Thursday, July 29, 2004

Tombs of Atuan by Ursula Le Guin

The 2nd book in the Earth-Sea series. As the High Priestess, the one who tended to the fallen gods and the Tombs of Atuan, Tenar grew up in loneliness and darkness in a world of women, all of whom feared and despised her, without family, or even a memory of one, never knowing love or happiness. That is, until a strange young man from foreign shores came to the Tombs of Atuan. He was known as Sparrowhawk, a powerful wizard from the Archipelago, the only living dragon lord and in search of the ring of Elfarrann. Trapped in the 'Maze' by Tenar, who found herself unable to kill the dark young man and therfore kept him in the 'Maze', he told her of a world of which she never knew, a world beyond simply duty, where laughter often rang out. He told her of long forgotten legends of Elfarrann the Fair, whose beauty was so great an entire island sank. And he offered that world to her, should she trust him. The only problem is, should she trust him, when those around her prove to be traitors?

A compelling book. The characters are well-developed, and we are able to see how Tenar grows from a happy, exuberant child into a dark, self-possessed young woman. Sparrowhawk sheds light into her world, and we see how she once again changes, how she learns to trust and laugh.... Eileen Y.

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