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The Tombs of Atuan (The Earthsea Cycle, Book 2) Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 2001
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About the Author
- Lexile measure : 840L
- Grade level : 7 - 9
- Item Weight : 4.8 ounces
- Mass Market Paperback : 192 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0689845367
- ISBN-13 : 978-0689845369
- Dimensions : 4.19 x 0.6 x 7 inches
- Publisher : Aladdin Paperbacks; Reprint edition (September 1, 2001)
- Reading level : 12 - 17 years
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #146,343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The Tombs of Atuan has great character beats and motivations, solid themes, and conflicts that are more than good guy vs bad guy. The prose is clean, yet alive. The novel's beginning is a bit of a drag, but, it could be argued, the books is about imprisonment, so the reader must go through the process of being locked in the tunnels with priestess Arha to make the resulting adventure meaningful. Once Sparrowhawk shows up, it's hard to put the book down.
The Earthsea chronicles were the very first fantasy material I read and they touched me so deeply that they defined the kind of genre I would look for to read in many many years to come. The notion of magic that is presented in these books is among the most sober and smart that I have found. For a worthy followup, magic-wise, check the books written by Patrick Rothfuss.
In this book we follow a priestess whose name/soul has been eaten, and to whom a place of power has been given, as she sees her tight small world collapse when outside forces (a wizard) come in looking for part of an ancient artifact hidden in the place.
The pace of the book is measured and one gets to really know the ways and tastes of the Place before anything starts to happen. The part where a confused woman speaks with a goat is among the best jokes I have ever met.
I read this text for the first time more than 20 years ago. I am now rereading it to my son, who, at 6, still finds the language a bit challenging, and sometimes goes directly to sleep, and I find myself enjoying the book again with fresh eyes after not reading it for a long period of time.
If you have never read it, please do, you will be delighted and enlightened and puzzled and entertained and shocked and set in a state of wonder and come out of it a better person. If you don't know the series, start by reading "A wizard of Earthsea".
Next to this book I cannot stop recommending a rather uncommon work by Vonda N McIntyre called "Dreamsnake".
Although this is the least interesting of the three Earthsea Cycle books, which is unfortunately because the characters are primarily women, it is still a good yarn and well worth the read, especially if you are reading the trilogy.
a tomb full of women, who live in a Egyptian - Aztec kind of religious seclusion, extreme, dire. Coming to age in this strange temple, the characters are well drawn though somehow muted, dwarfed, like the lives they live, shards
of color and bits of humanity.. but somehow less developed as characters ... with alot of time spent on describing things.. walls, rocks... hills. .
A religion of women who are owned by the men they serve, and deadened by the religion made to serve the men... except in the case of Tenar, who serves the dead. There are details of the rituals that
keep the gods alive, dangerously present. She makes peace with the ominous dark because she is told she is the ... voice of the dark the queen of the dark. These pages, of the little girl in the dark, tired and fullfilling her role,
are really very good. Le Guin always discovers interesting things about these worlds she weaves, and she manages to make the living stone enmity so palpable that even I was anxious to get out of the tombs
and back up onto land again. Her protagonist, though kidnapped and left to sleep in windowless dark, with eunichs as friends, still cannot bring herself to serve the masters she has been given to, and let anyone die down
there in the tombs. She gives her own supper and water, and learns about that which is forbodden from a character who would surely get her in as much trouble as he is in, that is, death by way of starvation and thirst, if
she is discovered. Her kindness, that which is innate to women and children, I think, saves a man who will live on to save the world. And he seems to be almost romantic in his attachment, and this is something I
also look for in the books, that he might like some woman and she might have something to offer him that he cannot find in his own manifestations of magic.
Top reviews from other countries
However, the missing star is due to the fact that the map at the beginning of each volume are VERY POORLY reproduced.
Their low definition makes it virtually impossible to decipher the names of the islands.
In addition, the missing middle map section deletes some of the islands, or parts of them, which makes it all but unusable.
A reader who doesn't have a hard copy to refer to, or who wouldn't make the effort to download a high quality map from the author's website, would be hard put to follow the travel of the protagonists.
The map sections should be resampled as a matter of urgency, as they are essential to the understanding of the story.
Overall, it was pleasure rediscovering thus novel after probably 40 years since I first read it!
The majority of the book is spent describing the painfully boring life of a priestess in a community of isolated lunatics worshipping long gone evil spirits in the middle of the desert with nobody around. Ample and lengthy descriptions of slow walks in dark labyrinths. That’s pretty much it. And a bit of character depth with self doubt and forgotten moments past...
A great holiday read. And not a wand in sight (thank goodness - if any of the characters had uttered those fateful words "Wands out!" I'd have thrown the book out the window).