From School Library Journal
Grade 7 Up—Gavir, a 14-year-old slave in a noble household in Etra, one of the city-states in Le Guin's vividly imagined country, the Western Shore, is troubled by visions that may or may not foretell future events. Kidnapped in early childhood from the northern Marshes, set apart by his darker skin and hooked nose, endowed with a prodigious memory, Gavir is educated to become the scholar who will teach the family's children and their slaves. Protected by his elder sister, Gavir accepts his lot, unable to imagine any other life. Trusting his masters implicitly, he is blind to the danger that enslavement poses to his beautiful sister. When she is raped and killed by the second son of the household, Gavir walks away from the city, crazed with grief. He continues to walk for three years, passing through a wild forest into the Marshlands where he was born. He meets a variety of people along the way, some protective, some threatening, each one contributing to his quest to discover who he is and where he belongs. Hunted by an old enemy from Etra, Gavir returns to the forest to rescue a small girl he met there. In a thrilling escape sequence, he carries her to freedom. He finds a home with Orrec, Gry, and Memer, heroes of Gifts
(2004) and Voices
(2006, both Harcourt). Le Guin uses her own prodigious power as a writer to craft lyrical, precise sentences, evoking a palpable sense of place and believable characters. This distinguished novel belongs with its predecessors in all young adult collections.—Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Ursula Le Guin is already much beloved by science fiction readers young and oldnot only because she writes compelling novels for adults and adolescents but also because she has been doing so for nearly 50 years. Powers
has been published as a young adult novel, but reviewers agree that anyone will enjoy Le Guins complex characters, fascinating worlds, and explorations of power and learning. Critics emphasize, however, that Gavirs growing pains will appeal to todays young readers, particularly those who feel isolated from their peers (and what kid who reads 512-page books other than Harry Potter doesnt feel isolated from time to time?). While some of Le Guins older readers may feel that nothing will ever top the Earthsea series, for readers who pick up the author today, Powers
and the rest of the Western Shore series may become the classic.Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.