Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk 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 Here s an odd bit of trivia I had just read Beagle s Last Unicorn this month, so it is still very fresh in my mind I agreed with everyone that it was a real classic with so much to love within its pages.And yet, right after reading A Wizard of Earthsea, I m gonna have to say I think A Wizard of Earthsea is better Not only better, but a lotenjoyable, fascinating, and exciting Not by a lot, mind you, but enough that I can easily say that this Le Guin s classic is superior I hope this c Here s an odd bit of trivia I had just read Beagle s Last Unicorn this month, so it is still very fresh in my mind I agreed with everyone that it was a real classic with so much to love within its pages.And yet, right after reading A Wizard of Earthsea, I m gonna have to say I think A Wizard of Earthsea is better Not only better, but a lotenjoyable, fascinating, and exciting Not by a lot, mind you, but enough that I can easily say that this Le Guin s classic is superior I hope this comes across as high praise because that s the intent I love everything about it It s all magic and equilibrium The magic is super impressive and the world of islands is gorgeous But most importantly, it s Sparrowhawk that I love This young kid has gone through a lot in his short years and almost all of the hell and shadow is of his own making Bad decisions leading eventually to wisdom, and all the while, the magic surges and surges.Want a dragon fight Raising the dead Awesome shadows underneath the waters Great discoveries It s all here.Maybe people just want unicornsI don t know It s not me I want magic that s clear and deep all at the same time, with a fundamental message that isn t corny and that s interwoven so deftly within the tale of discovery that the result is always obvious and profound.This here tale does that Perfectly I love it The hunger of a dragon is slow to wake, but hard to sate The Folio Society edition is superbly illustrated by David Lupton.The boy is born on the island of Gont in the archipelago of Earthsea This is a world infused with magic Not everyone can control this magic, but those who know the right words and have a wizard soul can learn to utilize the power of the Earth to manipulate objects and events The boy s name is Duny I can tell you that name because the name has no power over him His The hunger of a dragon is slow to wake, but hard to sate The Folio Society edition is superbly illustrated by David Lupton.The boy is born on the island of Gont in the archipelago of Earthsea This is a world infused with magic Not everyone can control this magic, but those who know the right words and have a wizard soul can learn to utilize the power of the Earth to manipulate objects and events The boy s name is Duny I can tell you that name because the name has no power over him His true name is something he can only reveal to those he trusts absolutely beyond question.I know his true name, but fair reader, I m not sure yet that I can share it with you His aunt knows a few things, a handful of words, that can be used to bind things or call animals to her Duny is particularly adept at calling falcons and other birds of prey His agile mind soon surpasses what his aunt can teach him He burns to knowHe is assigned to a mage, Ogion, who tries to teach him about the balance of magic with the Earth There is always a cost for using magic Understanding the levy for sorcery is the difference between being just impulsively talented and being wise about what you know You must not change one thing, one pebble, one grain of sand, until you know what good and evil will follow on that act The world is in balance, in Equilibrium A wizard s power of Changing and of Summoning can shake the balance of the world It is dangerous, that power It is most perilous It must follow knowledge, and serve need To light a candle is to cast a shadow If the flap of a butterfly wing in thecan cause a hurricane in Florida, imagine what a wizard can do with power over the weather It is kind of funny, but there is this one scene where wizards on different islands use spells to keep the clouds from raining on them This storm bounces between them like a boiling stew pot Now, a wizard like Ogion finds shelter under a tree and waits for the rain to stop To Sparrowhawk, this type of restraint is ridiculous If you have the power, why not use it Duny is Sparrowhawk, and you might think that is his real name, but just because you ve read a few paragraphs of this review doesn t mean you ve endeared yourself to me enough to tell you his real name Sparrowhawk will suffice for now Sparrowhawk becomes impatient with the restrained magic that Ogion teaches, so he is sent to magic school on the Island of Roke There was a magic school in literature before Hogwarts Indeed there was The first time he goes to the dining hall to eat, there is only one table The table, in a very Hogwarts fashion, expands to fit as many people who enter to eat Sparrowhawk is soon recognized as one of the most gifted students Spells and the names of things flow into his mind like lava, changing the landscape of his brain into something completely different He becomes powerful.He becomes arrogant.He becomes vengeful on those who don t appreciate his power In a moment of hubris, he summons a dead woman from the distant past and, in the process, opens a rift that nearly kills him It does kill the old mage who helps him close it Something came through Sparrowhawk is burned in mind, body, and spirit He is guilty of a death The shame and self condemnation weigh heavily on him He may become the great wizard he was intended to be, but the road will be much longer now The shadow from another world that pursues him becomes the devil on his heels for the rest of the novel This chase from island to island reminded me of Frankenstein and his pursuit of his monster to the North Pole The interesting thing about this novel is that Ursula K Le Guin s publisher came to her and asked her to write a book for older kids Young Adult wasn t even a term yet in the late 1960s She wasn t sure she wanted to write such a book, but she was nagged by the idea of where do great wizards come from We normally meet them when they are old sages in the vein of a Merlin or a Gandalf She wanted G erhhh Sparrowhawk to be seen ashuman,fallible than how most wizards had been presented before I liked the emphasis she puts on the importance of words in this novel and the power and magic that resides in knowing the names of things I had trepidations about reading this book I was reassured that I was in the capable hands of a writer I ve enjoyed before I have a bit of a knee jerk reaction to the term Young Adult because I m not a Young Adult I m an old fuddy duddy who has a hard time watching commercials on TV geared towards youth I certainly wince at the idea of spending hours trapped in a book intended for a younger audience I m somewhat alarmed at the number of ADULTS who read nothing but Young Adult The evolution of a reader is for that person to move from picture books, then ride the escalator to Young Adult, and eventually find the elevator that will take them onwards and upwards to adult literature I m still pondering this Is it an extended childhood Why would someone always want to read about children or teenagers Am I generationally challenged on this issue I am happy that people are reading, and ultimately it is better that they read anything rather than nothing at all, but I do think that theyou read there should be some evolution in what you choose to read I m such an eclectic reader that it is difficult for me to understood people being so genre specific with their reading choices Young Adult now dominates the publishing world Writers are being encouraged to make changes to their novels so they can be marketed as YA If I weren t worried about this trend it would be fascinating There are dragon battles, alluring women who try to seduce Gd to their own uses There are friendships made and lost there are painful realizations, and there is growth and acceptance of our own limitations Most importantly, there is a wizard as wise and as powerful as Gandolf or Merlin, who emerges like a Phoenix from the flames of his own childish conceit His name is Ged, but you must only whisper it, or better yet refer to him as Sparrowhawk, and keep in the locked box at the center of your heart who he really is He hunted, he followed, and fear ran before him If you wish to seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at If there were ever a time I d curse my constant reading of Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance or YA lit, it would be now.Because clearly, CLEARLY this is a fantastic book that deserved to be finished Ursula K Le Guin is a phenomenal writer and whilst this book up to what I read wasn t absolutely perfect, it was enchanting It was different, it was QUALITY.Yet I didn t finish it because, thanks to the aforementioned reading habits, my ability to concentrate and enjoy quality literature has slip If there were ever a time I d curse my constant reading of Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance or YA lit, it would be now.Because clearly, CLEARLY this is a fantastic book that deserved to be finished Ursula K Le Guin is a phenomenal writer and whilst this book up to what I read wasn t absolutely perfect, it was enchanting It was different, it was QUALITY.Yet I didn t finish it because, thanks to the aforementioned reading habits, my ability to concentrate and enjoy quality literature has slipped to the point that I am unable to focus on a book unless one of the following is occurring or about to occur.1 Somebody uses their super awesome powers to take down five bad guys with Kung Fu or a huge sword Preferably a glowing sword Preforably also throwing out witty one liners while doing so.2 Somebody is boning.3 Somebody is thinking about boning but can t yet until the sexual tension is properly built.4 There s some mysterious creature literally murdering someone in a sickeningly violent way.What A Wizard of Earthsea has shown me is that if my rate of decline continues, then I will quickly morph from a semi respectable, semi intelligent, semi quality individual into this Don t move It can t see you if you don t move What s measurably worse is that I will be proud of my decay and revel in it like a pig wallows in mud Like this only far less appealing to frat boys and those with strange mud fetishesClearly, this descent must be stopped If it isn t, the worst could occur We could all be sucked into a blackhole fuelled by fangirl squees and not nearly enough shame Pictured Not nearly enough shameSo feel free to help me, Goodreaders It s obvious I need help A Wizard of Earthsea deserved a better run on my reading shelf than it got Even if we have to shoot a Rocky esque montage to get me back into reading shape, I m sure it will be worth it I can use big words again It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soulThis seemingly simple statement actually says a lot about the human nature just as all the Ursula Le Guin s books that I ve read so far seem to doA Wizard of Earthsea is a simple but beautiful and magical coming of age story of a young wizard Ged, who starts out as a brash and cocky boy who in his arrogance unwittingly releases a terrible Shadow upon the world, but who eventually grows up and succeeds in embracing the It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soulThis seemingly simple statement actually says a lot about the human nature just as all the Ursula Le Guin s books that I ve read so far seem to doA Wizard of Earthsea is a simple but beautiful and magical coming of age story of a young wizard Ged, who starts out as a brash and cocky boy who in his arrogance unwittingly releases a terrible Shadow upon the world, but who eventually grows up and succeeds in embracing the darker part of himself A word of caution if you are expecting a traditional fantasy adventure it is,than anything, an introspective book, so be warned.You thought, as a boy, that a mage is one who can do anything So I thought, once So did we all And the truth is that as a man s real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do A 1968 book with a non white hero LOVE There are the traditional coming of age fantasy elements wizarding school, true friend, bitter rival, fighting a dragon, finding love But there is something that sets this story apart from the newer variations on the similar theme, featuring Kvothe and Harry Potter and the like Part of it, of course, is the narration The story is told in the fairy tale tradition, with that particular strangely fascinating, lyrical and melodic fairy tale rhythm But mostly is because instead of focusing on what is on the surface the learning and the adventures A Wizard of Earthsea goes straight for the deeper meaning, for what lies beneath the surfaceYou must not change one thing, one pebble, one grain of sand, until you know what good and evil will follow on that act The world is in balance, in Equilibrium A wizard s power of Changing and Summoning can shake the balance of the world It is dangerous, that power It is most perilous It must follow knowledge, and serve need To light a candle is to cast a shadowIn her amazing brilliance, Ursula Le Guin takes what could have been a straightforward tale of the fight of good versus evil, and turns it into somethinga lesson in self discovery and acceptance of the darkness that lives inside all human beings This is a story about the fascination with knowledge and the temptation of power and dangers of presuming too much and upsetting the natural balance It is a story about getting to know your own self, including the darkest corners of your soul And the resulting epic battle of good versus evil well, let me tell you that the resolution was brilliant and poetic, and I did not see it coming AT ALLHe knew now, and the knowledge was hard, that his task had never been to undo what he had done, but to finish what he had begunUrsula Le Guin takes the elements that would be a dangerous set up for fail in the hands of most other writers and somehow unexpectedly turns them into the strengths of this book Take the characters except for Ged, they exist only as sketches to support the ideas in this story it s not supposed to ever work but it does She brushes over the years of Ged s life and training in just a few words, not detailing the tedium as many writers are prone to doing Her worldbuilding is not very detailed, but manages to capture the essence of this world in a few brush pen typewriter strokes We know Ged is in no danger as from the beginning the book refers to his subsequent adventures as a great mage, but this seeming lack of danger for the protagonist does not diminish neither the suspense nor the enjoyment of the story My one criticism goes to the some symbolism overkill I passionately hated all the high school teachers neverending discussions about symbolism yawn , but hey even Le Guin can t be always perfect Wonderful, mesmerizing read that fully deserves 4.5 stars Loved it dearly and highly recommend