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The Books of Earthsea

(Earthsea Cycle #1-6)

4.65  ·  Rating details ·  677 ratings  ·  112 reviews
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the timeless and beloved A Wizard of Earthsea—“…reads like the retelling of a tale first told centuries ago” (David Mitchell)—comes this complete omnibus edition of the entire Earthsea chronicles, including over fifty illustrations illuminating Le Guin’s vision of her classic saga.

Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea novels are some of the most
Hardcover, Complete Illustrated Edition, 1008 pages
Published October 23rd 2018 by Saga Press
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Nathan Randall There are 7 color illustrations in the book, one on the title page and one to start each of the books. There are also color ones on the outside and in…moreThere are 7 color illustrations in the book, one on the title page and one to start each of the books. There are also color ones on the outside and inside covers.

There are dozens of monochrome illustrations through the book, scattered every few chapters throughout. (less)

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Spencer Orey
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: magic-forests
It was awesome to have all these books in one place and read them in order. I've read the whole series before, but I got a lot out of reading them back to back. Each of the books is great, and I have a lot of favorite moments from the whole thing.

I thought the illustrations were alright. They didn't exactly blow me away. From what I could tell, they didn't add much? But they didn't get in the way of anything. I guess overall it was nicer to have illustrations than to not have them?

The stories ha
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received this beauty for Christmas from my daughter Libby. While I have read almost everything in this book already I am still so excited to have it. The illustrations are beautiful and I want to reread all of these wonderful books again.
Edit: Adding link for 11/10/18 Interview with Charles Vess about working with Le Guin
* * *
5 stars for this HUGE gorgeous book. Rating is not for the story itself.

I read the first four books years ago in paperback. I mainly bought this particular book because Charles Vess (the illustrator) is one of my favorite artists. I first discovered him when he illustrated Stardust (written by Neil Gaiman), when it first came out as a 4 part graphic novel (1997).

I was surprised whe
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In looking for a reason to buy this collection albeit already owning all of the single Earthsea books I decided that my sons (9 and 11) should get to know UKLG, so I needed a German version and, voilà, there was my excuse for buying this beautiful work.

I rated the books seperately in their respective GR threats and even though the overall average wouldn't amount to 5 stars, this collection deserves all of them. Not only is it a different feeling to read all the books and the intermingling short
May 17, 2018 marked it as to-read
Ahhhh! This looks so beautiful!
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brace2020, own
This journey has come to an end, and I am feeling really grateful for this series and at the same time sad that it ended. Please read this book, all I have to say!
I'm not sure I can recommend this huge collection highly enough. I have read a *LOT* of fantasy over the decades, and the Earthsea books remain my favorite series of all time, and LeGuin one of my favorite authors. I think it was A Wizard of Earthsea that first really got me into fantasy and inspired me, and I think its narrative voice inspired my own voice in my own first novel. It was not on the "Appendix N" list of Gary Gygax, and I'm not surprised (he preferred pulpy, adult stuff, and Earths ...more
While I haven't read this edition as yet (I say that as I would like to get a copy), I have read all the Earthsea stories and novels included in this omnibus edition in other editions. For me the range from some of my favorites of fantasy literature to some just darn good yarns and with the addition of illustrations by Charles Vess, an artist whose work I really admire, I can not imagine that this isn't going to be a beautiful edition.

UPDATE: Well, I bought myself this book as a birthday present
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Finished the first half of the Earthsea Sextet

The idea of individual immortality, an endless ego-existence, is more dreadful to me than the idea of letting go the self in death to rejoin shared, eternal being. I see life as a shared gift, received from others and passed on to others, and living and dying as one process, in which lies both our suffering and our reward. Without mortality to purchase it, how can we have the consciousness of eternity? I think the price is worth paying. (Afterword to
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is my third or fourth time reading Earthsea. I read it in about a week, and I'm sad there isn't more. Earthsea is perhaps the 20th century's greatest contribution to fantasy literature--and I say that specifically with Tolkien in mind. Middle Earth is arguably better worked out, with books and books of backstory that are still dribbling out. But Le Guin rewrites fantasy, and rewrites heroism, in ways that Tolkien could never have imagined.

What is Le Guin doing here? First, it's a fantasy w
Anna Nesterovich
Nov 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
Don't get me wrong, I love the story. That one star is definitely not for the story. When I first heard there going to be an illustrated edition, I imagined something like the latest gorgeous fully illustrated volumes of Harry Potter. Alas. This book turned out to contain very few illustration, and at the same time to be unreasonably thick (as a function of being too small) and unwieldy. And my main problem is the font. It's too small to be comfortable, and not because I don't like small fonts i ...more
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Books of Earthsea is epic from straight out of the door! :D The edition is presented is presented with a host of features that tie into the the overall Earthsea books in here! :D The Earthsea stories are all presented in publication order within the book and chart the tales of the of Sparrowhawk, Tenar and the rest and make for a great character ark over the events that transpire! :D

The Books of Earthsea is jammed packed full if illustrations as well that neatly tie into the text and really
Best Art Book * Finalist for the 2019 Hugo Awards

The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition, illustrated by Charles Vess, written by Ursula K. Le Guin (Saga Press /Gollancz)

I skimmed through this huge heavy edition (since I've previously read nearly all the Earthsea books over the last 3-4 decades) and took a few photos of my favorite illustrations:




My Flickr album for this 2019 Hugo Award category:

* Best Art Book: Under the WSFS
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is absolutely beautiful but dang is it a large book! It is thick and heavy - they need to add *weight* to the description along with page count. Reading this book is a physical act unless it's resting in your lap. This is not the kind of book you slip in your backpack on the off chance you'll have a spare moment to read during the day. It's the kind of book that sits proudly on your shelf or in the place of honor next your favorite reading chair. Suggested alternate titles: The Dictionary O ...more
Charn Singh
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
What sets Books of Earthsea apart from most of fantasy works is probably the depth centered around the flourishing world that Le Guin builds into breathing life. It might be arguably one of the best genre literature to delve into complex dynamic of characters’ struggle with their understanding of self while balancing the chemistry against the ‘traditional’ sort of evil. And yet, this is pulled off with amazingly simple charm, compiled in a book of ultimate grandeur. Any author who can have the s ...more
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece! The illustrations are really beautiful, too.
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
This was a 2018 christmas gift...this 1008 page tome with a gold ribbon attached for bookmarking pages. A couple of days ago when I was laying on the couch reading it, my wife asked me if I was reading the

I made some commentary along the way but let me wrap up by saying that the first 4 books, A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore and Tehanu were all books I have read at various times. The first three, the original trilogy, I read when I was in my teens
Phil James
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I started this book 45 years ago and just finished it now!
I got myself this magnificent edition of all the novels, with a few short stories and the author's comments , to finally catch up from where I left off in Mrs. Cooper's primary school class.
At 10 I was avidly reading anything that looked interesting in the little book stand in the corner of the classroom. " The Wizard of Earthsea" blew my mind, but although in later years I re-read it I never read the others.
Funnily enough I'm glad I wai
Fraser Simons
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
It is a magical thing to read these in order, all at once. There’s barely a few pages here that I wasn’t that into. Those just just from the fifth books collection of stories. Everything else really does build nicely on each other. From books to the short stories afterward, the overall narrative benefits immensely from the buildup. Each book I liked more than the last even though all were incredible.

The only gripe would be I expected more artwork and the font is very small. It’s a heavy book on
Crypto Punk
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Before I get to my review of the actual Earthsea series, let me take a minute to gush about how wonderfully put together this edition is. The beautiful illustrations accompanying the stories, combined with afterwords from the author, contextualizing how each of the particular books in the series came into being - make this a worthwhile purchase and one of the best ways to read this story.

Earthsea was one of my first true experiences with the fantasy genre. While I have had short trysts with fant
Kris Sellgren
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Le Guin’s six-novel epic of magical Earthsea is a treasure. Reading them all at once, with her end notes for each novel and a scattering of short stories, shows how her overarching themes connect seemingly unrelated tales. What is the nature of proper, and improper, magic? How do death, immortality, an afterlife, and reincarnation interact? Why is the language of dragons also the language of wizardry? Why are wizards celibate, and witches not? Ignore the marketing that labels Earthsea as YA fant ...more
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-but-read
Read the appedix "a description of Earthsea" and the Short stories following i had not encountered before. Beautiful illustrations and really cool book with all stories finaly collected in one beautiful Book :)
Daniel Welker
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"You thought, as a boy, that a mage is one who can do anything. So I thought, once. So did we all. And the truth is that as a man's real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do..."
Goodness, me; what is there to say about this book that hasn't already been said?

It is charming. It is original. It is deeply moving. It is wildly brilliant. It is another Thursday in the life of Ursul
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
All of the Earthsea books and stories in one volume, with lovely illustrations by Charles Vess, one of the best fantasy artists out there, is a massive, somewhat shambolic monument to Le Guin's importance as a fantasy writer. The material here was originally published across decades, and refinements of the concept, revisions to it, and downright retcons (nothing in the first book suggests in any way a key later point, that wizards do not merely choose celibacy but enchant themselves to foreclose ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: high-fantasy, fantasy
All works pertaining to Earthsea have been collected into this single volume, illustrated by Charles Vess. It includes the six books in the series, descriptions of Earthsea's lands, peoples, and phenomena in the form of encyclopedia entires, two short stories that pre-date the first novel, two short stories set after the last novel, and a lecture on how Le Guin's understanding of heroism changed over the 30 years in which she wrote Earthsea. If I could have wished for anything more, it would hav ...more
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
So I wanted to rate each book of Earthsea on its own, but I feel like I have to review the series as a whole, as well as give credit to this lovely omnibus. Of course, the entirety of Earthsea was a beautiful ride from start to finish, but I'd like to especially bless this giant tome for what the individual books did not include. The art was charming, and the disparate, moving stories included at this book's end were testaments to Le Guin's versatility as a writer--even when she's writing in one ...more
Elan Firpo
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful illustrations, stories of dragons and wizards and the strength of human characters. Reading this book hurt my hands - it is HUGE and heavy. But worth it. Entertaining
Nick Klagge
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's hard to give a single review to this volume, which consists of six novel-length books as well as a scattering of additional short stories and essays. To start with, I have to say that the illustrations didn't add a ton to my experience. There are relatively few of them, and while they are fine, they didn't have a very distinctive style. I much preferred the small vignette-style sketches in "Always Coming Home." Given this, and the fact that it's almost a thousand pages, I would almost say i ...more
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
*deep breath*
Okay, here goes. I'm writing a review of all of Earthsea. This collection helped sustain me during quarantine and I was so glad I checked it out before the library closed.

First, to get this out of the way, the illustrations sucked. Like, they're really bad, as if they were drawn by a high school senior who took a lot of art and thought he was a really great artist and drew dragons and crap. The cover is cool, maybe his drawings just don't work in black and white.

I really appreciat
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow I finished it. It took me 5 months and I read every page of this tome! 50 points to Gryffindor! Loooong review coming soon. ~~ 30 Nov 2019



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Ursula K. Le Guin 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. She lived in Portland, Orego ...more

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)
  • Tehanu (Earthsea Cycle, #4)
  • Tales from Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #5)
  • The Other Wind (Earthsea Cycle, #6)

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