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Tehanu: Book Four (Earthsea Cycle #4)

3.87  ·  Rating Details ·  20,871 Ratings  ·  817 Reviews
The Nebula and Locus Award–winning fourth novel in the renowned Earthsea series from Ursula K. LeGuin gets a beautiful new repackage.

In this fourth novel in the Earthsea series, we rejoin the young priestess the Tenar and powerful wizard Ged. Years before, they had helped each other at a time of darkness and danger. Together, they shared an adventure like no other. Tenar h
ebook, 288 pages
Published June 20th 2008 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published 1990)
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May 2013

I don't know anything anymore.

A Wizard of Earthsea and The Farthest Shore, you can take your dragons and shove em. Your wizardry's not wanted here. All your quests are just cruises and island-hopping, boys' own adventures. Fuck it all. This is the real story. The tedium and horror of regular life is more epic than your silly jaunts, and all your hoity-toity man's magic won't do nothing to save you here.

Nov 21, 2011 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I remember reading Tehanu in grade school; I also remember not liking it very much. However, reading it again, years later, I think of it as a masterpiece. The first three Earthsea novels were good, interesting, entertaining, but Tehanu belongs to another tier entirely. Its character development and world-building are par with Tombs of Atuan, but its pacing is better and it ties in more tightly to existing lore. Further, we get to see the characters we've come to love in a more natural light. It ...more
Feb 24, 2012 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: thinkers, fantasy fans, feminists
This is a difficult Earthsea book to read. After Ged's adventures crossing the sea and dealing with Kings, Princes and Mages, this book stays pretty much firmly on Gont and he hardly appears.

Instead the book concentrates on Tenar (from the "Tombs of Atuan") and her life on Gont Island and that of the small damaged girl Tenar finds in the road one day who has been so badly burned and mistreated that she is terribly deformed.

The book deals with discrimination on the basis of appearence, the every
Apr 19, 2016 Ivan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
My favorite Earthsea book so far and one of the best Le Guin's book overall.Unlike Ged's adventures, which take place across Earthsea, Tehanu takes place entirely on Gont and it's mainly focused on Tenar and her adopted daughter's(in fire terribly scared both mentally and physically) struggles with adversity and discrimination.We get to see Tenar, now farmer's widow, and Ged, who at the end of The Farthest shore lost his power, as mere humans and I am glad to say they hold up pretty well and cha ...more
Aug 31, 2016 Tijana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reprize
Ovo je baš jedna od onih klasičnih knjiga koje su to bolje što ih više puta čitam i koje sa svakom pauzom dobiju neko novo osvetljenje. Mnogo pozdrava četrnaestogodišnjoj meni koja se žalila da je Tehanu previše feministička.
Apr 19, 2015 Jerzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-scifi

It's possible that people who have never experienced much actual trauma or severe discrimination might not understand how on-target this book can be. If that's you, you'd probably find it really interesting to check out Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman for a solid overview of how/why trauma survivors can be crippled by fear in seemingly irrational ways. And The Macho Paradox by Jackson Katz is a surprisingly good book on male violence (and not just against women).

Reading the first 3 Earthsea
Oct 03, 2015 Laila rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy

Serinin her kitabında biraz daha seviyorum ejderhaları diye başlayayım. Bu defa okuduğum diğer iki kitaptan daha farklı "daha derin" tabir edebilecegim şeyler de vardı. Kadına ve kadının düşünce tarzına yapılan ince göndermeleri okumak çok keyifliydi. Sanırım bu yüzden diğer kitaplarda favori karakterim Gedken bu defa Tenar diye yaptım grizgahı.

Dikkatimi çeken satırlar vardı örnek olması açısından paylaşayım:

#1 Sonra kurtuldum, seninle ve Ogion ile kurtuldum, bir an için. Ama bu benim
Also posted on imbookedindefinitely

It is surprising that it has taken Le Guin up to the fourth book to bring to the forefront one of the most conspicuous and prevalent inequities not only in the fantasy genre but more importantly in the living world, that is the inequity between the sexes.

Le Guin's writing aside from boasting of incomparable depth, truth and weight is exceptionally fluid. Tehanu is surprising in respect with the presentation of the themes in the book in that some almost felt li
May 18, 2016 Neda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-lit
Wow... In less than 10 pages Le Guin is able turn all the tables, lead the reader to climax and finish the novel altogether.. She is the master of storytellers in my regard.
Highly recommended
Michael Tildsley
This book never really feels like book #4 in the Earthsea Cycle to me. The first hundred pages or so did not feel needed. The darkness, sexuality, and gender role issues in this book, though valid on their own merits, felt really out of place to me in this fantasy world. It would be like if Wicked were the fourth sequel in the Oz series. The political and social agendas do not jive with the previous books.

My other gripe is that this book would have been infinitely more entertaining if it had be
Apr 17, 2014 Barbara rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I must have been about 10 when I read the original Earthsea trilogy for the first time and was just blown away by it. I loved it and have re-read it many times since. I daydreamed about going to Roke and proving to all those narrow-minded wizards that a woman could be as good at magic as a man. I even tried to make my own model of the tombs of Atuan.

I was thrilled when Le Guin decided to write another story in that world - until I read it. I was deeply disappointed by this heavy-handed update i
Tehanu is the fourth entry in the Earthsea Cycle. It was written years after the original trilogy, and it shows: It is markedly different from the other books, both in style and in substance. Sadly, it is also inferior to the earlier books. Le Guin had picked up a strident feminism in between The Farthest Shore and Tehanu, and it shows in Tehanu in the worst way possible. Literally every female character in the book is worthy (even dirty, crazy Aunty Moss), whereas all the men in the book are we ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 04, 2008 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the original trilogy and considered it complete. Who knew there was more to say about Earthsea? But how glad I am there was!
Tehanu catches up with Tenar years after Ged left her on Gont. She's a widow with grown children who has quite left her past as Ahra-the-Eaten-One behind. When she takes in a severely abused child as a foster daughter her life changes again.
Ursula LeGuin is gifted, she can tell an interesting (gripping even!) story that taken at face value is just a story. On anothe
Jun 27, 2016 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This still wasn’t a favourite book for me in the Earthsea sequence, because it deals so much with the consequences of what happened to Ged in The Farthest Shore. Considering I’m not a great fan of that plot (though I have come to appreciate it more as an artistic choice and for the way it changes Earthsea), I guess it’s not surprising that I’m not such a fan — even though, like The Tombs of Atuan, this brings the female point of view to the fore and deals with some of the issues of sexism in the ...more
Mar 08, 2016 Annie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, fantasy
I'm glad I read this book again — as an adult I understood it much better than when I was a teenager. "Tehanu" is the follow-up to "The Tombs of Atuan," and it was a bit of a shock when I first read it. "Tombs" ended with the promise of a typical fantasy ending. The heroine and the wizard enter triumphant into the city with the fabled artifact, honors doled out, followed by heroine coming into her own, learning magic and traveling the world having adventures. And stuff.

"Tehanu" picks up about tw
Nov 07, 2012 Macade rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the first 3 Earthsea books...but this book was just too weird. I could never tell, nor did I care, that the first three books were written by a woman. Also, I didn't notice any political or social agendas in the first 3(real world agendas). Tehanu is very strange and hard to read because it is so different from the first 3 books. It REALLY feels like a woman wrote it, it has a very strong undertone of woman's suffrage. It also has very dark themes about a young girl being raped and how t ...more
Dylan Horrocks
May 02, 2013 Dylan Horrocks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-sf
I don't know why it's taken me so many years to finally try this book; I've loved the original Earthsea trilogy since I was a child. Maybe I was scared I wouldn't like this one? And maybe if I'd read it when it first came out, I wouldn't have liked it so much...?

Well, now I have finally read it, and I like it more than I can say. Beautiful, quiet, tender, harrowing. The Tombs of Atuan has long been my favourite Earthsea book, but Tehanu, I think, has matched it. This book feels like it's been b
Dec 01, 2015 Melody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"He thought he had learned pain, but he would learn it again and again, all his life, and forget none of it."

Oh. Oh, my goodness. Reading this from the crone's seat? This was a book transformed. When first I read it, I was following Ged, yearning for wizardly doings, and I was a little... bemused at the change in focus. And this time. Well, I've never read a more sensible, grounded, interesting book. A book about learning how to be through time. A book concerned with the small healings, the tend
Jul 09, 2016 Sean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminist, fantasy
I grew up reading and re-reading the original Earthsea trilogy, and Tehanu (originally subtitled "The Last Book of Earthsea") was so different from those in form, style and content that it was hard for me to accept. Openly feminist, dark, and with painful themes such as female subjugation, rape, powerlessness and loss of autonomy, this is not a heroic fantasy. What it is is a trenchant feminist analysis of the preceding three (male-centric) books, and a beautiful novel about a woman's sometimes ...more
Sep 17, 2016 YouKneeK rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tehanu is the fourth book of the Earthsea Cycle, written 18 years after the third book. It tells a different type of story and has a different tone from the earlier books. It’s a direct sequel in that it continues where the third book left off. It actually starts slightly before the ending of the third book and then continues with the story of two of our main characters, Ged and Tenar. The larger focus is on Tenar, the girl first introduced in The Tombs of Atuan.

This book seems to be a polarizin
Oct 01, 2015 Sesana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Quite different from the other Earthsea books, in that it's more an exploration of the sort of casual misogyny that would permeate a world like Earthsea. It's an interesting, thoughtful read, but also very slow, and at times quite grim.
Jun 18, 2016 Annie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes, it's obvious this book is written by a woman.

Your point, everybody?

Like, God, do you even understand how many books are "so obviously written by a man?" Historically, nearly all books have been written by men. Certainly most of Western canon has been. And for most of those, there's no mistaking it: they were written by men, would not have been written by a woman, could not have been written by a woman.

Why? Because in them, female characters are written only as decorations and toys for the
Aug 13, 2015 Gavin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Before I review this book I feel it's important that I give it some context:

A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)

The Tombs of Atuan (1971)

The Farthest Shore (1972)

Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea (1990)

The dates in particular.

The real heartbreak of this book is that it does not need to be a continuation of Ged's story. In fact, it should not.
Books 1-3 of the Earthsea cycle are some of the best and most profoundly moving fantasy novels that have ever been written, all three of them together have perhaps h
Jun 11, 2011 Neil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So very different from most fantasy fiction, so very beautiful. It's kind of like an extended riff on that last part of The Lord of the Rings that I've always loved so much, where the heroes have returned home after the great adventure and discover that they've got the rest of life to live meaningfully. So sad, but so true.

The main protagonist here is Tenar, from The Tombs of Atuan. After her part in the adventure, she married a farmer and made a country life for herself. As the book opens, farm
May 12, 2012 sologdin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: speculative
An oddity. The narrative, set in the well-known Earthsea setting, for the most part involves a domestic plot, wherein two has-beens take in a juvenile victim of sexual assault and handle the complexities of bucolic village life. The setting is supernatural, but the vast majority of the story is not. Sure, there's some supernaturalism hinted at and discussed, and one mythical creature from a prior installment makes an early appearance, and then shows up for the denouement. Other than that, this c ...more
Karen Floyd
Mar 25, 2010 Karen Floyd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read, women, fantasy
It was good to meet up with Tenar again after all these years. And Ged. I tried to read it when it first came out, and was put off by what had been done to the little girl. Sad to say, it was easier to read now because it was horribly familiar. We hear about it all the time. I hope I never stop feeling sickened and outraged by such things, become resigned to "that's the way the world is."
I do think that reading it now, when I am about Tenar's age, married with grown children, that I understand
This book is probably my least favourite of the series. It's so much less about adventure and so much more about domesticity, which is strange coming from Tenar and Ged. Such ordinary thoughts and fears, after all the high and mighty adventure! Even the confrontation at the end of the book feels like a placeholder, more because those things will not leave Ged alone than because it's actually still a part of his life.

There are parts of this book I like a lot. Ged and Tenar's love scenes are worth
Tom Ippen
Jan 28, 2016 Tom Ippen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
100 Stars.
If more children--boys--read the Earthsea saga, finishing off with "Tehanu," the world wouldn't have this fucking "meninist" problem.
Loss, shame, the weight of love: it's all explored here, with patience and honesty.

“She thought about how it was to have been a woman in the prime of life, with children and a man, and then to lose all that, becoming old and a widow, powerless. But even so she did not feel she understood his shame, his agony of humiliation. Perhaps only a man could feel
Aug 09, 2011 Brett rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Before reading the fourth book in the Earthsea "cycle", I was aware of the opinions of many who had already read this book. Quite frankly, I was hoping that I would disagree with those who were disappointed in "Tehanu". But try as I might, I failed to see the beauty in this "continuation" of what HAD been one of the greatest trilogies written.

Quite simply, "Tehanu" lacks the conciseness and mystery of the previous books. While I could - perhaps - forgive Le Guin for her decision to tear apart t
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Fantasy Book Club...: Earthsea #4*Tehanu* Discussion ***Spoilers*** 2 5 Sep 16, 2016 07:03PM  
Fantasy Book Club...: * Earthsea #4*Tehanu* Roll Call/First Impressions 5 10 Sep 08, 2016 08:08PM  
Kindle edition 2 22 Aug 24, 2013 08:55PM  
Can I read this one after "The Farthest Shore"? 16 37 Mar 12, 2013 10:11AM  
Goodreads Librari...: incorrect cover change (tehanu) 10 170 Aug 13, 2012 09:22PM  
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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)
  • Tales from Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #5)
  • The Other Wind (Earthsea Cycle, #6)

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“Why are men afraid of women?"
If your strength is only the other's weakness, you live in fear," Ged said.
"Yes; but women seem to fear their own strength, to be afraid of themselves."
"Are they ever taught to trust themselves?" Ged asked, and as he spoke Therru came in on her work again. His eyes and Tenar's met.
"No," she said. "Trust is not what we're taught." She watched the child stack the wood in the box. "If power were trust," she said. "I like that word. If it weren't all these arrangements - one above the other - kings and masters and mages and owners - It all seems so unnecessary. Real power, real freedom, would lie in trust, not force."
"As children trust their parents," he said.”
“If women had power, what would men be but women who can't bear children? And what would women be but men who can?"
"Hah!" went Tenar; and presently, with some cunning, she said, "Haven't there been queens? Weren't they women of power?"
"A queen's only a she-king," said Ged.
She snorted.
"I mean, men give her power. They let her use their power. But it isn't hers, is it? It isn't because she's a woman that she's powerful, but despite it.”
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