Thursday, October 4, 2012
Review: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin
Author: Ursula Le Guin
Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth. Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death's threshold to restore the balance.
Hmm...Well, I have this thing where my brain automatically becomes prejudice against a book that is assigned for school. I wanted to like this book, but honestly, I didn't enjoy it as much as my classmates. It almost felt like Harry Potter, except the plot was not as clever, and you didn't fall in love with the characters. It almost felt like The Lord of the Rings, except not as epic. It almost felt like it was going to be good...
As we enter the world of Earthsea, Ged (Sparrowhawk) is introduced, and his power becomes obvious. He soon leave his master, choosing to go to a real wizard school. Mistake number 1.
Then he lets his ego grow, and his hatred for a fellow classmate cloud his good judgement, releasing a shadow that will follow him, haunting him until Ged can figure out how to get rid of it. Mistake number 2.
From then on, the rest of the book is Ged's self-loathing and anger rolled up into a journey to escape and then destroy the shadow that is haunting him. How exciting.
One of the reasons the book did not quench my thirst for a new Harry Potter, was Ged. He was not an epic hero, in my opinion. He did not possess the qualities of a desirable protagonist. He was not the type of hero you would jump up and down for, willing them to succeed. His own greed and hubris caused his problem, he was the reason his quest began in the first place. From a silly young boy, to a self-loathing and damaged young man, he was not a character worthy of the Hero title.
I am actually a little bothered that I didn't enjoy this book, as I would have loved to find a new Harry Potter-esque series to channel my lonely emotions, which have been craving a new whirlwind tale like Harry Potter, since the Deathly Hallows was released.