A Wizard of Earthsea
I broadly stay away from the fantasy genre in fiction because in my limited experience it tends to all add up to the same thing: a bleak, endless tapestry of anguish and torment sans reprieve - like Game of Thrones. But on the back of reading one of her short stories (The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas) and following a recommendation from a friend, I decided to give A Wizard of Earthsea a go.
This is a beautifully written tale set in such a sublimely detailed world that I can’t wait to read more not only to experience another adventure, but to learn more about the world itself. You get the impression that the author must have spent years dreaming up the world with its rules and its factions and its etiquettes before spending even a minute on the story itself.
At times it did feel like the story was rushed a little - there seemed to be unfeasably large amounts of work to be done to resolve things, but then they were suddenly cleaned up, but it was never via deus ex machina, nor lazily done.
There is a timeless quality to this tale which means it would probably be quite forgiving for people unfamiliar with the genre - and there is wisdom in the detail. There were times where I had to stop reading for a while just to let the prose sink in and to let the lesson it was teaching be learned and appreciated.
Despite its fantasy heritage and despite the trials that our protagonist must endure this is a rich, warm, and ultimately rewarding story. A tale of wizards, mages, warriors, and peasants that isn’t doused in machismo and suffering, instead it’s welcoming, erudite, and balanced.
I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
(By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9416064)