Review by Gill-Marie Stewart
This book is not only classic YA, but also classic fantasy! It is a delightful read, very slow and atmospheric. I have heard claims that it is a precursor to the Harry Potter stories but I don’t find many similarities apart from the obvious one of a wizard school. This is far more reminiscent of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kvothe books. It is beautifully written, carefully plotted so that the tension rises slowly, with some peaks when it looks like Ged will be defeated or tricked, but it’s not what I would call a page-turner.
It is, however, a beautiful book. It is very wordy compared to current day fantasy writing, so it isn’t for someone in search of a quick, catchy read. But every word is a good word, and the world created is complete and perfect (not a perfect world, but perfectly complete). This book was written in the late 1960s but reads as though it is from much earlier, almost pre-Tolkien, with its consciously old-fashioned language and rhythms.
My intention was merely to re-read this book, the first of the Earthsea books, but I enjoyed it far more than I expected and am now seriously tempted to go on to re-read the second, The Tombs of Atuan. This is definitely a 5-piranha book.
Gill-Marie writes YA mystery/romances as Gill-Marie Stewart. As Gilly Stewart she also writes women’s contemporary fiction. The first book in her YA series about George and Finn is Music and Lies (try out the first chapter here).