Jul 10, 12
Read in May, 2012
This second book of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea cycle is quite good, although I have to say so far I preferred the first book, A Wizard of Earthsea. Still, as far as novels in the fantasy genre go (especially those for young adults) this was a wonderful work of fiction, certainly equaling and at times surpassing anything written by J.K. Rowling. In this second installment, we are introducted to an entirely new character, Tenar, or as she is renamed - Arha, the Eaten One. Tenar is taken from her family at a very young age by the priestesses who worship and safeguard the ancient ruin of the Tombs of Atuan. She is chosen much in the same manner as the real-life Dahli Lama of Tibet - a girl child born on the same night as the former priestess with her name dies.
Inasmuch as the first novel, Wizard of Earthsea, was about the wizard Ged, this novel is almost entirely about Tenar and her spiritual journey from unwilling novitiate to reluctant convert to again a spirited, independent being. Playing a key role in her liberation, of course, is the hero from the previous novel, Ged - tying together the two tales thematically and plot-wise.
For those interested in Le Guin's more mature and intricately detailed novels, I highly recommend The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossed.