Earthsea: a land of many islands and vast oceans, ancient names and fierce dragons, skillful seafarers and powerful sorcerers. The first book in the Earthsea Cycle chronicles the tale of one of its greatest mages, and his terrible mistake.
Sparrowhawk is young when he casts a heavy mist about his village to protect it from eastern raiders and is sent to Roke Island, a school where the highest arts of magic are taught, to be trained in the uses of power. Arrogant and skilled in the ways of mages, Sparrowhawk summons a spirit from the dead, and in the doing releases a nameless shadow set on his death. By the time he is healed from the wounds it inflicts, he no longer cares for pride or shows of power, for the shadow he conjured is out in the world, and though it is far from Roke Island, he knows he will never be free of it until it is destroyed. He travels across Earthsea in search of its name and the means of its destruction, a quest which will bring him to uncharted waters, scheming dragons, and the truth of the shadow which he knows he must defeat.
A Wizard of Earthsea is one of those classic fantasy books which, like Patricia A. McKillip’s Riddle-Master Trilogy or J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, doesn’t disappoint. It has an amazing world, brilliant character development, a unique storyline, and beautiful writing. I’ve read many fantasy novels, and this one remains one of my favorites, along with the others in the Earthsea Cycle (although some of the subsequent volumes are better suited to readers of twelve or thirteen years). It’s one of those books which sweeps you up and you don’t want to stop reading until the end, and it’s perfect for dedicated high fantasy fans. I highly recommend A Wizard of Earthsea to readers ages eleven and up.