Review: What a book! What a series! The Farthest Shore is book three in the Earthsea Cycle, and I am in love with this series so far. The Farthest Shore takes place about 17-18 years after The Tombs of Atuan and magic is dying out. I’m going to quote the back of my copy of the book here in regards to a synopsis, because it’s better than what I could come up with!
“Arren, the Prince of Enlad … Ged, the Archmage of Roke … The young prince brought harsh news. There was no longer true magic in Enlad – the mages had forgotten their spells. The springs of wizardry were running dry … With Arren, Ged set out to meet the unknown dangers, to confront his own past, and to test the ancient prophecies…Ged took with him on his journey all the hopes of Earthsea, moving now into doom or into a new age…”
First let me say that this series is marvelous. It is simply a joy to read. There is so much depth and life in this little series. Even though the books are short, they have taken me a bit longer to read because I found myself re-reading scenes multiple times, just to absorb the writing and the atmosphere.
The Farthest Shore takes us back to Roke for a bit, and then off on a journey with Ged and a new character, Arren. I got a definite The Lord of the Rings vibe from this book, in particular with the relationship between Ged and Arren. Arren, to me, is a mix of Aragorn, Frodo, and Sam, with Ged being the Gandalf figure.
This book is darker than the first book, but didn’t seem to me as scary as the second book. There are great characters and settings in this one, with the Children of the Open Sea being particularly enjoyable to me, and if I had a boat I’d name it Lookfar, after Ged’s boat. And the dragons are back! I really missed those dragons in book two, and the way the dragons are written are equal parts terrifying and fascinating. I am amazed at how Ursula K. Le Guin manages to write such detail and evoke such emotions in such a short space. Where other authors write pages and pages of description, she holds back and gives you just enough so your mind’s eye does some work as well. I love it.
I’m going to hold off on reading the rest of the series for a bit, because I’m kind of on series overload right now, and I’d really like to keep the perfection of the first three in my mind for awhile. Stay tuned for my Top Ten Books Read in 2015 post to see where the first three books in the series end up!
Bottom Line: This series is truly something special. A must read for any fantasy fan.