Thursday, March 05, 2009

Voices by Ursula K. Le Guin (The Annals of the Western Shore Trilogy, Book 2)

*This was supposed to be posted on Wednesday. I got my days of the week mixed up! Sorry I am late!*

Books Completed: 47
Completion Date: February, 2009
Pages: 360
Publication Date: March 4, 2008

Reason for Reading: Next in the Series. Buddy review with Chris, head on over to his blog to read his answers to my questions!
Ansul was once a peaceful town filled with libraries, schools, and temples. But that was long ago, and the conquerors of this coastal city consider reading and writing to be acts punishable by death. And they believe the Oracle House, where the last few undestroyed books are hidden, is seething with demons. But to seventeen-year-old Memer, the house is the only place where she feels truly safe. Then an Uplands poet named Orrec and his wife, Gry, arrive, and everything in Memer's life begins to change. Will she and the people of Ansul at last be brave enough to rebel against their oppressors? Includes an interview with the author and a teaser to the third book in the series,Powers.

1. How do you think Voices compared to Gifts?
I really liked Gifts, so it was hard to beat it, but Voices succeeded! I actually really liked Voices and thought it was better than Gifts. They are both good reads, though. Voices just spoke to me more than Gifts did. It is unusual for the second book in a trilogy to be the better book, but I think it is a mark of how good an author Le Guin is that she managed to accomplish that.

2. Do you think it's necessary to read Gifts before reading Voices?
Nope. Voices has some of the characters from Gifts, but it is an entirely different story set in an entirely different town. Even if you hadn't read Gifts you would still be able to figure out what was going on in Voices.

3. What did you think of the library?
I thought the library was one of the best aspects of the book. Reading about Memer exploring the library and visiting with the books that were banned from society in their entirety was really well written. I also enjoyed the description of the books and the shelves. I see libraries all the time and pretty much have my own at my house, but Memer was seeing something that not very many people in her society had seen before. It was nice to see through the eyes of someone who doesn't take a library for granted.

4. How about Memer? Did you like her? Did you picture her as looking like she does on the cover?
Memer was a really good character. She wasn't overly immature, so I didn't find her annoying as she told the story. I enjoyed reading about her world and her adventures. She was a very likable character. As to how she looked, I probably could see most of the cover picture in my head, but the hairdo was a bit surprising.

5. What did you think of Orrec and Gry in this book? And how about Shetar?
I really liked all the secondary characters. Orrec and Gry were the main characters from the first book, so I enjoyed how Le Guin worked them into the story, but still managed to make Memer the central character and the story fresh and original. In many ways you also go to know the characters better by seeing them through someone elses' eyes.

6. What did you love about the book?
One of the things that I have always loved about Le Guin's books is her diversity of characters. Even in fantasy novels of the make-believe, the characters are often white men or women. Le Guin has always been revolutionary in the fact that she doesn't do what everyone else does. She also doesn't specify skin colour in many cases. It is common for people to read and just assume that the characters are white because that is what is seen normally, but that is not something you can assume about Le Guin.

7. Anything you dislike about the book?
Nothing that jumps right out at me. Unfortunately, it is has been a couple weeks since I finished this book, so it is not as fresh in my memory as it once was!


  1. The diversity is one of the things I love the most about her work too. And I agree, this is a stronger book that Gifts! I'm so glad you and Chris enjoyed it.

  2. It was good! I was going to start Powers but I haven't had much reading time in the last couple days. Hopefully that changes soon!

  3. It sounds like we thought the exact same thing about this one :p I totally agree that you don't have to read Gifts first to appreciate this one. This was fun :D We should do it again some time.

  4. Chris: It was fun! We really should do it again. :)


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