Friday, February 10, 2006

Tales from Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin (January/06)

January had a few bad books in it, and this was another one. I had to read it for school, which was fine, but the professor chose a book in the middle of the Earthsea series and it really did not make much sense to the members of the class that had not read any of the books before. Boring was an understatement, people actually fell asleep attempting the pages of the book. It is laughable because there was a comment in the critique page where a reviewer said something along the lines that if you had not read the series before, this would be a good introduction. Wrong!

There were so many things wrong with this book, but I will give Ursuala the credit that it would likely be better for the reader if they had read the rest of the books before reading this one. It is broken up into a novella called "The Finder" and a few short stories. From what I gather, in the Earthsea series the women are under the men, and one of the purposes of this story was to explain how they got to be that way. It was the fault of the main character of the story, Otter. He had special powers and in his town those with special powers were allowed only to work for the king, so his family tried to hide his gifts from the rest of the town. It did not work and Otter was eventually taken into the Kings service. With the help of a young woman on her last legs, though, his captivity did not last long before he was off having his adventures. He had been bid by the women of the young women's town to find an island where the magical folks lived that was run by women. Otter spent years looking for this island.

When he found it, yes it was ran by women, but that did not withstand the arrival of Otter. It was not long before he was making the decisions for the good of the community and the women were slowly being pushed to the sidelines. I am not even sure if the women knew it was happening, but by the later books in the Earthsea series, men ruled the world. Which is sad. It was a dull explanation, but I find myself one day planning to read the rest of the books in the series to see if this novel would be better to me if I had. It is on my to-do list I suppose.

Overall, though, a terrible book that I would not recommend to anyone unless you plan to read the rest of the series. My rating may change if I ever do that.


Good for a nap, though!


  1. I think 'The Finder' is quite an odd story, but in the same book I loved 'Darkrose and Diamond' and 'Dragonfly'. What did you think of those? Often I read short story collections but it's only a couple that I end up liking.

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  2. I didn't mind the rest of the stories in the book, actually. I suppose my review concentrated so much on "The Finder" because I read it for class and that is what we concentrated on!


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