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Voices (Annals of the Western Shore) Hardcover – September 1, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
Memer is the narrator and hero(ine) (though that depends on what outfit she is wearing). Right away you are pulled into her world and the suffering it has been through having to hear only second or third hand of the glory her city once knew.
Not only does the book touch on contemporary issues but it also is very much about the power of the written word and oral communication. (Memer might not realise the power of the oral herself being very biased towards written, but the story has several points where it stressed how the two can work together).
The book has some mature themes though no truly explicit scenes (it does acknowledge the existance of sex and rape however). I enjoyed it and finished it in a couple of hours.
It was only when i was part way through it that I realised it was actually the second book set in that world, and the store didn't have the first. So I can say for a fact that not having read the first one doesn't lessen one's enjoyment or understanding of the second (though there werre probably a few things I missed or didn't pick up on due to that literary hole.)
Memer is a young girl growing up in a city under occupation. Ansul was previously a city of learning and culture; the conquerors have looted the university and destroyed all the books in the city. Writing is demonic, because it takes words, the breath of Atth, the Alds' god, and traps it. Memer's household, Galvamand, was one of the leading households of the city before the Alds arrived, one of the most learned households, and a bit more than that, as we and Memer gradually learn. The house has a secret room, where some of Ansul's books have been preserved, and the head of the household, Sulter Galva, teaches Memer to read. It's the one bright spot in a hard and impoverished life, and for everyone's safety they keep it secret even from the rest of their own household.
Two things upset this precarious stability. One day when she's out doing the marketing, trying to avoid the notice of the Ald soldiers who can be capriciously violent, Memer witnesses the arrival of a Maker, a storyteller--Orrec, with Gry, and a pet lion they've acquired. Because of the Alds' ban on books, and because both Alds and the citizens of Ansul greatly admire storytellers, Orrec's arrival would have been a major event even if the lion hadn't panicked one of the soldiers' horses. Memer, with great presence of mind and a sense that the god of luck has taken charge of her for the day, manages to get control of the horse before it runs anyone down. In the aftermath of this, Orrec and Gry are invited to stay at Galvamand while they're in Ansul.Read more ›
For a novel that has a lot to do with story-telling and reading, VOICES has more action and excitement than readers might expect. The arrival of Orrec, a great storyteller (and the narrator of GIFTS), rekindles the courage of Ansul's people, and they attempt to rebel against their oppressors. Memer finds herself caught in the middle, torn between her loyalty to the Waylord, who wishes to find a peaceful solution, and her hatred for the soldiers who destroyed so many things that she treasured. With many twists and turns along the way, VOICES delivers a conclusion that is both satisfying and unpredictable.
Perhaps the strongest element of the novel, however, is the way it moves from black and white to shades of gray. Orrec believes that all people have some good in them, and as Memer is forced to get to know the invaders she despises, she realizes that they are not all terrible and cruel. Some of them are simply different, and unable to understand her way of life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Voices takes place in an invaded, enslaved city, and is about the aftermath of war, distrust and revenge. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bartimaeus
I’m still fairly new to Ursula K. LeGuin’s work. This is only my second LeGuin book; I was inspired to pick it up after being impressed by the first book in the Annals of the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by E.J. Jones
Voices is a very good book. I enjoy just about every book Ursula Leguin has written, and I look forward to seeing more in the future!Published 6 months ago by Subjectus
Interesting premise, engaging events, and convincing, compelling characters. Very loosely connected to the previous and subsequent books in the series. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Florence W.
A delightful fairy tale, good YA, and with Le Guin's usual introspective girl hero. A dramatic plot resolved with excitement but without violence, pain without suffering, and... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Lazyland
VOICES is about the power of books and of reading, against the barbarians who think that books are accursed objects. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Terence Blake
It was pretty good, a fast read. I was anticipating a grander finale but the ending was a little disappointing. Still a good read.Published 11 months ago by Steph Mika
Probably my least favorite in this "trilogy" (the books are loosely linked, but could be read separately). Read morePublished 13 months ago by H.G.
Ursula le guin at her best. It is beautifully written and woven throughout with wisdom and love. I can't wait to read the next book in the trilogy.Published 13 months ago by Ipadrunnernm