Books Read: A Wizard of Earthsea

I started reading this book on the car ride back from the beach. It was hard to stop so I could take my turn driving the last bit of the trip home.

A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin

Title & Author

A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin (1968)

Summary & Thoughts

We meet our hero as a lowly goatherd on a small island, where he is not very prepossessing, but we discover he has magic powers. This is a coming-of-age tale, and an introduction to a fascinating world created by a great imagination. Duny Ged/Sparrowhawk leaves his goats and his family, receives training in wizardry, and sets off on a mission to undo an evil he himself created.

Guys, why has no one told me to read this book before now?? I’ve heard of Ursula K. Le Guin before, but I think I thought this book would be more… science-fictiony? I have no idea why. The book has “wizard” in the title, which should have made me think fantasy, but for whatever reason, I had no idea what to expect.

…And I loved it. I love the world Le Guin created so intricately, and I love the characters and the ways she points to them having other adventures besides just the one she is telling. The book read a little like a myth, but maybe it’s just been a while since I’ve read any fantasy and have forgotten some of it works.

I like a good coming-of-age tale, and a book in which the character comes to know himself better and gains wisdom through experience. I also love world-building, and this book has that in spades. It’s billed as a Young Adult book, and I found it in the “juvenile” section of my public library, but don’t let the shelf names deter you if you’re looking for a good fantasy summer read. I’ve already read the second book in the Earthsea series, The Tombs of Atuan, and have started the third book, The Farthest Shore.

Also, I get the feeling that a lot of people instrumental in creating D&D (dungeons & dragons) really liked this book too…. Could you play Ged’s Earthsea adventures as a campaign? I think yes.


★ ★ ★ ★

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