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The Earthsea Trilogy (Earthsea Cycle #1-3)

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  13,596 Ratings  ·  272 Reviews
As long ago as forever and as far away as Selidor, there lived the dragonlord and Archmage, Sparrowhawk, the greatest of the great wizards - he who, when still a youth, met with the evil shadow-beast; he who later brought back the Ring of Erreth-Akbe from the Tombs of Atuan; and he who, as an old man, rode the mighty dragon Kalessin back from the land of the dead. And then ...more
Paperback, 478 pages
Published 1979 by Penguin Books Limited (first published January 1st 1975)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jan-Maat
Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea Trilogy remains one of the more memorable books I read as a schoolboy. The claustrophobic atmosphere of The Tombs of Atuan, the dry, draining, feeling that pervades The Farthest Shore, the psychological sophistication of A Wizard of Earthsea.

The series as a whole strikes me as being a lot more philosophical than most children's books while at the same time they remain Bildungsroman with their theme of growing into adult estate.

In contrast to much of the fantasy that I do
...more
Milo
May 27, 2011 Milo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: golden, satirez, wands-out
Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy is one of my favorites. Her style is so unique and the underlying themes in her books are powerful. She has this way of saying a lot without saying much...if that makes any sense.

If you love wizardry this is the book for you. Ged is the name of the Archmage in this series and unlike Gandalf, who is presented as incorruptible, Ged must battle his own demons to gain redemption. The story is from Ged's point of view so he seems more human than the classical rep
...more
James
Oct 07, 2007 James rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fantasy or Harry Potter fans
Shelves: fantasy
These are three beautifully written novels that make up a trilogy that is both highly influential in the modern fantasy trilogy and also highly unlike any trilogy out there.

The first book "A Wizard of Earthsea" follows the story of a young boy named Ged (he has a bunch of other names, but he's Ged) and his adventures as he discovers he is a wizard, goes off to a wizard academy to train, discovers he will be the most powerful wizard ever, and is inextricably linked to a diabolical evil that will
...more
Stefan Yates
Mar 22, 2012 Stefan Yates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Having previously read Ursula Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness, I was a little leery of starting on the Earthsea Trilogy. I found Le Guin's style in Left Hand of Darkness to be very difficult to slog through for me and, while her ideas and story were very well crafted, I did not enjoy my reading experience at all.

My experience with the Earthsea Trilogy couldn't have been more different from that of Left Hand of Darkness. Maybe because Earthsea is more intended for a younger audience, none of the
...more
Apatt
Sep 20, 2012 Apatt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is the edition I bought as a wee lad, I only managed to finish A Wizard of Earthsea due to foolishness of the young. Recently I have finished reading all three books of the original trilogy so I thought I'd link this book to my review of the individual volumes:

A Wizard of Earthsea - My review
In which we meet young goat herder Duny soon to be named Ged and nicknamed Sparrowhawk. This is the story of Ged attending a school of wizardry on Roke Island, a serious mistake he made through hubris a
...more
Bucko
Feb 01, 2010 Bucko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fiction
Unlike the Lord of the Rings, which is three volumes of one book, this consists of three books which are each quite distinct entities to themselves. (I was just too lazy to find all three books and review them separately.) They go together because they share a common protagonist, the erstwhile goatherd known as Sparrowhawk, whose true name is Ged.
The first book, A Wizard of Earthsea, deals with Ged as boy and young man, struggling to come to grips with his power. The second book, The Tombs of At
...more
Stephen Smith
Feb 02, 2012 Stephen Smith rated it did not like it
This book could be a case study in how not to write a fantasy novel. Start with poorly-drawn characters the reader will feel indifferent about. Add a world that isn't very interesting. Complete it by having the characters do next to nothing of significance. Then, when the climactic battle comes the reader has nothing invested in the outcome.

In this novel, Ursla LeGuin has succeeded in making dragons and wizards seem tedious and boring, which is no small feat.

I'll try to reiterate the plot, but
...more
Bodhidasa Caldwell
I re-read this masterpiece trilogy on a recent Buddhist retreat in New Zealand. It became something of a spiritual road-map for my inner journey. Each book seemed to address, in mythic proportions, the struggles I was having with being an heir to my actions or with feeling bound by dusty habits. Admittedly, there were less dragons in New Zealand, despite what Peter Jackson might lead you to believe.

Le Guin's thoughtful, reflective almost poetic prose engaged me on every level. The story is simp
...more
Pixie Dust
Mar 13, 2015 Pixie Dust rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This trilogy comprises the first three novels set in the Earthsea world. My second time reading it in 9 years, I found that it still held up well.

The narration often takes on a matter of fact tone, almost taking for granted as perfectly natural all the magic and customs of the land, and the novels read like Icelandic sagas in the way the stories are told like old myths and legends. Despite the brevity of the novels, Le Guin manages to convey the sense that there is a vast amount of history in th
...more
Stephanie
Jul 25, 2015 Stephanie rated it really liked it
I ought to dislike high fantasy written for children. Usually I'm not a fan of sentimental dialogue and vague moral lessons, which turn an otherwise excellent story into a spiritual soapbox and/or allegory. (*ahem* Chronicles of Narnia, The Golden Compass *ahem*)
The Earthsea Trilogy is no exception.

I would say it's an inherent flaw of the fantasy Bildungsroman--goodly advice, exhaustingly serious, a bit predictable (light vs. dark, ideally with a dark lord thrown in somewhere for the protagonist
...more
Stephanie
Mar 02, 2010 Stephanie rated it did not like it
Very disappointing.

This book was recommended to me by one of my favorite professors, so it's hard to say I really didn't like it. But I really didn't. The plots are rambling and formulaic, the characters are flat, and the narration aspires to poetry but comes off as awkward and over-the-top. Everything in the story has been done better by some other author, usually Tolkien.

Maybe I just don't know how to read this style, but the general sense I get from it is negative. Le Guin does make her main
...more
Acr0

Ged, tout jeune apprend les rudiments avec sa tante, dans un petit village de Gont. A la suite de son terrible exploit: créer un brouillard pour repousser les assaillants, il se retrouve sous la tutelle d'Ogion, grand sorcier. Ce dernier décide de l'envoyer à l'école de magie de Roke où il sera formé. Bien loin de se douter de la déchirure et de l'Ombre qu'il délivrerait, contre toute attente, Ged se bat en duel avec un autre élève. De cette terrible erreur, Ged deviendra une proie permanente et
...more
Julie
May 31, 2009 Julie rated it liked it
Read A Wizard of Earthsea. I'd heard a lot of recommendations for this, but I was disappointed. It seemed like Le Guin was trying too hard to make "fantasy" language, and focusing not enough on character or story. The whole "plot" ended up concluded within 2 pages, and it was pointless. I'm going to try the 2nd book and see if it gets any better, just because so many people I respect had rec'd it to me.
3/24/09- Finished The Tombs of Atuan. A huge step up from the first book. There are important
...more
El
Apr 17, 2008 El rated it did not like it
The first of the trilogy, A Wizard of Earthsea, introduces readers to Ged (aka Sparrowhawk) and follows him to wizard school where he learns all of the words and spells that make him one of the most powerful wizards in all of Earthsea. In The Tombs of Atuan, then second book, Tenar is taken from her family as The Chosen One to be the guardian of the tombs of Atuan. In her time there she meets Ged (now middle-aged) who is searching the tombs for a specific treasure. The third, The Farthest Shore, ...more
Mary
Feb 16, 2010 Mary rated it it was amazing
The first book in this trilogy was published in 1968, 2nd in 1970, and 3rd in 1972. Highly recommended as must read books, I had no idea what to expect.
Written way before Eragon or Harry Potter or any of the wizard/dragon books I loved reading this trilogy. Each book is very different from the others and they all were wonderful. The last book, The Farthest Shore, even took me into spituality and the meaning of life/death and light/dark.
Without meeting the people I have met through my writing
...more
Karlo
Nov 24, 2008 Karlo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Never really followed Le Guin's fantasy works previously, having just joined the SFBC, I picked up this omnibus edition. The writing was wonderful; their was a sense that each word was picked with care; not too much detail, not too little, just enough to evoke the tale she wanted to tell. In the current world of 800+ page books (I'm looking at you, Mr Erikson), I appreciate economy.

Story-wise; it's a slight twist on a familiar trope; the Magician's rise to Mastery from obscurity to SavingTheWor
...more
Amy Gillette
Apr 03, 2016 Amy Gillette rated it it was amazing
I really thoroughly enjoyed this quiet but suspenseful series. A lot of it is just waiting for something to happen and slowly building a character. It's as if you are on the adventure yourself actually experiencing things rather than just exciting highlights and a Wizard that constantly displays power every chance he gets. Sort of like Gandalf. Gandalf had incredible powers but he didn't just flaunt them around and use them constantly. This guy is conservative and wise and doesn't act like he is ...more
Joel Mitchell
I have frequently seen Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea novels placed on the same level as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia (my two all-time favorite series). I finally decided to give them a shot and discovered that they just aren't my cup of tea. I can see why some people like them (a lushly described world and interesting psychological points), but,frankly, they bored me overall. I generally like my fantasy to be epic in scale, and Earthsea is not that kind of fantasy.

The archipe
...more
Adam Dorr
Dec 14, 2015 Adam Dorr rated it it was amazing
This is a magnificent and incomparable piece of early (1968) high-minded high fantasy. Le Guin's already stunning ability to craft prose actually benefits from being targeted at a young audience, since it gains elegance from being simplified and streamlined. Nowhere in the entire fantasy genre will you find more beautiful writing than Earthsea.

Elements from each the three stories have of course become models for much fantasy that has come afterward. But it is, I think, Le Guin's Taoist philosoph
...more
Niharika Mudgal
Feb 20, 2015 Niharika Mudgal rated it liked it
Book One - A Wizard of Earthsea
This is about a young man's journey from a lonely poor boy to a wizard of legend. I think This little adventure is well written. It is about the way pride and envy can make you loose yourself. This is one man's quest to find it again before it destroys him forever Just like any quest it is full of adventure, joy and pearl.

The moral of it all being to face your fear head on and beat it before it beats you. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy esp
...more
Dave
Sep 29, 2014 Dave rated it really liked it
A slightly unsettling work - not something you'd pick up to continue a Harry Potter jag - it's sparse enough to be blatantly archetypal. To me, the trilogy has powerful Christian overtones. I don't know how much of this was intended by the author, but the arc of the protagonist maps powerfully to the fall of Adam, the biblical redemption of Israel, and the end-of-days vision of John.

(view spoiler)
...more
Cheshirka
Apr 27, 2014 Cheshirka rated it it was amazing
О Боги, я вернулась к Волшебнику еще раз. Самый первый раз мне подарил эту трилогию отец, заказал тогда в интернет-магазине и невзначай отдал. Боги-боги, почему я не сохранила книгу? Засунула куда-то и теперь она там и стоит, никто ее не читает.
В детстве я не смогла продраться дальше половины первой книги, потому что на меня навевала скуку такое медленное и бездейственное повествование. Герои, казалось мне, живут так, как будто им написали так жить: никакого выбора, никаких душевных метаний не о
...more
Cia
Jul 11, 2011 Cia rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-for-lit
Not bad, but rather dull. Nowhere near as exciting as the blurb suggests, but I have no objections to studying it once uni starts up again in September. As far as reading for pleasure goes, I would probably have dropped this after the first book.
The second book of the trilogy- The Tombs of Atuan- was perhaps the best. The decriptions of the Labyrinth, etc, were chilling and effective. Characterisation on the whole, however, was somewhat poor. Overall, the blandest fantasy I've come across.
Marko Vasić
Za moj ukus, previše deskripcije a malo naracije. Takođe, previše unutrašnjih, neizrečenih sukoba likova, koji su mogli da budu i izostavljeni (na primer – neko je mislio da je mislio da je možda mislio to što je mislio ali nije uradio kada je trebalo i sl.). Radnja je mučki spora i stacionarna. Prvi deo trilogije je skoro pa dobar – nagoveštaj velikog zla, borba sa istim, težnja da se atmosfera oboji u crno, jedna klasična, prava, oldtime fantastika.... međutim, rasplet je previše soft i, prost ...more
Lauren
Mar 12, 2014 Lauren rated it it was amazing
This trilogy is absolutely fantastic. I inherited it in box set form from my dad, and have read the entire series multiple times since I was about 13. Ursula K. Le Guin's writing style is subdued and enchanting; her world-building is beautiful. This trilogy is an instant classic, perfect for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien and even J.K. Rowling. It begins simply, about a boy who goes to a magic school on an island, but it grows into an epic fantasy that spans decades in just a few short books. There are ...more
Bill Mead
Jun 14, 2008 Bill Mead rated it it was amazing
Poetic and beautifully imaginative tale. Leguin writes simply and elegantly. She does not waste anyone's time with fluff, yet somehow manages to achieve a depth to her characters and her stories. I wish I could figure out how she does that
Krbo
Sep 22, 2014 Krbo rated it it was amazing
"Zemljomorje" trilogija me je oduševila. (kasniji nastavci baš i ne)

Ursula, SF autor kojeg izuzetno, izuzetno, cijenim no koja ima meni i nečitljivih knjiga, kao da je odlučila doći i reći "a sada djeco, pogledajte kako se piše vrhunski epski fantasy"

I uspjela je, nevjerojatno dobro.


Ne bih vam mogao objasniti zašto mi je ovo tako sjelo, kao ruka u idealnu rukavicu, no stvarno je majstorski napisano.


Nemam pojma koliko je ovo puta pročitano i kada prvi puta (nadnevak je jasan - onog trena kad je P
...more
Daniel Wilson
Dare not compare this to Harry Potter - there is so much more depth, character development, and simple storytelling. The universe is not as vast or encompassing - but in the tradition of the hero's myth - the story is compelling and powerful.

Perhaps more so than other trilogies, the development of the main character, from an impetuous youth to a humble (and seemingly weak) sage resonates with our inner desire for a personal quest. Le Guin is a storyteller and can tell a gripping tale in fewer p
...more
Marvin Marc
[grabbed from Amazon.com][return:][return:]Ursula LeGuin is as talented a writer as one could hope to find. She has a deft hand at science fiction and fantasy, but she also layers her work with adult themes of self-discovery and personal evolution, relationship to self and to others, isolation vs. connection, and cross-cultural communication and understanding. In the most thoughtful, interesting, and entertaining ways, she plays with race, gender, age, etc. as social constructs, creating critiqu ...more
Sally Wolf
Mar 24, 2011 Sally Wolf rated it it was amazing
Book One - A Wizard of Earthsea
This is about a young man's journey from a lonely poor boy to a wizard of legend. I think This little adventure is well written. It is about the way pride and envy can make you loose yourself. This is one man's quest to find it again before it destroys him forever Just like any quest it is full of adventure, joy and pearl.

The moral of it all being to face your fear head on and beat it before it beats you. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy esp
...more
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  • The First Chronicles of Amber (Books 1-5)
  • The Green Pearl and Madouc (Lyonesse, #2-3)
  • The Chronicles of Prydain Boxed Set (The Chronicles of Prydain #1-5)
  • The Dark is Rising Sequence (The Dark is Rising, #1-5)
  • L'apprenti assassin (L'assassin royal, #1)
  • The Belgariad Boxed Set: Pawn of Prophecy / Queen of Sorcery / Magician's Gambit / Castle of Wizardry / Enchanters' End Game (The Belgariad, #1-5)
  • Riddle-Master: The Complete Trilogy (Riddle-Master, #1-3)
  • The Elric Saga Part II (Elric Saga, #4-6)
  • The Dragonriders of Pern (Dragonriders of Pern, #1-3)
  • The Riftwar Saga (The Riftwar Saga, #1-4)
  • Gagner la guerre
  • The Fionavar Tapestry (The Fionavar Tapestry #1-3)
  • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever (The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, #1-3)
  • The Morgaine Saga (Morgaine & Vanye, #1-3)
  • Red Shift
  • The Gormenghast Novels (Gormenghast, #1-3)
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As of 2013, Ursula K. Le Guin has published twenty-two novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received many awards: Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award, PEN-Malamud, etc. Her recent publications include the novel Lavinia, an essay collection, Cheek by Jowl, and The Wild Girls. Forthcoming ...more
More about Ursula K. Le Guin...

Other Books in the Series

Earthsea Cycle (6 books)
  • A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1)
  • The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle, #2)
  • The Farthest Shore (Earthsea Cycle, #3)
  • Tehanu (Earthsea Cycle, #4)
  • Tales from Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #5)
  • The Other Wind (Earthsea Cycle, #6)

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