Miriam
Miriam asked:

Is it worth the read? What did you like and dislike about it the most?

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David Leow This is a beautifully written book but it is not Harry Potter. Rowling's books are plot driven team based struggles while Le Guin's tales are woven around the metaphysical. If you have any interest in morality or spirituality you may find these books profound and deeply affecting. If not, Le Guin's books could well leave you feeling a bit bored.

For what its worth, below is the Guardian's and Le Guin's take on Harry Potter

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Q: Nicholas Lezard has written 'Rowling can type, but Le Guin can write.' What do you make of this comment in the light of the phenomenal success of the Potter books? I'd like to hear your opinion of JK Rowling's writing style

UKL: I have no great opinion of it. When so many adult critics were carrying on about the "incredible originality" of the first Harry Potter book, I read it to find out what the fuss was about, and remained somewhat puzzled; it seemed a lively kid's fantasy crossed with a "school novel", good fare for its age group, but stylistically ordinary, imaginatively derivative, and ethically rather mean-spirited.
Allan Boroughs I really dont agree with the other comments - i thought it was one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Loved the characters, the descriptive passages, the world building - everything really. Its only 200 pages, what do you have to lose?
Piotr Segal Honestly, I prefer the Tolkien-like kind of telling the story, that seems to be undertaken by Ursula le Guinn. Rowling is too interested in creating twists and fast pace of the story, whereas both of Tolkien and le Guinn are more concerned about the characters, the beauty of the described world and, foremost, the message.
Thomas Other people are comparing this to Harry Potter for some reason. The only similarity to that series is that a young, powerful wizard goes to a school to learn magic, and that's not even the focus of A Wizard of Earthsea. Le Guin crafts an easily imagined fantasy world, and writes with a style that makes the character and his travels seem mythic and legendary. The story moves quite quickly, but there isn't a massive amount of dialogue or conversation. its reasonably dark, without much levity, but its quite thought-provoking.

It works well as a story on its own but, if you enjoy it, its part of a larger series that evolves into something more than a simple tale of a wizard fighting off evil. Further books in the series have strong female characters, as is common of Le Guin, and feature the main character of this book purely in supporting and secondary roles.
Kris Pohyba Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin was just flat awful. I'm kind of pissed off that she has received so many accolades for this book. Her language is trite, "when you light a candle you also cast a shadow" and "it's good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end" are typical quotes from an author who snottily called J.K. Rowling derivative. The dialog is unconvincing, the storytelling patchy, and illogical leaps in both made it seem like my audiobook was skipping several lines at once. Not only do the metaphysics have to be blatantly explained but they are done so in such a smug and condescending way (not at all helped by Harlan Ellison's narration) as to lose all authority of meaning. More simply put: the lessons about the meaning of life that the author is trying to teach us ring false because she's being such a preachy know-it-all.

The Wizard of Earthsea reads like a nerdy 8th grade girl writing stories for 8th grade boys so that they would like her.

She portrays the Wizard Ged as lowly outcast in the beginning and ends on him being the enlightened outcast. There is very little mention along the way of interpersonal relationships or even life lessons as Ged bounces from one place to another taking what he needs to further his quest and treating everyone else as an afterthought. Instead of illustrating trust, love, learning, introspection, etc. Le Guin just flatly states that those things are there and expects the reader to accept them.

There is no point at all to having a middle-aged white lady write a black male teenage protagonist if the only reason for doing so is to drop one line about "white savages" without further expansion. Where is the social commentary? Where are the lessons of racism, class, exclusion v. acceptance? Why else would an author choose to write from a perspective so far from her own? Maybe it seemed daring and groundbreaking for the 60s Berkeley crowd, but even in historical context, this choice of lead character is simply an attention getting device that does not further any kind of real message about equality. Which is especially poignant when you consider how intentionally weak and underrepresented women are in the work.

This novel will not expand your thinking or even sweep you away into the story, this is simply a book to stroke the teenage male ego. No wonder so many in the boys' club that was sci-fi/fantasy writers in the 60s & 70s loved it. If your 13 yo boy is lonely and needs to feel more superior over his peers this is the book to choose. Otherwise skip it and pick up something by Mercedes Lackey, Patricia Briggs or N.K.Jemisin.
Evan This Book is Definitely worth the read. This book hit me on a personal level. Never before have I been so fascinated with the main characters endeavours. It is loaded with food for thought, excellent characters, a complex yet mysterious system of magic, and a personal journey that you take along with Ged.
Ray Otus ABSOLUTELY. Extremely well written, thoughtful fantasy set in a rich world (but not the kind that forces you to memorize 800 proper nouns) and a main character with a real growth arc.
William Walsh It is a well written novel with the following strong points:
a) her characters are complex and are confronted with choices with no easy answers;
b) her descriptive writing is unmatched in young adult fantasy;
c) she confronts difficult ethical choices and cultural collisions.

This is not her best work, but it is a quick read if you don't like it.
Bodhi What kind of books do you like? I'm sure the style won't appeal to every reader, but if you read a few pages into it, I'm sure you'll figure out whether or not it is for you. I'm not all the way finished yet, but I appreciate the detailed, meandering pace of the writing, although sometimes I wish it would get a bit snappy like Harry Potter. I like the way the narrator appreciates natural beauty and kind-of exudes a Zen-like quality. I dislike, sometimes, how many pages are devoted to pondering events or travelling across and between islands.
Laura Millard It is definitely worth the read. It is short, concise and beautifully crafted prose with deep insight. If you're a fan of Harry Potter, you'll appreciate this. I found this book in the children's department of the local library, but it would go right over a kid's head. Read it. Savor it. You won't regret it.
Annie Yang Not really. I read it and barely remembered a thing.
Paz I found it very very slow. Too descriptive for my taste
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