneliness of power and the terrible consequences of our actions, even if it is unintentional or well-meaning.
LeGuin demonstrates clearly that she is one of the few writers who appreciates that power even of the magical kind has its own rules and limitations which may set us on a path which taxes us to our limits and may deprive of us of life's simpler pleasures and the gift of peace of mind. And so Ged discovers that simple pranks when dabbling in magic have fateful consequences which pursue him to the ends of his world and that a wizard is not the master of his world but very much its servant with his hands not only full but tied.
Why and how is explained carefully and ingeniously through the course of the three novels, teaching us why magicians deserve our respect and our pity.
But LeGuin can be merciful and Ged's lonely life finds unexpected peace and comfort in the concluding novel Tehanu.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 April 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read this book two years ago when i was 22 and away on holiday with my fiance. It is one of his favourite books, and he has read the whole series time and again. I enjoy reading all types of literature, although science-fiction and fantasy books are my favourite. I have always favoured sci-fi, especially Asimov and Clarke, and my fiance fantasy, particularly Tolkien and Le Guin. This book, along with The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, have made me as passionate about fantasy as sci-fi.
The book works on many levels, as a good story, as escapism, as a gateway to an incredible fantasy land, and as something far deeper. The story is thought-provoking and compelling, rich and meaningful. The book examines how we consider ourselves and the world around us. What is our real self ? What are we capable of ? How do our actions influence the world around us ? How do the names that we apply to objects affect how we view and understand them ?
A brilliant book that i would recommend to anyone of any age. I think its ridiculous that great literature such as this, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, C.S. Lewis, and so on get classified as "childrens books". They are books for everyone with imagination, who enjoys good story-telling, and interesting and unusual characters. They are tales which leave strong images for years after reading, which make you want to go back to read again and again, which offer something new each time they are read, which make you want to tell other people about them, which enthrall and inspire you, which leave you with plenty to think and talk about, and which push back the boundaries of your thoughts and imagination.
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