marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

The Tombs of Atuan

The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin

Spoilers for Wizard of Earthsea ahead.

I actually read this one first as a child, but I think it works better in this order.

So we start with Tenar, and having been introduced to her as a small girl with her parents, we then get to see her transformed into Arha, the Eaten One, the First Priestess and the sole priestess of the Nameless Ones, the dark and mysterious powers of the Place -- it needs no other name, the oldest and most sacred place.

So we watch her grow up about the Tombs, the mysterious rocks there, and learn her own secrets, because the First Priestess is always reborn as herself.  She learns of power and politics, has a friend, works out the Labyrinth, and hears stories about the evil sorcerers, and how in the Treasury, they keep half an amulet, which a Priest-King had broken, thus fatally weakening a sorcerer, and then sent there to be kept safe forever.  Many thiefs had come to steal it.

And, in due course, one comes in her lifetime.

The rest of the tale involves light in dark places, disbelief, an empty coffin, a rabbit, and quite a bit more.
Tags: fiction reviews: children's fantasy, fiction reviews: high fantasy

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