Saturday, December 5, 2009

A Wizard of Earthsea

I was pretty excited when my book club picked A Wizard of Earthsea as the latest book we're reading. In the back of my mind, I had always wanted to read something by Ursula Le Guin, solely for the fact that her books are mentioned in the movie The Jane Austen Book Club. They're the favorite books of the character Grigg, the only male member of that book club. All of this being said, I was predisposed to really like this book, but was disappointed to find out that I didn't like it that much at all.

A Wizard of Earthsea is set in a totally fictional fantasy world and follows a young wizard named Ged, first through his schooling as a wizard and then, after he inadvertently unleashes an evil shadow, on his quest to first run from, and then ultimately confront, this shadow. And, yes, it's literally a shadow. The best word I can use to describe this book is "blah". I never really warmed up to Ged and all of his adventures were kind of boring. I found myself reading just so I could get through the book and move on to something else. In the end, Ged defeats the shadow by realizing that it's a part of himself. The one positive thing I can say about the book is that I did like the overall allegory of the story- how he was his own worst enemy, and had to come to a state of self-knowledge and self-acceptance. It seems like it would have been ripe for analysis in the Young Adult Lit. class I took in college, and I can see how this would be a good message for the young readers, but, on the whole, a disappointing reading experience for me.

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