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The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle #2)

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  64,521 Ratings  ·  1,593 Reviews
The Newbery Honor–winning second novel in the renowned Earthsea series from Ursula K. LeGuin gets a beautiful new repackage.

In this second novel in the Earthsea series, Tenar is chosen as high priestess to the ancient and nameless Powers of the Earth, and everything is taken from her—home, family, possessions, even her name. She is now known only as Arha, the Eaten One, an
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ebook, 224 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published 1970)
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Jacob
June 2012

I want to give this five stars, but I'm afraid one of the next ones will be even better, and my attempts to rate it higher will cause Goodreads to implode. Or something.

On second thought, no. Five stars. Let's do this thing.

You've probably read or heard somewhere that you can put a frog (it's a frog, right?) in a pot of water and set it on a stove, and the frog will never notice what's happening until it's too late. So they say. Well, Ursula K. Le Guin writes like that: you open the boo
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Brad
Half way through reading The Tombs of Atuan, I was sitting downstairs playing my xBox late at night when I heard voices drifting down from upstairs. I sat and listened to the door muffled murmurs of Miloš & Brontë, but I couldn't make out what they were saying.

Usually I'd just call up to them and tell them it was time to shoosh and go to sleep, but I was curious to figure out what they were talking about. Even obscured I could tell it wasn't the usual joke fest or scary story, there was som
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Bookworm Sean
The first few chapters of this were a real chore. They were confusing and dull. However, out of the darkness of those chapters, and out of the depths of the labyrinth, came a story of redemption, human suffering and a will, a will to overcome great evil when succumbing to the darkness would have been a much easier path to walk.

“You must make a choice. Either you must leave me, lock the door, go up to your alters and give me to your masters; then go to the Princess Kossil and make your peace wit
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Apatt
Sep 14, 2012 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
When I first tried reading this in my teens I could not manage to go beyond 50 pages because I wanted Ged (AKA Sparrowhawk), the hero of the previous volume A Wizard of Earthsea, to show up and follow him on new adventures. What I found instead was a story of an entirely new protagonist, a young girl called Tenar who lives an oppressive life on the island of Atuan. Young fool that I was, I did not read on to the middle of the book where Ged does show up for more adventures though this time as th ...more
Martyn Stanley
Jan 19, 2017 Martyn Stanley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-read, good-book
When I reviewed 'The Wizard of Earthsea' I gave it four out out of five:-

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

Having read 'Tombs of Atuan' I feel like I was overgenerous. Maybe WoE was a 3.5 rounded up?

The bottom line is, I REALLY enjoyed 'Tombs of Atuan'. When I got to the point where Ged entered the story, I could hardly put it down. It's a gripping book, set in a grim and fascinating setting. It reeks of the mystery of ancient places. The whole book takes place in the sort of setting most
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Robert
I've read the first three Earthsea books a heap of times, starting when I was at my academic peak (i.e. in primary school). Through-out my childhood readings I preferred the two that sandwiched this one. Looking back it is easy for me to see why: it wasn't about Ged and it didn't have enough sailing about to far flung places (i.e. exploration) in it. In contrast, I have observed that a number of female Goodreaders who are also LeGuin fans, rate this higher than the other two. I can take a guess ...more
Nikki
Nov 22, 2015 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This always used to be my favourite of the series, both for sheer atmosphere and because it featured a female-centred world, in complete contrast to the first book. It’s almost the opposite, in that way: Ged isn’t the POV character anymore, and instead we follow Arha/Tenar, seeing her experience in a different land, seeing Ged as an outsider. That latter is especially fun, because though he talks about not learning Ogion’s lessons, it seems that he really has. And there was always an attraction ...more
Kaora
Mar 01, 2014 Kaora rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
And at the year's end she is taken to the Hall of the Throne and he name is given back to those who are her Masters, the Nameless Ones: for she is the nameless one, the Priestess Ever Reborn.

Tenar is selected as a young child as the Priestess Reborn and taken from her family at the young age of 5 to become the guardian of the Tombs of Atuan. However, one day while walking the labyrinth of her domain, she comes across a young wizard, Sparrowhawk, searching for the treasure hidden there, the Ring
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Laila
May 10, 2015 Laila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Ekip okumalarina dahil kitaplardan biriydi...

Ursula Le Guin'i her okuyusumda buraz daha seviyor, kalemine hayran oluyorum. Ne gec kalmisim okumaya...

Bu kitapta Tenar'in hikayesini okudum, Atuanda mezarlar ve karanlikla yuzlestim. Okurken kendi yasamimdaki donemecleri ve kararlarimi sorguladigim zamanlarim oldu...

Ve Ged.. Cevik Atmacam... Onun durusunu, karakterini oyle seviyorum ki...

Defalarca okunasi bir kitap!
Nikki
Jul 13, 2009 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favourites
Much as I love A Wizard of Earthsea, there isn't much feminine about it. It's a male society, it seems in that book, shaped by men and only inhabited by women. I don't know how much thought Le Guin put into that, originally, but the women in the story don't really have much of a place. There's the witch and Serret and the Kargish woman and Yarrow... but they don't have great parts in Ged's life. He's taken away from the tutelage of the witch because only a man can teach him wizardry, and there's ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
This is the second book in the Earthsea Cycle. Plot-wise it's not as good as A Wizard of Earthsea, but the writing is better. It has such wonderful fluidity that I read the entire book in just a few hours. For that I can give it four stars, though the story lacks the magic and adventure of the first book.

Tenar is taken from her family at the age of five and given to "the Dark Ones" (aka "the Nameless Ones") at the age of six. The belief is that they eat her soul, and thereafter she belongs to t
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Martine
The second book of the Earthsea Cycle starts off in a slightly baffling way -- not with Ged, the central character of the series, but rather with Arha, a young girl who has been chosen to become the next High Priestess of the Tombs of Atuan and spends her life performing rituals in which no one really seems to believe any more. We follow Arha around her daily tasks, and just when we're wondering where the hell Ged is, he makes an appearance, and a fascinating sparring match between the wizard an ...more
Ivan Lutz
Feb 01, 2016 Ivan Lutz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nevjerojatno se brzo čita.
Nastavak pustolovina iz Earthsea serijala napravio je pravi mali zaokret. Ursula odlazi u daleki Atuan, u svijet zla i gotovo cijela knjiga prati život prve svećenice Sjena, Smrti i Bezimenih zloduha. Sve izgleda savršeno za mladu Arhu dok u Grobnicama kojima ona vlada ne naiđe na vrhunskog čarobnjaka Geda koji je u potrazi za nečime što će ujediniti svjetove i donijeti mir.

Fantastičan je prikaz crnih hodnika grobnica ispod Atuana te rasporet Labirinta i njegovo znače
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Mladen
Sep 17, 2015 Mladen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prelazak na drugog protagonistu nakon prvog dela deluje malo razočaravajuće, kao i relativno spor početak, ali Legvinova sve to brzo preokreće u zapanjujuću priču. Tokom čitanja, gotovo možete da opipate tamu, kao i junakinja romana.
Opisivanje specifičnosti društva ili zajednice koja je radikalno drugačija od svega što poznajete na takav način da na kraju imate utisak da znate sve o njima... Savršeno, kao i uvek kada je Legvinova u pitanju - ponovo uspeva da ceo svet spakuje na 160 i kusur stran
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Ben Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nikki
Feb 21, 2012 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I think The Tombs of Atuan has always been my favourite of the Earthsea cycle. I said to someone recently that the quiet moment where Tenar watches Ged sleeping, and there's a thistle by his hand, and the world just seems so strange, was somehow a moment that perfectly defines Le Guin's work for me. That quietness, that moment of clarity, of seeing-things-anew...

If nothing else, that's the feeling I get when I read her work.

The Tombs of Atuan begins to redress the balance of the world Le Guin cr
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Althea Ann
Jul 19, 2013 Althea Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books of all time - I've probably read this one over two dozen times.
It's a deceptively simple story, simple in the way that all truths are simple, allegorical in that it can be applied to all of our lives. it's a story of growing up, of claiming freedom and independence, and all the fear and pain and joy that can accompany that. But it's also just the story of Tenar, called Arha, priestess of the Nameless Ones and mistress of the Undertomb - a girl who believes herself hard,
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Ian
What wonderful and vivid imagery this book contains. Imagery with power for those readers who can identify with the central figure, Arha/Tenar, especially those who are faced with challenges in their own lives similar to those she confronts. I found imagery of the mystery and challenge of self-discovery; imagery of the conflict and dual-nature within humanity and within individuals; imagery of loss, dedication, loneliness, and self-denial; imagery of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood; imager ...more
Stephanie (Bookfever.♥)
I read the first Earthsea Cycle book, A Wizard of Earthsea back in February and although I liked it, I wasn't blown away by it. I started The Tombs of Atuan kind of randomly and I ended up finishing it that same day because this time I was absolutely blown away. Definitely a huge change from how I felt about the first book. It was so damn good.

Unlike the first book, this one features Tenar, a high priestess as the main character. Ged a.k.a. Sparrowhawk was in the book also but he was more of a s
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Kat  Hooper
Mar 31, 2009 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

The Tombs of Atuan is very different from A Wizard of Earthsea. It focuses on a young woman who has spent her life cloistered in the tombs of gods who she serves but doesn't know. Just as the reader feels completely miserable at the state of this disillusioned young lady, Ged (who nobody would describe as particularly cheerful or up-beat), arrives and brings with him a much-needed ray of sunshine, even though he spends most of the book under the earth. Aft
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Sumant
The second book in Earth sea cycle centers on coming of age tale of a young woman Tenar, who is dedicated in the service of nameless ones. The book for most part was really slow for me, and started to pick up when our wizard Ged from the first book makes an appearance and manages to change the world of Tenar.

Some of the strong points of the book are

1. Simple story.
2. Narration by Ursula K Le Guin.

Some of the weak points of book are

1. The rivalry between Kossil & Tenar seems hollow.
2. The boo
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Miloš Petrik
Jan 06, 2016 Miloš Petrik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is regrettable that I should only read this in my advanced age. I would have loved this when I was young.
Clouds

Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my LOCUS FANTASY list.

As the Locus Sci-Fi Award winners list treated me so kindly, I figure I’ll trust those same good folk to pick me some stars in their sister-list, the Locus Fantasy Award winners.


Le Guin and I continue to rub along well-enough, without bec
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Christine
May 27, 2009 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of fantasy, wizards, philosophical fiction
This is easily one of my favorite books, possibly my absolute favorite (which is funny because the first time I read it as a kid I disliked it enough that I never wanted to read another Le Guin book again). It's a little slow for the first half of the book, but once Ged shows up, the plot takes on a pressing, page-turning urgency that was never present in "A Wizard of Earthsea." Tenar is a wonderfully complicated main character, as is the moral development she undergoes, and Ged is awesome in hi ...more
Sesana
Mar 28, 2012 Sesana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Somewhat slow, quiet, and beautifully written. This is a fairly short book, and much of it is taken up with world building, which I found to be quite interesting. The atmosphere is incredibly vivid, and some of the sections set underground can be downright suffocating. I also liked that this book was centered on the female protagonist, something that the previous book just didn't have. With the slow start, this is definitely a book that rewards patience.
Eric
Jan 01, 2017 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Negar Bolboli
After The Wizard of Earthsea,it was quite thrilling to meet Ged (ooops, dangerous to utter one's true name in public :) ) again now cloaked in maturity, wisdom and care. although he does not make an appearance until halfway through the story, his presence is strong and his guidence illuminating. a lot more different from The Wiazrd, this coming of age story presents a new protagonist, Arha - or her true name Tenar - struggling with matters of freedom, faith, identity and more.
with her beautiful
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elpida_la_blue
Feb 07, 2017 elpida_la_blue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, scary tale.
YouKneeK
Sep 11, 2016 YouKneeK rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book in the Earthsea Cycle series, and I enjoyed it as much as the first one. I was a little disappointed at first because I had hoped to continue reading about the characters who had interested me so much in the first book, but this book focuses on a different main character. I soon got caught up in this new story, though, and forgot my disappointment. After all, if an author can make you care about one set of characters, then she’s likely to be able to do the same for a new ...more
Stephen
3.5 stars. Well written novel (as usual for Ursula LeGuin) and second in the Earthsea Cycle after A Wizard of Earthsea. Despite liking the characters, the world created by LeGuin and appreciating the fact that it was well-written, the story just didn't hold my interest as much as I would have hoped. A good, fast read. Just not a great one.

Nominee: Mythopoeic Award for Adult Literature.
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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 (7 books)
  • A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1)
  • The Farthest Shore (Earthsea Cycle, #3)
  • Tehanu (Earthsea Cycle, #4)
  • Tales from Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #5)
  • The Other Wind (Earthsea Cycle, #6)
  • Aardzee 2 Tehanu / Verhalen van Aardzee / De andere wind (Earthsea Cycle, #4-6)

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“Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one. The road goes upward towards the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end of it.” 249 likes
“They have nothing to give. They have no power of making. All their power is to darken and destroy. They cannot leave this place; they are this place; and it should be left to them. They should not be denied nor forgotten, but neither should they be worshiped. The Earth is beautiful, and bright, and kindly, but that is not all. The Earth is also terrible, and dark, and cruel. The rabbit shrieks dying in the green meadows. The mountains clench their great hands full of hidden fire. There are sharks in the sea, and there is cruelty in men’s eyes. And where men worship these things and abase themselves before them, there evil breeds; there places are made in the world where darkness gathers, places given over wholly to the Ones whom we call Nameless, the ancient and holy Powers of the Earth before the Light, the powers of the dark, of ruin, of madness… I think they drove your priestess Kossil mad a long time ago; I think she has prowled these caverns as she prowls the labyrinth of her own self, and now she cannot see the daylight any more. She tells you that the Nameless Ones are dead; only a lost soul, lost to truth, could believe that. They exist. But they are not your Masters. They never were. You are free, Tenar. You were taught to be a slave, but you have broken free.” 49 likes
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