In The Earthsea Cycle, readers are swept away to an imaginary, ancient realm where dragons and wizards reside, and learn the life story of Ged, the greatest wizard of Earthsea. Themes of good and evil, humility and pride, and all the intricacy of human nature are explored throughout the installations. This series is an outstanding fantasy, but each book in the cycle does have its fair share of complexities and controversies. In the first, Wizard of EarthSea (1968), readers see Ged’s growth from boy to man, to Archmage of Roke, as the customs and foundations of Earthsea are built for the reader.
In the second, The Tombs of Atuan (1972 Newbery honor), Ged is more in the background as readers meet another key character. This book had one disturbing passage that involved the torture and deaths of some criminals.
The third book, The Farthest Shore was my personal favorite. Many a night I stayed glued to the pages, completely absorbed in Ged’s journey across the sea.
The fourth installation, Tehanu, was the most disturbing, gut wrenching and shocking of the cycle. This was the only book that contained sexual themes, and included a hideous crime done to a child. The recommended reading age should be observed with all the Earthsea books, but Tehanu requires a very mature reader (adult), and should not be considered an appropriate read for young adults.
Ursula Lequin’s style is like no other-her narrations may at first seem simple, but her writing is often not what it seems. Her subtleness is her power. When you least expect it, her words come together in an astonishing way, giving the reader a deep and lingering experience. That’s what makes her works of literature so unique and truly amazing. Ursula Lequin is without a doubt a gifted, startling writer, and The Earthsea Cycle will blow all serious high fantasy fans away for years to come.
Though I’ve yet to read these, the Cycle continues with:
Tales of Earthsea (book 5)
The Other Wind (book 6)
Related website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthsea