A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin is the first work of fantasy that the CBG has read, and the first one I have picked up in quite a long time. That I rarely choose that genre is not down to deliberate omission or a dislike for it, though, and after a slowish start I found I was soon wrapped up in the Earthsea world and glad to return to it each day - it was welcome escapism for me.
I loved the book's setting; a vast archipelago, each island physically different and distinct in nature, its people likewise, and the maritime elements, the boats (have we identified Ged's craft Lookfar?), the weather's influence, all this made a strong impression. Then there was the central theme, Sparrowhawk/Ged's journey along "the way of magery" which seemed at first "a broad, bright road", but then "as a man's real power grows and his knowledge widens, ever the way he can follow grows narrower: until at last he chooses nothing, but does only and wholly what he must do ...".
Ged learns a powerful lesson as he first runs from and then hunts the shadow he inadvertently summoned in a moment of over-reaching pride and hatred - the evil he loosed as a result of his arrogance and ignorance. His quest is a rite of passage, and clearly the foundation for his fate in the rest of The Earthsea Quartet, but I was also taken with Ursula Le Guin's stress on the importance of language and the naming of things, likewise on "Equilibrium" and "the Pattern", and on how "a wizard's power of Changing and of Summoning can shake the balance of the world"; the wisdom of it appealed to me.
Having now read this first volume of the series, would I read more? Certainly.
How about you?