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Gifts

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 6 hours and 7 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Recorded Books
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 20 July 2006
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002SPXJFI

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was surprised when I saw a recent profile of Le Guin in The Guardian which mentioned that she had begun a new series of books - the first of which is GIFTS. I admire Le Guin so much that I was wary approaching it - not wanting an idol to fall at this stage. There are very few writers of her age who would embark on such a thing and even fewer who could capture and sustain an audience for a fresh series of books. However, my trepidation was unfounded: Le Guin is (as always) an exception - GIFTS is a majestic, troubling and powerful book. It treads completely fresh ground - although there are thematic trheads that tie it particularly to the latter books in the Earthsea sequence: Tehanu and The Other Wind. It is resolutely an adult novel that only comes into the fantasy genre by default. As with all her fiction she sketches in a new world deftly and subtly so that you scarcely notice what it is she has done. She never uses pyrotechnics or familiar genre tricks. She just writes with piercing honesty and simplicity. Over the years I've read the odd review of Le Guin books criticising either her prose style or her politics: flat, dull preaching. To such critics I say "numbskulls" - Le Guin's prose is sparse, yes, but it is stylish. Her politics are visible but they are thought through and measured. She is provocative, but never on a soap box. I hope she is hale and hearty and long-long lived and that GIFTS marks the beginning of a sequence of books as remarkable as Earthsea was - but written by a wise old woman who, I suspects, knows everything implortant that there is to be known about the human condition.
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By Anne TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Jun. 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is mostly told as a story to a traveller given refuge from the winter and who wants to know why Orrec, a teenage boy, has been blinded. It's told in a lyrical manner in the nature of a fairytale or folk legend and tells of Orrec's story and that of his friend Gry who live in a life of small family based tribes/clans in a rural landscape. Each grouping has a gift which can be used for good or ill but Orrec's is potentially wild and has created death and destruction and Gry refuses to use hers as others want.

This is a simple tale - at least it appears simple and it is not a very long book. In fact, the author is addressing all sorts of issues around coming of age and family expectations as well as what it is like to swim against the flow whilst wanting to belong. These are issues dealt with in many Young Adult fantasy novels but Ms Le Guin gives these themes real depth and lots of thought in that straightforward narrative. Nothing incredibly dramatic happens here except the relationship between people and the awareness of young people that what they thought they knew is false. It's really powerful when you realise with Orrec the depth of self-deception.

It's a fantasy novel in a world with strange gifts but in the end it's a story about young people where the author reveals so much about humanity. It would be suitable as a Young Adult novel but I certainly wouldn't restrict it to younger reader.
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Format: Paperback
In Ursula K. Le Guin's GIFTS, the gifts in question bring more trouble than happiness to the novel's main character, sixteen-year-old Orrec. Orrec lives in the Uplands, a rough landscape where small clans squabble amongst themselves to maintain their land holdings and cattle herds. The leader of each clan has a specific gift: a mystical power that allows them to call animals or twist human bodies with the force of their mind. Orrec is the next in line to lead his clan, and his family's gift is
one of the most terrible: the undoing. His father can kill a man with a word and a gesture, and it is expected that Orrec will come into the same power. However, when Orrec's power arrives, it is wild and uncontrollable, and he must stay blind-folded to avoid harming those he loves.

The best thing about this outstanding novel is its premise. Everyone has wished at one time or another for a secret power. GIFTS forces the question: what if your having such a gift caused harm to the people around you? It gives no easy answers, exploring the issue with depth and feeling. The society and culture of the Uplanders is detailed and realistic, making the conflicts that much more powerful. Readers will quickly feel as though they've lived in this wonderful and terrifying world themselves.

As narrator, Orrec is thoughtful and questioning, with a rhythmic voice that recalls traditional story-tellers. He handles the tragedies and disappointments in his life with honesty and good humor. Despite being from a somewhat alien world, his view is very human and teens will find it easy to see through his eyes. When he is finally able to face the most disappointing truth of all, readers will cheer even as they share his pain.

GIFTS is an excellent read for teens of all interests.
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Format: Paperback
While not quite in the class of the Earthsea sequence (especially The Other Wind, the latest and greatest, but there again neither is anything else) this is still a wonderful book - economically written, moral, compelling and involving. I read it a single sitting then had to re-read it immediately. Looking forward to the next book in this new series!
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