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Powers (Annals of the Western Shore) Hardcover – September 1, 2007


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Powers (Annals of the Western Shore) + Voices (Annals of the Western Shore) + Gifts
Price for all three: $42.76

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  • Voices (Annals of the Western Shore) $13.75
  • Gifts $15.30

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Product Details

  • Series: Annals of the Western Shore (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books; 1 edition (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152057706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152057701
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,597,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. 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.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Ursula Le Guin is already much beloved by science fiction readers young and old—not 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 Guin’s complex characters, fascinating worlds, and explorations of power and learning. Critics emphasize, however, that Gavir’s growing pains will appeal to today’s young readers, particularly those who feel isolated from their peers (and what kid who reads 512-page books other than Harry Potter doesn’t feel isolated from time to time?). While some of Le Guin’s 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.

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Customer Reviews

Part one was a bit slow but you soon follow Gab and wonder for the next bend in his story.
FridayHarborLisa
Ursula K. Le Guin uses words with the incredible ability to create a mind's image of people and events that open our imaginations.
David B. Brooks
The story of the slaves journey to enlightenment in a dim world is fascinatingly told with great attention to detail.
Steve Lee

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Horton on February 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
(probably 4.5 stars)

Powers is the third book in Ursula K. Le Guin's ongoing series of YA books, Annals of the Western Shore. These are set in fairly standard fantasy world, at a tech level a couple of centuries in arrears to that of our world. The three books so far (the others being Gifts and Voices) are loosely linked by a couple of common characters, Orrec and Gry Caspro: we meet them as children in the first book, where they are the protagonists; and they have much smaller roles as adults in the later books. The three books are set in geographically separate areas of the "Western Shore," and they concern characters with differing magical abilities. But in the end the magical abilities are less important than the social milieus of the characters. Indeed, after three books I can detect a common theme. In each book, the characters are first displayed in a society based in one way or another on slavery. And in each book, the eventual key to escaping slavery is not violent resistance but rather learning.

Powers is probably my favorite so far in this series. Gavir is a boy who was kidnapped from his home in the Marshes as a tiny baby, and taken to the City State called Etra to be a slave in the House Arcamand. The Father of the House of Arca is a relatively benign slaveowner, and Gavir, along with his sister Sallo, grows up fairly comfortably. Gavir does have a magical talent, apparently unique to people of the Marshes -- he occasionally "remembers" future events. But his sister urges him to conceal these visions.

Slaves in this House are educated, and Gavir in particular is a promising scholar, and he is trained to become a teacher.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on September 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I kept glancing back at the cover when I started reading Ursula K. Le Guin's POWERS. It sounded so different from the EARTHSEA series that it didn't even seem like the same author. It was much longer and more personal than anything I had ever read from her before. But, as I read on, a lot of what I loved from older books, like the descriptions and the colorful characters, gradually surfaced here.

Set in a world much like Ancient Rome or Greece, this five-hundred page epic follows Gavir, a bright young boy who was stolen as a baby and sold into slavery. Unlike most slaves, Gav is comfortable and happy. He lives with a wealthy family along with his older sister, Sallo. Despite hearing rebellious talk from other slaves and seeing hints of cruelty from freemen, Gav is fiercely loyal to his house and city. His impeccable memory makes him the perfect candidate to be a future teacher for his house. He also has another remarkable ability, the power to see snippets of the future and the past. Unfortunately, his gift does not warn him of the tragedy that is to come. His trust in his masters is betrayed and, mad with grief, he flees home. As always, Ursula K. Le Guin tackles hard subjects such as slavery, culture clashes, and the definition of freedom in this coming-of-age novel.

Though it starts slowly initially, once it picks up POWERS will have readers engrossed. Magic takes a backseat in this fantasy. Here the adversaries are not magical, rarely evil, and purely human. One of the strongest points in this novel is that all characters big and small are well thought through and carefully drawn. The kind and brave aristocratic son Yaven, the hermit Cuga, and the charismatic rebel slave Barna are just a few.

Ursula K.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Peter Hentges on September 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Powers is the third book in the recent young-adult fantasy series by Ursula K. Le Guin. Like its predecessors (Gifts (Annals of the Western Shore) and Voices (Annals of the Western Shore)) it features the story of a young person coming to discover that they have a magical talent and the way that discovery changes them and the world around them.

What I loved about this book was that it showed Le Guin's mastery of her craft. As a "young adult" novel, its surface story is a quick read and is composed with a spareness that makes it seem simple. Nothing could be further from the truth. Each sentence is constructed for purpose and reading this novel is like eating a gourmet meal. The portions are not huge, but each element is in perfect balance and selected to complement the others.

The result is a book with intricate layers of meaning and theme. She touches on, as you might imagine, power but also explores themes of loyalty, slavery, education, politics and more. Each time I go back to a Le Guin novel, I find something new and this book will be no different. This book entertains you but also gives you something to think about and discuss with friends.

With the third book in this series, it seems that the setting is beginning to speak to Le Guin more. This book is longer than the others and also covers more ground, both thematically and geographically. More of the Western Shore setting is being revealed to us and becoming an interesting character in the series as well.
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