A Wizard of Earthsea

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Book cover of A Wizard of Earthsea

Book description

The first book of Earthsea in a beautiful hardback edition. Complete the collection with The Tombs of Atuan, The Furthest Shore and Tehanu

With illustrations from Charles Vess

'[This] trilogy made me look at the world in a new way, imbued everything with a magic that was so much deeper…

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Why read it?

18 authors picked A Wizard of Earthsea as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

My son loved A Wizard of Earthsea because it was an interesting take on fantasy. He liked the story and the world concept.

He thought the character was pretty cool even though he kind of got into trouble all the time. The climax taught him *spoiler alert* that the only way to stop our darkness is to face it.

I read this book as a child and was immediately captivated by the rugged island nations and the rich cultural tapestry the inhabitants live within. The evocation of mist, mountains, remote shores, isolated villages, and their bleating goats form the backdrop to the story of Ged, the would-be wizard on his voyage to become a mage.

The self-discovery he faces at the wizard school (long before Hogwarts) when he unleashes a malevolent force through youthful ego and determination to prove his magic vitality leads him on a journey of self-discovery through the lands and within his own soul, pursued by…

I read this when I was in my early teens and I do feel that LeGuin created a remarkably immersive fantasy world – and at a time when far fewer writers had done so.

We follow Sparrowhawk, the young mage, who leaves his home and family behind to train as a wizard. Earthsea itself is a vast, bleak, mysterious archipelago. LeGuin conjures the setting with such authenticity and detail that it has always stayed with me. This is the first part of a landmark series.   

Dragon riders! Heroic quests! A flawed hero! Schools of magic!

The Earthsea trilogy has to be considered, alongside Lord of the Rings, as a template-setter for all the fantasy epics that have followed. What I loved about it, instantly, was the contrast in style to Tolkien’s book. Tolkien’s writing is ornate, his story epic. Leguin’s books, however, are short and lean with prose like a polished gem.

It inspired the style I aspire to in my own writing: slim, elegant prose, not a wasted word. And characters with flaws. In this first book, we follow Ged, a new student at…

Earthsea is a special place created from the imagination of Le Guin, and one that is firmly lodged in my mind.

I discovered this book as a young adult, and was enthralled by the adventures of Ged; how he grew from an arrogant youth with magical abilities to a fully rounded, humble man of enormous power. With dragons and shadows to overcome, and magic that felt so real, I was drawn into the world of wizards that Le Guin had created.

This story and the others in the Earthsea series have a simple moral message, but one with a long-lasting…

While The Lord Of The Rings will always remain my benchmark for epic fantasy world-building, there is something almost hypnotic about the ease and economy of Ursula K. LeGuin’s worldbuilding here, making it my “go to” book whenever I want to slip back into a fully-realized and authentic fantasy world without a lot of effort. 

At barely 182 pages, this tale of a young wizard trying to undo a spell gone terribly awry also stands as a thoughtful exploration of the mysterious and inextricable relationship between life and death. The world of Earthsea is described with scant prose, but every…

From David's list on blending the real with the fantastic.

A Wizard of Earthsea is a coming-of-age story. I also didn’t discover it until long after I’d passed out of my teens. Yet, A Wizard of Earthsea affected me deeply at a time when I was moving through earthquaking life changes. 

As someone who had been creatively blocked for decades — I had not yet started writing my book—I was immediately sucked in by the first line of the quote that opens the book: “Only in silence the word…” 

In the end, I was so inspired by the Earthsea series and by Le Guin’s writings on creativity that I sent…

The original boy wizard with a scar, A Wizard of Earthsea is a fantasy novel that has influenced writers to this day.

Sparrow Hawk/Ged is a boy with a lot of power and pride. As a result of both, he releases a great evil into the world which he has to defeat. It is a cautionary tale of the need to know thyself, and the dragons are a nice touch.

One of my favourite coming-of-age fantasy novels which, even many years later, remains so firmly imprinted in my mind. I remember having a bit of difficulty at the start (perhaps I was a little too young) but soon became utterly immersed in the magical world that Le Guin created, devouring the series with an ever-increasing wonder and obsession. There was a spiritual essence to Ged’s journey which I found incredibly powerful and moving, with mature ideas so elegantly and poetically expressed. A heartwarming tale, perfect for both children and adult readers alike. 

Growing up, I always dreamed of what it would be like to sail from island to island, exploring the simple villages and quiet meadows of a natural, peaceful world. A Wizard of Earthsea drops the reader into such an idyllic world, but then takes us on a complex journey that explores the morality of great power and the challenges of growing up. A timeless take on the hero’s journey, A Wizard of Earthsea is sure to stay with the reader throughout their life, regardless of how old you are when you read it. 

From R.'s list on YA to satiate your travel bug.

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