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The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle #2)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  55,705 ratings  ·  1,181 reviews
The first book in LeGuin's bestselling fantasy series introduces Tenar, a priestess who oversees the dark tombs. A Newbery Honor Book and an ALA Notable Book.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 1st 2002 by Aladdin Paperbacks (first published 1970)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
...more
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
...more
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
Kaora
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
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!
Apatt
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 t ...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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Nikki
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
Nikki
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
...more
Ben Babcock
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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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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
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.
Donna
I really enjoyed reading the first book in this series, A Wizard of Earthsea. It had surprising depth and subtlety, and a wonderful main character in the wizard, Ged, who came of age through some hard earned lessons. That was a wonderful book for young people and adults to read separately or together to discuss the themes. But unfortunately, this second book in the series is nothing like the first book in depth or character development. Even the poetic language of the first book is missing from ...more
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
...more
Christine
Jan 10, 2010 Christine rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Zachary Rawlins
One of the most perfect, lonely, and wonderful books that I have ever read. This book revolves around Tenar, a young priestess/sacrifice to the darkness of Atuan, rather than Sparrowhawk or the rest of the Earthsea Saga, and can actually be read by itself, as I first did.

The imagery of a child, growing up in the ruins of a previous society, worshiping by wandering the dark and seemingly endless halls of a perpetually light-less labyrinth, is both haunting and impossibly beautiful. Tenar is both
...more
Kat  Hooper
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
...more
Jonnynsb
I like the complexity and the emotion, but I found the book disturbing, too. Bringing up "unfaith" and skepticism was good. The struggle for power between Arha and Kossil was good as well.

I didn't like the inconsistency, though. The gods (the Nameless Ones) had power, just not the power Arha thought they had, so they weren't worth worshipping? Or was it merely that Ged decided they were "bad"? Or that they wouldn't strike Kossil down? They had not done anything until Ged came along (others sacr
...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
...more
Florian Pekazh
Тенар е малко момиче, когато бива откъсната от семейството си, за да се превърна във върховна жрица на тайнствените сили на земята. Тя става арха, погълнатата, която трябва да бъде модел за подражание на останалите жрици. Вместо това тя е изпълнена със съмнение, отшелническият живот не й допада, а измислиците за далечни земи и магьосници пораждат нейното любопитство. Какво става когато тези измислици се оказват истини и Тенар ги вижда със собствените си очи?

http://pekazh.com/grobnicite-na-atuan/
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sologdin
I recall an old gamers' joke about how the best magical item in the setting of The Lord of the Rings is a cursed Ring of Invisibility. In The Tombs of Atuan, the best magical item is also a ring, apparently, that bears "the sign of dominion, the sign of peace," without which "no king could rule well," leading to "tyrants and wars and quarrelling abont all the lands of Earthsea" (134). I recall that Donaldson's repulsive protagonist also has a special ring--perhaps someone needs to write about th ...more
Betty
While I enjoyed the first Earthsea book, I LOVED this one. First of all, it is dark and morbid as EFF, and the main character is a girl, and it's about cults and brainwashing and reason and truth, and all of these things are awesome. It stands alone as its own story, and feels satisfyingly solid in a way that is difficult to define. The story and characters are all so well-defined that it's a pleasure to immerse yourself in the world. There's this constant sense that you know the main character' ...more
Andrew Obrigewitsch
This book rated between 2 and 3 stars for me. It's not because it was badly written, but it's because not much really happened. It was like reading the first 3 chapters of a book, and then having the book end right with you get introduced to the characters and they actually do something. Or it was like reading a short story in an anthology. I'm hoping the 3rd one has a lot more meat to it.
Zeynep Nur
Yerdenizin ikinci kitabı Atuan Mezarlarını genelde Yerdeniz Büyücüsünden daha çok beğenmişler ama bana kalırsa ilk kitaptan üstün bir yanı yok. Eşit ölçüde sevdim iki kitabı da. Yazarın kullandığı cinsellikle ilgili imgelerin tamamını anladığımı düşünmüyorum, zaten kendisi de tek tek her imgeyi çözümlemediğini söylemiş.
Yeliz
....Yerdeniz büyücüsü bir oğlan çocuğunun hem büyümesini hem de olgunlaşmasını anlatırken Atuan Mezarları bir kız çocuğunun adım adım bir kadına dönüşmesini anlatıyor. Çelişkileriyle, ikilemleriyle, suçluluk duygusuyla, naifliği ama aslında gücüyle... romanda kadının cinselliğine dair tüm sembollere yer vermiş yazar.

Ursula için fantastik derler, bilimkurgu derler, ama bence hemen hepsini bir potada eriten tarzlardan bağımsız bir yazardır. Hangi kitabında ne ile karşılaşacağını bilemezsin. Sanırı
...more
Joanna
I can't believe I never read this trilogy before now. I read the first book in the trilogy over the weekend, then read this one in practically one sitting. I think I actually liked this book slightly better than the first book, but that may just be related to this one having a strong female lead. I also appreciate that the characters and events in the books have slight overlap, but that it really isn't necessary to have read the first book to enjoy the second. I'll definitely be reading the thir ...more
Johnny
Superman needed Kryptonite in order to keep the stories interesting over the years (and, with “red” Kryptonite, somewhat chaotic and silly). So, it’s no wonder that when a wizard has attained immense power and saved the universe from destruction that said wizard must run into her/his own version of Kryptonite. One is almost halfway through The Tombs of Atuan before realizing that Ged had found his Kryptonite in the soul-stealing, doubt-ridden shadows of the title’s Tombs of Atuan, but that doesn ...more
Andy
A step back from A Wizard of Earthsea, this book was enjoyable enough, but I found it a bit lacking on every front compared to its predecessor. The plot is less exciting, the characters are a little more boring, the themes that bind the story together were not as strong. The protagonist of this story is a priestess-girl named Arha/Tenar from one of the outlying islands whose life, from a young age, is to guard and conduct rituals at one of her people's holy sites. Ged returns, but as a supportin ...more
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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 Farthest Shore (Earthsea Cycle, #3)
  • Tehanu (Earthsea Cycle, #4)
  • Tales from Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #5)
  • The Other Wind (Earthsea Cycle, #6)
A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1) The Farthest Shore (Earthsea Cycle, #3) The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle, #4) The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle, #5) The Lathe of Heaven

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