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A Wizard of Earthsea Paperback – 28 Nov 1991

4.4 out of 5 stars 126 customer reviews

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Paperback, 28 Nov 1991
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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: RoC; New edition edition (28 Nov. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014015776X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140157765
  • Product Dimensions: 11.5 x 1.5 x 18.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,810,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Often compared to Tolkien's Middle-Earth or Lewis's Narnia, Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea is a stunning fantasy world that grabs quickly at our hearts, pulling us deeply into its imaginary realms. Four books (A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore and Tehanu) tell the whole Earthsea cycle--a tale about a reckless, awkward boy named Sparrowhawk who becomes a wizard's apprentice after the wizard reveals Sparrowhawk's true name. The boy comes to realize that his fate may be far more important than he ever dreamed possible. Le Guin challenges her readers to think about the power of language, how in the act of naming the world around us we actually create that world. Teens, especially, will be inspired by the way Le Guin allows her characters to evolve and grow into their own powers.

In this first book, A Wizard of Earthsea readers will witness Sparrowhawk's moving rite of passage--when he discovers his true name and becomes a young man. Great challenges await Sparrowhawk, including an almost deadly battle with a sinister creature, a monster that may be his own shadow. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"The magic of Earthsea is primal; the lessons of Earthsea remain as potent, as wise, and as necessary as anyone could dream." Neil Gaiman, author of "The Sandman
""New and longtime Earthsea fans will be drawn to these impressive new editions." "Horn Book"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Martin Turner HALL OF FAMETOP 500 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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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Born on an island renowned for its wizards, young Ged finds himself drawn to wizardry. Astonishingly, it all seems to come naturally, and he soon outstrips the witch who is teaching him the art. Arrogant and willful, he goes off to Roke Island to study under the greatest master wizards. His pride proves his undoing when, in an attempt to show his superiority to a rival, he summons up a shadow creature powerful beyond human understanding. Ged finishes his studies, and then must begin his career, knowing that somewhere out there the shadow is waiting for him.
Being such an old story, I did not expect to enjoy this story too much. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that the story was entertaining and quite absorbing. I was fascinated to see what the nature of the shadow was, and what Ged needed to do to overcome it. I have not read any of Ursula Le Guin’s books before, but I intend to now. I recommend this book to any fantasy reader.
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Format: Paperback
I first read this book as a child, but have since read it and the other 3 books in the series time and again. Far from finding the character portrayal cold and distant, I idenitified very strongly with the main character Ged and found him a sympathetic and realistic character.
The story essentially develops from a horrific blunder that Ged makes through his own arrogance and pride, and his subsequent travels and trials are his attempt to atone for the wrong he has done. Le Guin is an incredibly talented writer and her descriptions of the places in the book enable you to visualise them perfectly. She also conjurs up a very real feeling of evil in the dark forces that Ged must deal with in order to heal himself. There are enough dragons and magic to keep me happy too! I love her idea that magic is not something to be used whenever you fancy, that a balance must be maintained and again this is something Ged must learn to become fully mature.
Comparisons with Tolkien are erroneous. Le Guin can stand on her own and is incomparable.
This is not just a book for kids - I suggest you read this and every other book Le Guin has ever written!
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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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By A Customer on 27 May 2002
Format: Paperback
I would say this is a very fine read - in fact, one of those special books that come along every few years that leave you with a strong impression.
I enjoyed this novel as an adult; I doubt I would have as a child. Ursula Le Guin's style is beautiful but quite old-fashioned and sophisticated for children. The author herself said it was not meant to be specifially for children or any genre; personally I feel it would suit adult readers who like Pullman or Potter.
It is not entirely original. The dark force that follows Ged that he has a mission to destroy reminded me very much of Lord of the Rings. But the book contains some amazing passages that filled with awe for the power of the imagination - the scene where Ged first sets the dark spirit free into his world is awesome. These passages elevate this novel to the level of a childrens' classic.
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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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