Title: 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.
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.
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