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The Other Wind (The Earthsea Cycle) Paperback – September 11, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 139 customer reviews
Book 6 of 6 in the Earthsea Cycle Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The greatest fantasies of the 20th century are J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle. Regrettably, the Earthsea Cycle has not received the fame and sales of Tolkien's trilogy. Fortunately, new Earthsea books have appeared in the 21st century, and they are as powerful, beautiful, and imaginative as the first four novels. The fifth novel and sixth book of the Earthsea Cycle is The Other Wind.

The sorcerer Alder has the power of mending, but it may have become the power of destruction: every night he dreams of the wall between the land of the living and the land of the dead, and the wall is being dismantled. If the wall is breached, the dead will invade Earthsea. Ged, once Archmage of Earthsea, sends Alder to King Lebannen. Now Alder and the king must join with a burned woman, a wizard of forbidden lore, and a being who is woman and dragon both, in an impossible quest to save Earthsea.

Ursula K. Le Guin has received the National Book Award, five Nebula and five Hugo Awards, and the Newbery Award, among many other honors. The Other Wind lives up to expectations for one of the greatest fantasy cycles. --Cynthia Ward --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

What a year it's been for Le Guin. First, there was The Telling, the widely praised new novel in her Hainish sequence, followed by Tales from Earthsea, a collection of recent short fiction in her other major series. Now she returns with a superb novel-length addition to the Earthsea universe, one that, once again, turns that entire series on its head. Alder, the man who unwittingly initiates the transformation of Earthsea, is a humble sorcerer who specializes in fixing broken pots and repairing fence lines, but when his beloved wife, Lily, dies, he is inconsolable. He begins to dream of the land of the dead and sees both Lily and other shades reaching out to him across the low stone wall that separates them from the land of the living. Soon, more general signs and portents begin to disturb Earthsea. The dragons break their long-standing truce and begin to move east. The new ruler of the Kargad Lands sends his daughter west in an attempt to wed her to King Lebannen. Even Ged, the former archmage, now living in peaceful, self-imposed exile on Gont, starts to have disturbing dreams. In Tehanu (1990), the fourth book in the series, Le Guin rethought the traditional connection between gender and magic that she had assumed in the original Earthsea trilogy. In her new novel, however, she reconsiders the relationship between magic and something even more basic: life and death itself. This is not what 70-year-old writers of genre fantasy are supposed to do, but then, there aren't many writers around like Le Guin. (Oct. 1)has won a National Book Award, the Kafka Award and a Pushcart Prize.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: The Earthsea Cycle (Book 5)
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reissue edition (September 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780547722436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547722436
  • ASIN: 0547722435
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Le Guin's latest addition to the Earthsea Cycle is truly a triumph. In the third book in this series, The Farthest Shore, Ged the Archmage sets out on a quest that ends in the restoration of the balance between life and death, the living and the dead... or so it seems. In the Other Wind, Le Guin portrays an unrestful land, where the dead start reaching over the wall that seperates them from the living. We are able to meet the characters from the other Earthsea books again, who have all matured and changed. In fact, Ged and Tenar are leading restful, almost ordinary lives at home. Some readers may find it unsettling to find their hero's lives so changed, and the land of Earthsea quivering on its foundations, but the conclusion of the novel brings together everything good about the books. With this final novel, Earthsea seems to be bound together again, unshakingly, although not without a few seperations... The song of the woman of Kemay presides, hauntingly, over the plotline of the book.
Farther west than west,
Beyond the land,
My people are dancing
On the other wind.
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Format: Hardcover
Have you ever read a book that was so well crafted that at the end of a chapter, instead of charging into the next one, you paused and reflected on what you have read? Have you ever read a book where you were at the edge of laughter and tears on the same page? You can.
Le Guin has taken the loose ends of her four earlier Earthsea novels and her recent collection of Earthsea short stories, combined those loose ends and your favorite characters from them with some serious thinking on the life and death, and created the finest Earthsea story to date.
Alder is a "mender," a repairer of broken pots, a mere sorcerer, one who should never see the low wall that only wizards know, the wall that separates the living from the dead. Yet the wall and the dead torment his sleep. The dead call to him, asking to be set free and, most shockingly of all, his dead wife has kissed him across the wall of stones, something unknown in the history of Earthsea. The Patterner, one of the eight great wizards of Roke, the wizard's isle, has sent Alder to Ged. And while Ged may have lost his power of wizardry and be done with doing, his heart goes out to the tormented young man. He counsels him, finds him a temporary solution to his nightmares, and sends him to Havnor, to the King Lebannen. For Ged thinks that Alder may herald a change for Earthsea, one even greater than those Ged wrought.
Alder meets other characters in his quest. Some are old friends of the reader: Tenar, from "The Tombs of Atuan" and "Tehanu;" Tehanu herself, who is somehow the daughter of Kalessin, the eldest dragon; Lebannen, the young king from "The Farthest Shore." Some are acquaintances from "Tales from Earthsea," most notably Irian, now Orm Irian.
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Format: Paperback
If you've read all the previous Earthsea books, this one is worth getting just to see all the loose ends of the series neatly tied up. We finally straighten out the historical relationships between the Kargs, the dragons, and the people of the Archipelago. I liked knowing what happens to all my favorite characters- like getting postcards from old friends.
I wish I could give the book full marks, but there were a couple of big problems I had with it. The first half was good, but after that everything that happened was completely inevitable. Predictable. Second, after maintaining a pretty consistent view of the afterlife (in the Archipelago, anyway) in the first several books, LeGuin's turnaround in this book felt like she'd regretted the rather grim afterlife portrayed in the first several books and was trying to *fix* things. It didn't ring true.
So it's not her best work, but it's still a good read and if you like the Earthsea books you'll want to read this one too.
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Format: Paperback
Like all of Ursula LeGuin's novels--and especially her Earthsea series, which Amazon justly calls one of the two great fantasy series of the twentieth century (along with The Lord of the Rings)--this wonderful short novel is about something far more than the magic wielded by her characters or the dragons who fly on that other wind. Like all of the Earthsea stories (which include five novels and a collection of novellas), this book appears to be about Ged, the archmage who is known by his common name, Sparrowhawk; yet like all but the first, this book is actually focused on the journey of another character entirely. Alder, a simple village spellcaster, has lost his beloved wife. In his grief and against his will, he has found himself searching for her across the wall that marks the boundry between the living and the dead--the wall that only wizards can cross. In his struggles to come to peace, he journeys to Ged, as do Tehanu, a scarred young woman, and Tenar, the one-time priestess whom Ged rescued long ago and who has been attempting to live happily ever after. Also along for the ride is Lebannen, the young king, who is attempting to live up to the promise of his long-prophesied assumption of the throne. There are small moments of beauty and great moments of the sublime. Throughout, LeGuin explores the human fascination with and fear of death; she holds it up and looks at its different facets in the light like an archeologist studying the various sides of an ancient amulet.

This is not, I think, a young person's novel--the first three Earthsea books fill that niche brilliantly.
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