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"The shapeless mass of darkness split apart. It sundered, and a pale spindle of light gleamed between his open arms. In the oval of light there moved a human shape: a tall woman ... beautiful, and sorrowful, and full of fear." - from A Wizard of Earthsea, first in a tetralogy that includes The Tombs of Atuan and The Farthest Shore, introduces the listener to Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, known also as Sparrowhawk. When Sparrowhawk casts a spell that saves his village from destruction at the hands of the invading Kargs, Ogion, the Mage of Re Albi, encourages the boy to apprentice himself in the art of wizardry. So, at the age of 13, the boy receives his true name - Ged - and gives himself over to the gentle tutelage of the Master Ogion. But impatient with the slowness of his studies and infatuated with glory, Ged embarks for the Island of Roke, where the highest arts of wizardry are taught. There, Ged's natural talents enable him to surpass his classmates in little time. But when his vanity prompts him to summon Elfarran, the fair lady of the Deed of Enlad, he unleashes a shapeless mass of darkness - the shadow.
©1968 Ursula K. Le Guin (P)1992 Recorded Books, LLC

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Notations

Global

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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Marjorie
  • 14/05/2012

A little gem, excellently narrated.

A Wizard of Earthsea is the first installment of Ursula K. Le Guin's classic fantasy. Having read the Earthsea novels (five in all, plus a collection of short tales) years ago, I was very happy with this audio version, which is beautifully done. Re-visiting Earthsea, it's interesting to notice how many of what are now conventions of fantasy writing were in fact pioneered by Le Guin so long ago.

One thing that's different about her books: the writing is beautiful but spare. She can tell you in a few paragraphs what other fantasy writers seem to need long chapters to explain. Each of the Earthsea books comes in at something around 200 pages, quite a contrast to the bloated tomes of so many contemporary fantasy writers.

27 sur 28 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Finance Guy
  • 03/08/2010

Elegant & unique fantasy, deliciously performed

I can't believe I didn't listen to or read this book sooner. Ursula K. Le Guin has rekindled my believe that fantasy can be a legitimate literary genre.

Charming and entertaining like a fairy tale but simultaneously dripping with the suspense, drama, and authenticity of a Viking Saga or Epic Poem, A Wizard of Earthsea (the first of the series) cannot be ignored by any serious fantasy reader. So much sub-par fantasy is written in this, age of World of Warcraft and Eragon, that it's refreshing to have Ursula K. Le Guin to discover and delight in.

The narrator of this book makes it sound like he is recounting an ancient tale around some campfire in the Iron Age. Amazing!

44 sur 48 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
  • B. Mertz
  • 02/06/2011

This one is a classic for a reason

Incredibly engaging, masterfully crafted, full of some of the best-written and most complex wizards you will find in literature, A Wizard of Earthsea is the fantasy genre at its absolute finest.

Those of us who read a lot of fantasy have read too many "kid goes to wizard school" books. Many are badly written with flat characters and predictable plotlines. Ursula Le Guin dazzles in this book, which though originally published in 1968, reads as fresh and new and inspiring as all great art does. The old fantasy archetypes are brilliantly and creatively revisited, and adventure abounds.

Anyone who loves fantasy will love Earthsea, and those who don't may find this an ideal introduction. Kids, adults, you name it, Earthsea is short, well-paced, suspenseful, epic, and a delight to read. This audiobook version is excellent.

17 sur 19 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian
  • 03/02/2015

An old favorite beautifully realized

I had forgotten how beautiful and spare LeGuin's writing can be. Here she's like a cross between Tolkien and Hemingway: lyrical, but no extraneous cruft.

I am a big fan of the performer/narrator, Rob Inglis, who can also be heard reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I was so happy to find more opportunities to listen to him read to me.

16 sur 18 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Robert
  • 09/05/2013

A Classic

While Ursula K. Le Guin wrote several novels about the fantasy world of Earthsea, A Wizard of Earthsea appears to be the first of the main cycle by that name. I found it difficult to pin down whether the series is written for children and/or adults. I concluded that while there are a number of philosophical themes that adults could appreciate, the target audience was probably that of a younger age. Let’s say YAs.

Further, on the subject of age, this is basically the coming of age story of a young mage named Ged who is drawn to wizardry and develops into just that as the story unfolds. There’s much in the way of magic, spells and personal discovery along the way. However, as Ged learns, all of the power and might of of a wizard comes with a price. Wizardry is not for the faint-hearted nor is its magic lightly wielded by the ignorant or arrogant. Much of this is taught Ged by Ogion his primary mentor along with his own life’s little (and not so little) foibles in and around Earthsea. Does all this sound a bit familiar?

The monster of the story we learn is… uh, not so fast. That would be a major spoiler. And I believe the book is worth reading to discover that as well as the other things Ged learns along his way through apprenticeship and personal discovery. The book is very straight forward. That appears to be Le Guin’s style. After recently reading a bunch of China Mielville prior to Earthsea, the latter was a refreshingly, relaxing read. However, we probably should not be fooled by her simplicity. Contained within the pages are a depth and breath that can be easily missed if we’re not paying attention. What can I say; it’s obviously a classic and who could not recommend that.

34 sur 40 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah Clarke
  • 08/08/2015

Classic Ursula Le Guin never gets old

This is an archetypal story told much like a ballad from times of old. It is sparse yet full of detail at the same time. The narrator readsbeautifully, with feeling, pacing himself lovingly through the tail. I felt like I was a child again listening to my granddad. It is a wonderfully told story that I can't wait to listen to again.

8 sur 9 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Cliff
  • 26/11/2013

A good take on a classic book

Would you listen to A Wizard of Earthsea again? Why?

Yes, the book is as good as I remember as a child.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Wizard of Earthsea?

The whole world was memorable. Like revisiting an old friend after a long absence.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

The range of voices could be better. More emotion could be added to the reading, although this may be due to the lyrical Tolkien-esque style of the writing.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No.

Any additional comments?

This is a classic that I read as a child that still holds up. If you've never read the book or series you owe it to yourself. The pacing is slower than a lot of tradtional fantasy and it is still formulaic, but it works. It is more along the lines of Lord of the Rings than current faster paced novels. This is the novel that really popularized the use of true names as a magic system, for that alone it's a classic.

7 sur 8 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • D. Berzack
  • 13/01/2017

Slow, lyrical and wonderful

This is a fantastic adventure of magic, dragons, gods and demons, told in a soft, staid tone. It really feels like you're sitting by a fireside listening to this fascinating old wizard recount tales of his youth. And Inglis' narration is perfectly suited for this.

6 sur 7 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04/06/2011

Perfect voice

Rob Inglis has the perfect voice for this book. He gives the story weight, gravity and power. I can't imagine anyone else reading it!

9 sur 11 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jason
  • 05/03/2018

drawn out

the story was drawn out a lot longer than it should have been. for all the lead up, the conclusion was unfullfilling.

2 sur 2 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
  • I. Joerges
  • 16/08/2011

Addicted to Ursula

I heard all the books ot the earthsea cycle and they are all very good. Once I started I could not stop until I heard them all. The first book has an odd reader as I remember, but throughout the cycle its different people reading. I find the whole cycle very compelling and a good story throughout. Its no trash fantasy but original new material with some ethic thoughts in it! Worth listening to if you are a fan of good fantasy!

3 sur 3 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

  • Global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kitvaria
  • München
  • 10/09/2015

Old, old recording

I really enjoyed this one - though it took me a while to get used to the narrator. He sounds like an old uncle, reading for children. That is not necessarily bad - I just needed to get used to it.
The story itself is interesting, and had me entertained, though there is not a lot of action in it. It really does read like classic fantasy - you do notice it's not a recent publication in every sentence. That also is not a bad thing - I also love Tolkien, and enjoyed Feist a lot. So if you're fine with less "hollywood" this might be just the book for you.

One extra laughter in between, when I was told this was the end of this side of the cassette, and I should fast forward before changing it :P

1 sur 1 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.