Tuesday, 1 May 2012

A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula Le Guin (1968)

I had to read this book for my english class, I could choose between this and Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings so I chose this, and I'm glad I did.

Although it isn't written as well or as interestingly as other fantasy books I've read I still quite liked the plot of this book. I think a downfall of the plot of this story though it that it drags on a bit too long, after Ged creates the shadow, he spend 100 pages trying to chase it down, which I think is a little overkill especially in the chapters where nothing but travelling happens. My favourite character in this book is Vetch, it's not like there are many characters to choose from, and this is probably the obvious choice but I liked his character without Le Guin needing to go into too many details, which I think is really clever. I would recommend this book to any fantasy fans, especially hardcore ones considering my teacher calls Le Guin the "female Tolkien" of the genre.

Duny is a little boy who learns he can do magic from his aunt, a village witch. When his village is attacked when Duny is twelve he performs great magic beyond his years to save them. Ogion is a sorcerer who takes notice of him and lets him be his apprentice, along with naming him with his true name; Ged. Ged however seems to be too curious to learn from the patient and Yoda-like Ogion so he travels to the island of Roke to learn at the wizard's school. When there he makes an enemy of Jasper and in a competition in which he is determined to beat him, Ged summons the spirit of a dead person, but in doing so he nearly dies and creates a shadow creature who will continue to follow him for the rest of his life and try to take his body. Once Ged graduates from the school of Roke and becomes a wizard, he starts to follow his shadow to try to defeat it, the shadow knows his true name however so Ged cannot perform any magic on it. Instead after travelling and battling with it many times, Ged realizes the shadow is part of him and accepts it as so.

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