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Tehanu: Book Four
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Tehanu: Book Four (Earthsea Cycle #4)

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  15,667 ratings  ·  555 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 othe
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ebook, 288 pages
Published June 20th 2008 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published 1990)
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Jacob
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.

Goddamn.
Ben
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
Jareed
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
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Kate
Feb 24, 2012 Kate rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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Jerzy

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 Eart
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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
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Robert
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Martine
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
Amanda
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
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Macade
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
sologdin
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
Gavin
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
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Nikki
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
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Brett
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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Dylan Horrocks
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
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Miriam
This rather grim later installment did not fit in with the original Earthsea trilogy. I might have liked it better had it been presented as a stand-alone with new characters (which Le Guin could have done quite easily).
Barbara
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
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Annie
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
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Neil
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
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Elizabeth
This book forces you to look back at Ursula K. LeGuin's previous Earthsea novels. In those she presents a male-dominated world from the perspective of a smart and ambitious man. In that world magic was a man's craft even though some women had magical abilities (weak as woman's magic, wicked as woman's magic). In this work Tenar (just about the only woman of any significance in the original trilogy) reflects back on her path from being priestess of the dark powers to presenting the ring with the ...more
Karen Floyd
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
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Julia
I read this in high school after absolutely LOVING the trilogy. Le Guin wrote this book nearly 20 years after she wrote the trilogy, and to me, it didn't seem to fit in with the story at all. Rather than being a continuation, it seemed like a sort of disconnected addition that didn't seem to keep with the themes or plots of the previous books, and after reading it, I wished I could forget it entirely. To me, the book seemed to taint the beauty of the trilogy, however ...

I will admit that some of
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Ana
May 07, 2012 Ana rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Extreme feminists
Le Guin has been criticized for not being enough of a feminist in the first three books in the series and has been praised for balancing that out in the last three books in the series. But to me, I liked the first part of the series better because it was written naturally. In the second part of the series, Le Guin was so conscious of what critics have said about the first part that she sounded preachy to me. Tehanu felt so unnatural when compared to The Wizard of Earthsea that it hindered my enj ...more
Sean
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
John
The Earthsea series should have stopped at 3 books. Tehanu was a serious disappointment for me. It has an entirely different feel to it than the first three books, and was harder to get into and a lot easier to put down.

Apparently Tehanu was written quite a while after the original trilogy, and in the interim the author picked up some feminist ideologies. As a result, there are no good, strong male characters in Tehanu, and the main character, a female, frequently has significantly negative thou
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M.J. Johnson
Tehanu is the fourth book in the Earthsea series. The writing is once again impeccable, however, this is not a tale of epic fantasy like the first three adventures. The main character of the first three books, Ged, is largely absent and the main focus of the narrative is Tenar who we first meet in The Tombs of Atuan. Tehanu has, unlike its predecessors a mainly domestic setting and is concerned (it seemed to me) with the process we all must go through of accepting and accommodating ourselves wit ...more
Moira Russell
The first time I read this book, I was horrified and repelled. It took me two or three more readings to begin to grasp what Le Guin was doing, and another reading or two after that to appreciate it! I don't reread it often (I just did this past year to compare the first trio of books to the second), but at least I think I understand it better now.
Michael
Follow-up to EarthSea Trilogy. Nice tale of good vs. evil, the power of men vs. women, and the meaning of love. The lead characters have lost their magic, and the key to positive changes seems to lie with a young child adopted child who was subject to abuse and attempted murder. Plus, some help from a dragon. �
Katherine
Very disappointing and completely unnecessary addition to what was formerly known as the Earthsea trilogy.
Jesse Kraai
Manny Rayner's review of Leguin's The Dispossessed sent me to the fantasy isle of Half-Price books. It's a dirty aisle, tattered and used, like cast-off pornography.

My hand grabbed Tehanu, after the prize could not be found, I remembered the author speaking about the book at UC Berkeley around 2012. She called it her feminism coming-of-age book. That the previous Earthsea books (which I had read as a kid) were boy adventure.

It's hard to right about gender without coming back to the old cliches.
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Kindle edition 2 20 Aug 24, 2013 08:55PM  
Can I read this one after "The Farthest Shore"? 16 30 Mar 12, 2013 10:11AM  
Goodreads Librari...: incorrect cover change (tehanu) 10 169 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...
A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1) The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle, #2) The Farthest Shore (Earthsea Cycle, #3) The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle, #4) The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle, #5)

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“What is a woman's power then?" she asked.
"I don't think we know."
"When has a woman power because she's a woman? With her children, I suppose. For a while..."
"In her house, maybe."
She looked around the kitchen. "But the doors are shut," she said, "the doors are locked."
"Because you're valuable."
"Oh yes. We're precious. So long as we're powerless.”
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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.”
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