A young mage-in-training with unprecedented powers performs a forbidden spell and looses a shadow from another realm that intends to destroy him.
The writing in A Wizard of Earthsea is beautiful, and the world is wholly original. However, this books gets a little too fantasy-ey for me. It’s got a lot of Magic, and not that that much adventure. It’s much more about the ideas than it is about character development–which is fine. It’s just not what I prefer.
I picked it up because I felt like it was a gap in my literary education. Le Guin’s series is a seminal one, and I could see her influence on Patricia McKillip (The Book of Atrix Wolfe and Alphabet of Thorn), another writer whose work I admire but don’t hold with affection.
What most people who don’t read fantasy don’t know is how broad the genre is, and that fans of fantasy don’t have to like all of it. Le Guin’s form of fantasy (and McKillip’s, and also Lois McMaster Bujold, to a lesser degree) is not very accessible to the fantasy novice, and I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who is not familiar with the genre already. If someone asked me for a fantasy read, I’m not really sure what I’d suggest. Any thoughts about good, entry-level fantasy?
White Teeth by Zadie Smith