Monday, May 23, 2011

Book Club Report: What We Thought of A Wizard of Earthsea

Book: A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: B+
For: Book Club
From: Bought it. (We also used book club sets from the library.)

First a quick summary. This is a book about how a famous wizard learned his stuff. We start out seeing him grow up as a neglected boy who shows some promise. He is then sent off to live with the resident wizard, who in turn sends him off to the wizard school. While there, he has a run in with another student and in order to prove his superiority, he tries to summon the dead. Instead he summons some evil shadow creature which he spends the rest of the book running from.

My quick thoughts: The writing was fabulous, but the story itself wasn't very engaging to me. It felt like a lot of telling and not much of getting the reader involved. Not much conversation, or even inner turmoil of the character. I was a little disappointed and really wanted to like it more.

Random Book Club Thoughts:

  • Everyone agreed this was a book that was more about the story and not about the character.
  • The use of "true name" magic was interesting. Personally, I found this especially interesting having recently read The Name of the Wind which is based on the same sort of thing.
  • We agreed that there were a lot, and we mean A LOT, of geographical names and locations to keep track of! And the map wasn't all that helpful. That was a bit frustrating, if that sort of thing bothers you.
  • Many of us, not all of us I don't think, and not all the time anyway, realized that the characters in this book are black, or dark skinned. We ended up having an interesting discussion on this subject, and how we picture characters certain ways despite the physical description provided! 
  • We watched an appearance of the author that I found online and enjoyed hearing her talk and say how the book came to be and her thoughts behind its development.
  • Most of us enjoyed it fine. A few plan to read more from the series and a few probably won't seek them out.
Since this was the last book club meeting we'll be having until fall, we discussed which books we liked best from our books read list from this past year. It was pretty much a tie between The Potato Peel Pie book, Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and The Count of Monte Cristo. 

Other random books discussed:

Tessa and Sam read and enjoyed Peace Like a River by Leif Enger and A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban. Their 9 year old son joined us for this meeting and he's been reading and loving the Superfudge books by Judy Blume. 

Jessica A enjoyed Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin and The Hip Girl's Guide to Homemaking by Kate Payne, which we all had fun learning about!

Mr. Stuey has been reading the Dark Divine series by Bree Despain. He seems to enjoy them, but calls them fluff.

Jenny has read a lot this past month and from that list has enjoyed The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter and The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han.

Vibeke read the second Flavia book called The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley. She liked it, but it wasn't quite as fun as the first book, she says.

Suey's been enjoying catching up with The Immortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, and reading lots of Utah authors.

Coming up for summer, we'll read Middlemarch by George Eliot and then watch the movie. We'll discuss our thoughts on both at our first meeting after the summer break in September.

It's been a fun book club year!


  1. I love these posts. I always find what each of you are recommending to be fun to read as are the summing up thoughts of book club participants.

    I read this book; need to post my review. I liked the book, by like you, I was not fully drawn in. Although, I am thinking that I liked it better than you. I found the tiny book to be packed with story, albeit it was slow at times. I am curious about the other books in the series. Are you?

  2. I felt very much the same when I read this book. I think I expected more adrenaline for some reason. I've gone on to read a few other books by her (not of the same series), and they are very mellow as well, but now that I expect it, I really enjoy it. I love her writing.
    I love that your book club was willing to read this! I don't think either of mine would go for it. Very anti-fantasy!



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