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Fiction > Annals of the Western Shore

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message 1: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana | 144 comments Mod
Here's a place to discuss the books Gifts, Voices, and Powers.


message 2: by Phoenixfalls (new)

Phoenixfalls | 17 comments I really loved these when I read them last year. . . particularly Powers, with the way it portrayed a really. . . sympathetic, to be honest. . . master/slave dynamic, and then cut straight to the bone about why even in the rare cases like that it's still FUCKING WRONG.

You know, all within the context of a really beautiful coming-of-age structure, and that thing somebody mentioned in another thread, where she has young people dealing with special powers. . . but not the ones they wanted/expected.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Phoenixfalls wrote: "I really loved these when I read them last year. . . particularly Powers, with the way it portrayed a really. . . sympathetic, to be honest. . . master/slave dynamic, and then cut stra..."

Word.

I've only read these the once, so they're a little hazy for me.


message 4: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana | 144 comments Mod
I thought Powers in particular was really good. I agree that it was neat that the protagonist almost was wanting to defend slavery at times, that it could be good but, in fact, the book made it clear that it was actually horrible. There was one place where he said something like "I suppose that was what freedom felt like, but it felt like desolation to me." It struck a chord for me.

I'm trying to help this school or home or place for children rescued from sexual trafficking in Hyderabad, India. They rescue the kids, mostly girls, and teach them a trade like welding or brickmaking or something so they don't end up back on the streets. Plus they get basic education. I think about how hard it must be to recover from sexual slavery, to even get an idea of what it's like to own oneself after growing up from a young age in such a situation. UKL always seems to be able to put herself in the places of people in very different situations from her own, and write from their voice. I wonder how she's able to do that. She says the characters just come to her and tell her their stories.

I saw later that Powers won both the Hugo and Nebula awards for its year. UKL does that with some regularity.


message 5: by Robert (new)

Robert (flagon_dragon) | 49 comments My favourite of the three is Voices. Whilst agreeing with the points made above about Powers, I found that its structure after the protagonist's escape was too obviously a tour of different societies so that UKL could say that the one with the greatest democracy, freedom of determination and educational opportunity was the best. This seemed just too unsubtle for me.

Voices, on the other hand showed the perfect integration of plot, incident, character and society necessary for the points she wanted to make. At her best LeGuin can do this, making some of her own books seem second-rate when, compared to her peers, they are still way above the average.


message 6: by Phoenixfalls (new)

Phoenixfalls | 17 comments I loved the first half of Voices. . . but felt that the plot moved too far away from the narrator (I forget her name) in the second half. . . I seem to recall her hearing the results of their revolution second-hand? It was just. . . too distancing a choice. Made me feel like either the girl wasn't the best choice of narrator (though of course she probably had to be to keep the books YA-friendly) or the story really needed alternating viewpoints. . .

I do see what you're saying about the seeming artificiality of the structure of Powers. . . didn't bother me though. ;)


message 7: by Robert (new)

Robert (flagon_dragon) | 49 comments Ha! That never struck me about Voices. I wouldn't want any other veiw-points, though.


message 8: by Tatiana (last edited Feb 27, 2011 01:47AM) (new)

Tatiana | 144 comments Mod
One thing that intrigued me about the series is Powers is written at the behest of the protagonist Gavir's beloved wife. (view spoiler) That would be so awesome!


message 9: by Phoenixfalls (new)

Phoenixfalls | 17 comments Robert-- I wouldn't have minded getting. . . um. . . crap, what was the name of the protagonist from the first book? His perspective in the second book, because he was still a main character there. (Didn't need his perspective for his cameo in the third book though.) Or, better yet, getting what's-her-name his girlfriend's perspective, with the lion.

(I loved that lion. Color me a sucker for animal stories.)

But then there would not have been the pleasing symmetry of each book having the first-person coming-of-age structure. . . so I probably didn't really want another perspective. It just seemed so weird to be hearing about the revolution from someone else!

Tatiana-- I had totally forgotten the line about Gav writing Powers at the behest of his beloved wife. . . yeah, I'd assume that's Memer. I wouldn't want another book featuring everybody's adventures together though. . . as the series stands it's so neatly constructed, I wouldn't want anything to mess with that.

I mean, I want to know what happened next. . . but I don't mind not knowing.


message 10: by Robert (new)

Robert (flagon_dragon) | 49 comments Orrec Caspro and Gry Bar.


message 11: by Phoenixfalls (new)

Phoenixfalls | 17 comments Robert wrote: "Orrec Caspro and Gry Bar."

LOL, thanks! I'm usually great with names, but somehow the names of UKL characters slip from my grasp. . .

(and I was just too damned lazy to walk the ten steps to my bookshelf and check for myself. . .)


message 12: by Robert (new)

Robert (flagon_dragon) | 49 comments I was shocked that I remembered without checking anywhere.


message 13: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana | 144 comments Mod
I had a Wikipedia window open to check names. I can never remember character names very long after the book is done. I especially loved Gry from the first book, and envied her close communication with animals. I think UKL must be an animal person because of the things she notices and writes in her books. Also on her blog there was an entry about a Lynx in a zoo somewhere that she described in a way that was just right. She definitely gets it.


message 14: by Ian (new)

Ian | 42 comments Tell me more about these books. Are they fantasy? Sci-fi? Genre-benders? I could look on Wikipedia or something but I'd rather hear descriptions from you guys :)


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

These are classed as young adult fiction in the bookstores, whatever that means. I'm realizing I don't really have a good grasp on them, as I read them completely out of order, and didn't really understand the circular origami she was doing with characters. They're somewhere between fantasy and science fiction - not fantasy like Earthsea, for sure. Her usual sort of anthropological bent on cultures the way they rub with the individual.

I remember being really moved by Gifts, all of that spare, desolate, familial psychodrama really got to me. I'm a sucker for that sort of thing though.


message 16: by Phoenixfalls (last edited Feb 27, 2011 08:26PM) (new)

Phoenixfalls | 17 comments I'd call them straight high fantasy, complete with requisite coming-of-age plot(s). They're kind of light on action and much more interested in character development and philosophy. There's some fun (well, fun is NOT really the word) stuff about gender that you have to catch out of the corner of your eye, but they're mostly concerned with power -- both power dynamics between individuals and between different sections of societies. So the first book, Gifts, is very much a family psychodrama as Ceridwen put it; the second book, Voices, is about the relationship between an invading people and a subjugated people; the final book, Powers, is about slavery.

And you can read them out of order, because they're all self-contained arcs, but the main characters from the first book are secondary characters in the second and have a cameo in the third, so it probably makes most sense to read them in order if possible.


message 17: by Robert (new)

Robert (flagon_dragon) | 49 comments They're about freedom, in my view.


message 18: by Tatiana (last edited Jun 08, 2012 04:41PM) (new)

Tatiana | 144 comments Mod
You know, it didn't strike me that there was any such agenda in Powers as showing the society with the greatest freedom was best. I was thinking about the novel after my third or fourth rereading and wondering if there was some structure or other in Gav traveling between all the different cultures, and what it meant. I didn't really come up with one. His time with Cuga(?) was probably the time of most freedom, but their lives were very hard and he wouldn't have survived the winter there.

So we have: (view spoiler)

I still don't see any real pattern there. Echoing what happened to Gry in the first book, the people Gav was born with didn't have any use for his main gift, so he had to go elsewhere. But other than that, I'm not sure why there were so many different societies that Gav traveled through. Am I missing it?


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