A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
Two years ago a conversation with a stranger in the waiting room of a hospital introduced me to the name Ursula Le Guin and her Books of Earthsea. I was intrigued, but preoccupied and didn't search them out for a while.
I stumbled on them last summer at, where else, the Half Price Bookstore sale rack. I could not pass up the bargain and bought the first three books. I was rewarded with a treasure.
The first A Wizard of Earthsea is a slim, just under 200 page gem. It is of the wizard Ged, known as Sparrowhawk as he grows. He is a motherless child, with a preoccupied father, living in the archipelago of Earthsea on the stark isle of Gont.
Sparrowhawk is trained first by the village witch, his aunt, later by Ogion a solitary and great wizard, and then at the island of Roke, the Isle of the Wise. Sparrowhawk is hindered often by his feelings of inferiority and the conflicting pride which ends up almost costing him his life.
A Wizard of Earthsea is a fable, a story of maturing and choices, a story of nature and nurture and questing. Full of real creatures and fantastical creatures, A Wizard of Earthsea is a quiet delight. Listed as a Young Adult selection, I would have no problem allowing my eleven year old to read this thoughtful fantasy/adventure story.
I didn't have huge expectations, but was indeed very surprised and pleased. Currently I am reading The Tombs of Atuan, the sequel.
On my original list to read for the Fall into Reading 2008 Challenge hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days