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sologdin

sologdin

Currently reading

Middlemarch: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds, Reviews and Criticism (A Norton Critical Edition)
Bert G. Hornback, George Eliot
The Magic Mountain
Thomas Mann, John E. Woods
Love in the Time of Cholera
Gabriel García Márquez
A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin Quick & fun. Pretty obviously YA, insofar as no one dies, the only evidence of sex is that children have been born at some point, no drugs (except ale), no swearing, the narrative generally follows one guy chronologically, lack of macropolitical development (though the notion that a new sorcerers is appointed to a "magistry," like the county sheriff, is pregnant), &c.

I never read this as a kid, so there's no layer of nostalgia here to aid or hinder interpretation--not sure if that's a virtue or not.

Likely a modern locus classicus for the rural-hero-becomes-great stock narrative. I can also see why Le Guin was a bit annoyed with people who claimed that Harry Potter is original: this may also be one of the more important touchstones for "magic school" setting. (She is of course not the first: see here for a good listing--which nonetheless appears to omit well-known manifestations such as Robert Jordan.)

Cool that the main antagonist is generated by, and remains parcel to the protagonist, and that the main conflict is a matter of self-overcoming, in a number of ways. The prose is economical, and conveys the protagonist's various self-evaluations as good and bad things happen. Also refreshing that this is more generic world of faeire than fully baked secondary world; there are some slick details laid out for the setting, but the narrative is more introspective. Sorcery is based on specific subdisciplines (very gygaxian) and "true names" appears to be the engine of the supernatural. Nothing original, but competently done, and a pleasure to read.

Recommended for all fans of fantasy fiction.