Aaron's Reviews > The Tombs of Atuan

The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin
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's review
Apr 05, 11

bookshelves: fantasy, young_adult, re_read
Read in April, 2011

A fair follow-up to A Wizard of Earthsea, this book is much different than its predecessor. The Tombs of Atuan are told entirely from the perspective of a new character - Tenar/Arha. She is a young child initiated into a society of priestesses who are dedicated to old and nearly forgotten gods. Most of the first half of the book is devoted to Tenar learning her duties and place in this small, closed society, discovering the limites of her power and what it means to be given to the gods.

The second half finds Tenar encountering a sorely cowed and tested Ged. He's not much of a hero in this novel, easily trapped, he ends up relying on Tenar's interest in him to keep him alive. Eventually, one does find that Ged is much grown in power, but the focus remains solely on Tenar as she struggles with the world she has known and what Ged has brought into her life.

This book is so much quieter and introspective than the last (and, much different from the next book); it hardly seems to belong in the same series. However, I think this character is near to the author herself, and she could be a reflection of losing oneself wholly to an idea (a person, religion, activity, etc) and not knowing that one was lost.

The first time I read this, I was disappointed by the entire book, but, knowing that Tenar's story is wrapped up in the fourth book of the trilogy makes me realize that the author always had more in store for this character.

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