Sunday, September 6, 2009

Audiobook Review: A Wizard of Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea coverTitle: A Wizard of Earthsea
Author: Ursula K. LeGuin
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Pub Date: this ed. March 2003, Phoenix Books (orig. 1968)
Audiobook Source: iTunes


Ged was the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, but once he was called Sparrowhawk, a reckless youth, hungry for power and knowledge, who tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.

My Thoughts

As strange as this may seem, I sought out a book by Ursula K. LeGuin because of one of those crazy online quizzes--this one in particular was supposed to determine which fantasy author's works I most "identified with." My result was Ursula K. LeGuin and I'm embarrassed to admit that I had never even heard of her until that moment. I stumbled across this audiobook on iTunes and figured it was the perfect opportunity to give LeGuin a try.

In the end I'm glad I did, and now I intend to try to get my hands on more of her books. LeGuin's start to the Earthsea series definitely has the feel of classic fantasy. This was the first time I had ever listened to a fantasy novel instead of reading it, and while I found it was a little more difficult to keep up with things at times, it was definitely enjoyable to listen to. This particular audio rendition must be fairly old--it sounded as if it was copied from an old recording and the reader sounded like a storyteller, as opposed to the perfect readings that you find on audiobooks today. It's hard to explain the difference, but it really did not sound as if the reader was reading straight from the book, and I found that to be a plus when listening.

As for the story, it is a bit of a different take on wizards and their quests. Ged's quest is not so much to save a world, as it seems is the case with so many fantasy books, but rather to clean up a "mess" that he made as a boy in training to become a wizard. Of course, along the way there are other side adventures and we watch Ged grow and mature through the years. The story is a bit dry, but the writing seemed fairly colorful and flowed nicely. All-in-all I thought it was a great example of fantasy literature and certainly a worthwhile read.

My rating: 4 stars

If you have reviewed A Wizard of Earthsea and would like to see a link to your site listed here, please leave a comment with the permalink to your review!


  1. I read that book a few years ago, I have warm fuzzy thoughts about it-kind of want to read it again or maybe Ill listen to the audio this time...did you know there was a made for tv movie based on the books? It came out in either late 2004 or early 2005.

  2. I have always seen her books around but I have never read one. Thank you for doing my homework for me :-) Now I know to get my rear end in gear and start reading them.

  3. Sounds like a good read, I'm taking a note of the title :)

  4. I haven't read any by her either. I am quite intrigued by her though.

  5. I am surprised, I thought I would be the only one commenting that had to admit I haven't read a Ursula K. LeGuin book.
    It is unusual because I do read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy. It's always one of those "I mean to in the future" situations where I never did.

  6. Good review! It sounds like an interesting book, and I've always wanted to try a book from this author.

  7. I remember discovering this series a while ago. I had a hard time at first getting into it. Then, I got hooked and devoured all the books! Glad you liked it.


This blog does not use CAPTCHA, please comment freely! However, I have had to disable the "Anonymous" commenting feature since the spammers are just out of control. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment -- I love to hear what you think! Feedback and discussion are always welcome. Happy reading :-)