Top critical review
3.0 out of 5 starsA good fantasy adventure but left with wanting more.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 2, 2015
After seeing the Earthsea animation from Studio Ghibli, I was very curious as to how this series was outside of the movie. The movie itself had a lot of different aspects from the books involved, so it was hard to judge the movie when it was difficult to follow what was happening. Seeing the world in the movie though was very interesting, and it made me want to see more of the world in the books.
After reading through the first book in the series of Earthsea, I must admit that I will not be looking at any of the follow up books. Reading Wizard was an okay and at times fun experience, but there were so many parts of the book that I felt were unnecessary and just not interesting to read through. It was almost tedious reading through numerous descriptions of characters, places, etc., and I found myself skimming through the language used more often than not to get to some conversation, dialogue, some action, something actually happening. When there were events occurring, it was very interesting, I just wish there were more circumstances that I could point to. I feel that the story is nothing more than following a set route of event happening at this particular place, some traveling and pointing out things that ultimately don't matter, another event happens at the place we were trying to get to, more traveling to another place, etc. I began to see where these sections were beginning in the book, and I would then try to find what would be important to the overall story.
The world created in Earthsea has interesting mechanics used to depict magic and service. The wizards in this series have power over objects and even people based on their knowledge of true names. For example, Ged is the real name of Sparrowhawk, and characters go to great lengths to keep their names secrets and only reveal them to those they can trust and for good reason. It's cool to see how this pans out over the course of the story and in what manner this type of power is used and discussed.
The characters in Earthsea are okay in my opinion with only one character that I really liked named Vetch, who is a friend of Ged's when Ged begins his training as a wizard. Ged, being the protagonist of the story, is an all right character, but the way he starts off being a cocky, arrogant, way too sure of himself kind of person is off-putting to me, and I think that soured the character for the rest of the book, even though he does undergo a change after some events occur. The other characters are interesting enough, but like how the book progresses, people come and go quickly and seem to have little lasting effect on the story. People who I thought would be important in the story would not be mentioned for chapters and then come back only to not be mentioned again.
I want to try to convey through my writing here that, while I did enjoy parts of the book, there were other parts and decisions made in the writing that I feel were not fully developed or could have been much more if more description was given. Would I suggest the book? Yes. I think it is a good fantasy, adventure book that is worth the read, and it's not even that long of a book, so there's no worry about time. If you enjoy what you read, then you can get into the follow up books of which I think there are three others.