A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula LeGuin, is my first book for the Dewey’s Books Reading Challenge. It’s actually a re-read for me — I read it 30 years ago and didn’t care much for it. Dewey read it and reviewed it, and felt the same way about it, so I was curious to read it again to see if my response to it was different after this many years. I did like it better than I remembered, but I didn’t fall in love with it, which was disappointing because I know that so many people dearly love it.
Dewey’s review was short, but the book didn’t capture her, either, and she blamed that on the fact that she didn’t care for the fantasy genre. I love to read fantasy, so my problem with it was something else.
I’ve been mulling it over for a few days and this is what I’ve been able to pinpoint about my own reaction to the book … I liked the main character, Ged, and the storyline kept me interested, but I felt that Le Guin labored a bit too much to create this entire fantasy world. I haven’t gotten that same “labored” feeling when reading the complete fantasy worlds created by Tolkien or Patricia McKillip, or Charles de Lint. And I haven’t felt that way when I read other works by Le Guin! . Will I feel that way after I read the other books in the series? Perhaps all that labor pays off in the subsequent books?
I listened to the audiobook version this time, (with my hardback copy of the book sitting next to me). It was read by Rob Inglis, the same narrator for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and he did a fabulous job of reading it … but I ended up feeling disappointed nonetheless.