A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, a review

A Wizard of EathseaTitle:  A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle #1)

Author:  Ursula K. Le Guin

Published:  1968

Publisher:  Bantam Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Date Read:  16 October 2015

Format:  Softcover

Source:  Borrowed from Pulaski County Public Library

Genre:  Fiction

My Rating:  4

GoodReads Rating:  3.97

Awards:  Lewis Carroll Shelf Award (1979), Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction (1969)

Review:  If you are familiar with fantasy fiction then you are also familiar with the different types of literary tropes used by the genre, such as good versus evil, the hero, the Evil Lord, a quest, use of magic, imaginative world-building, and European medievalism.  Even though Le Guin uses these various tropes in A Wizard of Earthsea, the novel is highly imaginative and certainly original.

Published in 1968, Le Guin had J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis as both contemporaries and as inspirations for her writing. In reading A Wizard of Earthsea, it is easy to see that this book served as an inspiration to modern day fantasy writers such as J.K, Rowling and Patrck Rothfuss.

Ged, also known as Sparrowhawk, serves as the protagonist of the novel set in the archipelago world known as Earthsea. Born in a village called Ten Alders on the Isle of Gont, Ged is the child of an abusive and dismissive father,  One day Ged hears his maternal aunt invoke an incantation and he quickly mimics the spell.  Taken in by his aunt, Ged learns basic sorcery and once she has taught him all she can, he becomes apprenticed to the Gontish wizard,  Ogion, who quickly discovers his aptitude for magic and sends him to a wizard training academy on the Isle of Roke.  While a student on Roke, Ged unleashes a demon into the world because he is consumed by arrogance and pride.  He then undertakes a quest to rid the world of the demon.

A Wizard of Earthsea was highly original and thoroughly enjoyable and I will be reading the other five books within the Earthsea Cycle.

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