2018 End of the Year Book Survey

Thursday, December 27, 2018

It was an interesting year for reading for me. I found some absolute gems, but read some forgettable ones too. For the first time in quite a while I was lacking in the classics department, though I did finally conquer Ulysses! This was also a banner year for new releases from favorite authors of mine. Some were beautiful (Bridge of Clay), some were disappointing (Nine Perfect Strangers and The Clockmaker’s Daughter), and The Labyrinth of Spirits provided closure to one of my favorite series (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books).  

Audiobooks have continued to be a lifesaver for me as I balance life with a toddler. We’re expecting a new kiddo in the Spring and so I’m sure that side of things will be even trickier next year. I maintain that even when life is crazy and you’re exhausted by work/kids/pregnancy/life you can still find time to read if it’s important to you. During my most hectic times I’ve learned that sometimes a comfort reread is just what I need. Other times it’s a brainless fiction story that won’t ask me to think too much. That’s ok! As long as I’m still reading, I’m happy.

Any books I reread this year are not eligible for this list. I also didn’t count the piles upon piles of children’s books I read, except to list a couple favorites. I also don’t limit myself to one book per answer if there are two or three that are a perfect fit.

Number of Books You Read: 142
Number of Re-Reads: 9
Genre You Read The Most From: Total mix of genres this year: classics, YA, fantasy, nonfiction, etc.
1. Best Books You Read In 2018?
Classics — The Mayor of Casterbridge, The Island of Dr. Moreau
Historical Fiction — Love and Ruin 
Mystery — Lethal White (A Cormoran Strike Novel)
Literary Fiction — Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
Nonfiction — All the President's Men, American Wolf, The Day the World Came to Town, I'll Be Gone in the Dark, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake
Fantasy — Circe, the Grisha trilogy 
Play — Henry IV, Part 1 and Birthday Candles
Poetry — Milk and Honey
YA — If You Come Softly,  An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
Science Fiction — Sleeping Giants (The Themis Files), the Red Rising series
Children’s — Anatole, Where Is the Green Sheep? and Little Owl's Night
Graphic Novel — Displacement, Bones

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
How to Stop Time, Nine Perfect Strangers, and Crazy Rich Asians (loved the movie version of this one though!)

3. Most surprising (in a good way) book you read?
The Rules of Magic, I had very low expectations for this Practical Magic prequel, but I was pleasantly surprised to find wonderfully drawn characters.   
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Sleeping Giants 

5. Best series you started in 2018?
Grisha Trilogy and Red Rising

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2018?
Leigh Bardugo 

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
Reading People, a fascinating look at how personality types can impact the way we approach things.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
Bird Box and the Red Rising Trilogy

9. Book You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
The Red Rising trilogy (are you seeing a trend? It was SO good!)

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2018?
Uncommon Type and Loving vs. Virginia

11. Most memorable character of 2018?
Sevro from the Red Rising trilogy and Uncle Hal in The Witch Elm 

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2018?
Circe and Bridge of Clay

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2018?
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, so many incredible women that I hadn’t heard of! I had so much fun reading it to my daughter.
Ulysses, this one was a struggle for me. But I got a lot out of it and I loved seeing the impact it had on censorship and literature.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2018 to finally read?
A Wizard of Earthsea, planning to continue reading this quartet in 2019.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2018?

“I still find a long walk through an unfamiliar neighborhood teaches me more about what’s new and exciting than any number of hours of television can.” -Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

“Really, every time a person said good-bye to another person, they should pay attention, just in case it was the last time.”- When Will There Be Good News?

“What I really love about travel is that it takes us outside ourselves... it unhomes you. And allows you to see possibilities for change, growth, a new life.”- An Age of License

“At the time I was just a kid and life was still a few sizes too big for me.” The Labyrinth of Spirits

“It’s silence was something awesome—an enormous playground for the guilt to wreak havoc, to work him over.” - Bridge of Clay

“A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That’s why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.” - Music for Chameleons

“I don’t believe that blood makes a family; kin is the circle you create, hands held tight.” - An American Marriage 

“I suppose that is what every man must tell himself in war. That there will be an end, and when it is done, enough of himself will remain. Enough to be a father. A brother. A lover. But we know it isn’t true. Don’t we, Darrow? War eats the victors last.” - Iron Gold 

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2018?
Kindred Spirits: 41 pages & Ulysses: 816 pages

17. Book That Shocked You The Most?
Bridge of Clay and Morning Sun  

18. Favorite Couple?
- Nate and Bronwyn in One of Us Is Lying 
- Max and Ory in The Book of M 

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship of The Year?
- Auggie and Jake in Wonder 
- Flavia and Dogger in The Grave's a Fine and Private Place
- Fermin and Daniel in The Labyrinth of Spirits

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2018 From an Author You’ve Read Previously?
Force of Nature and Circe 

21. Best Book You Read In 2018 That You Read Based SOLELY On A
Recommendation From Somebody Else?
If You Come Softly and The Music Shop

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2018?
Jesse from Out of the Easy

23. Best 2018 debut you read?
The Book of M

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
Smile: The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland. This one just gave me hope. On such a dark day, the world was still full of selfless people willing to help complete strangers.
Most Fun: The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay & Diaries, Emma Thompson is hilarious and I wish we were friends.

26. Book That Made You Cry in 2018?
- American Wolf, I don’t handle animal deaths in books very well.
- One True Thing, a Mom dying of cancer hits a bit close to home for me.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
I Am, I Am, I Am 

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
Under the Banner of Heaven, the book is well written, but the real events are just awful.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2018?
Sleeping Giants, loved this one! Even the way the author approached the story telling was unique. We see it all happen through interviews conducted by a nameless man. I would highly recommend the audio version of this one.

30. Book That Made You the Maddest?

All the President’s Men, excellent book, just a little too close to our current situation. 

Thanks to Perpetual Page Turner for once again hosting this survey! It’s always so much fun to look at everything I read throughout the year and think about what I loved/hated. 

Photo by me.

The Classics Club Challenge Part 2

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

I had so much fun completing my original list of 100 books for The Classics Club that I've decided to dive in again. Though I finished my list last year, I obviously never stopped reading classics, so I'm making my "start" date April 2017, since I completed my first list in March 2017

I am giving myself a little grace here and instead of reviewing each one with a post, I may just mark it as complete when I am done. I am also allowed to swap books on or off if I find something else I'd prefer to read. 

I will be tracking my progress on my original list page here.
For more information or to join the fun, you can visit The Classics Club here

1) Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
2) The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
3) Foundation by Isaac Asimov
4) Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
5) Go Tell It On the Mountain by James Baldwin
6) The Professor by Charlotte Bronte
7) Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs 
8) The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré
9) Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather
10) Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe
11) Hard Times by Charles Dickens
12) Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
13) The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas
14) The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
15) Juneteenth by  Ralph Ellison
16) Go Down, Moses by William Faulkner
17) The Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney
18) The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
19) North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
20) Neuromancer by William Gibson
21) The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene
22) Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy 
23) The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy
24) Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway
25) Ulysses by James Joyce 
26) Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey
27) Independent People by Halldor Laxness 
28) The Earthsea Quartet by Ursula K. Le Guin
29) Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
30) Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
31) Love by Toni Morrison
32) Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven
33) The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine
34) Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
35) The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
36) Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
37) Henry IV part 1 & 2 by William Shakespeare 
38) King John by William Shakespeare 
39) Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
40) Sophie's Choice by William Clark Styron
41) The Death of Ivan Ilych and other Stories by Leo Tolstoy
42) A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain
43) God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut
44) The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
45) The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells 
46) The Once and Future King by T. H. White
47) Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
48) Black Boy by Richard Wright
49) The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
50) We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

The Mark Twain House & Museum

Thursday, December 13, 2018

As you might have guessed, I love visiting literary spots while traveling. A recent work trip took me to Massachusetts via the airport in Hartford, Connecticut and I couldn't resist taking a quick side trip to the Mark Twain House & Museum

The gorgeous home is huge! No pictures are allowed inside, but an extensive guided tour gives you time to enjoy everything while learning about the famed author's life. I loved hearing more about his family life. There's also a separate museum with exhibits and a gift shop. You can see things like his desk (pictured above) and artifacts from his travels. 

I always assumed he build this home after becoming famous and wealthy, but it was his wife's family fortune that funded the home. He loved to entertain and the place is clearly designed for that. There are so many gorgeous details that have been preserved in the three-story mansion. Honestly, it's worth visiting for the home alone, even if you aren't a fan of the author! There's a little garden conservatory, a carriage house, huge winding staircases, and the author's study which has so many detailed elements dripping with his personality. 
Just across the lawn is the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center (pictured above). Although Twain is the more famous of the two now, at the time, the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was a household name. Make sure to save time to visit both places if you can. 

If you fly into the Hartford airport you can also check out the impressive Lego creation of Twain's home (above). It was amazing! 

Photos by me.

The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

This year I found myself in Springfield, Massachusetts for a work conference. I knew nothing about he town before visiting, but quickly discovered it was the proud hometown of Dr. Seuss! 
Obviously I had to visit The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum while I was there. The fun little spot includes outdoor statues and that are perfect for photo ops and a multi-level museum to wander through. 
Theodor Geisel's history is outlined in a series of exhibits. Everything from his famous bow ties to his drawing desk are preserved there. I loved seeing random cards he sent to family with sketches of creatures drawn in his familiar style. 
Although I was there alone, my daughter would have loved to explore all of the kid-friendly sections of the museum. I'd say it's definitely a delight for any age group! 

Photos by me. 

Dickens and Poe

Saturday, December 1, 2018

I'm a sucker for a lovely new edition of a classic. It's seriously my Achilles' heel. When it's a cloth bound classic I'm doubly tempted. The sweet folks at Oxford University Press sent me a couple of these beauties and now I'm in danger of buying the whole series! 

The two pictured are "A Christmas Carol & Other Stories" by Charles Dickens, which is perfect for this season. The second is from one of my favorite authors, Edgar Allan Poe. He might not seem like the perfect Christmas choice, but for fans of his work he definitely is! Each edition includes a collection of short stories. A Christmas Carol also includes many of the original illustrations, which are particularly fun! 

I love the stories chosen for the Poe collection. It's filled with so many of my favorites and others that many are unfamiliar with. In the Dickens, you find the well-known Carol, but also many of his other Christmas stories. So if you're making your own Christmas wish list or shopping for others, you can't go wrong with these editions. 
I received these copies for an honest review. 

Dewey 24 Hour Readathon!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

********  UPDATED HOUR 17 ********
I wasn't expecting to be able to join this readathon, woo hoo for unexpected reading time! This is my 14th readathon (see links below). Today I'm reading when I can, but also juggling a toddler. 

Here's a link for more info about the DeweyReadathonToday you can find me posting on Litsy and Instagram as @avidreader25 as well as here. 

Reading Stats
Pages Read: 1,016 
Currently Reading: The Pit and the Pendulum and Other Tales, Bridge of Clay
Books Finished: Sweet Bird of Youth, Bone: Treasure Hunters 8, Bone: Crown of Horns 9, Bone Handbook, You Can't Touch My Hair, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 
Snacks Eaten: Grapes, coffee & pie, turkey & avocado sandwich, broccoli and asparagus soup, Taco Bell (my husband got his pregnant wife tacos LOL). 

Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now? I'm reading a few Edgar Allan Poe short stories.  
2. How many books have you read so far?
I finished four. 
3. What book are you most looking forward to? I'm thinking I might tackle The Night of the Iguana. 
4. Have you had many interruptions? Not too bad this time considering I have a toddler. How did you deal with those? I have been reading books with my kiddo so she is involved. 
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? How well it has gone! 

Introduction Quiz:
1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Indianapolis, IN

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? I'm excited to finished the Bone series. I only have two left! I'm also looking forward to reading more of Zusak's new book. 

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? Because my plans just changed and I can participate at the last minute, I'm not as prepared as I usually am. My snacks might be a bit limited this time. 
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I'm pregnant with my second kiddo, so fatigue and nausea will be part of this readathon for me. 

5) If you participated in the last readathon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? I'm breaking one of my only readathon rules this time around. I usually don't read from any books I've already started. I like picking up new books that I try to finish that day. This time though, I want to read more from Bridge of Clay. It's Zusak's first book in 16 years and I'm currently about 70 pages in.  

Seasons to Read
Love this challenge idea! The Night Circus is one of my favorites to reread in the winter. The chilly atmosphere and red, black, and white colors just seem to fit. For some reason Charles Dickens is always a winter read for me too. Spring is for the hope and optimism of Anne of Green Gables. It's all about new life! Since the Harry Potter books all start in the summer I'm always in the mood for those when it gets hot. Autumn is perfect for Carlos Ruiz Zafon's Cemetery of Forgotten Books series. It's a gothic mystery set in Barcelona and the creepy twists and turns are just right for October. 

Modern Classics

Halloween Story Swap  

I picked I Capture the Castle, turning it into a haunted house story.Monster Mash 
ROUS and Hunger Games Mutts!
Vague Recollections 

Book and a Snack
Popcorn and Pit and the Pendulum  (below)
Draw it Out 

I'm currently finishing the Bone series by Jeff Smith and so I decided to draw the main character. Here's my doodle next to the real thing. 
April and October 2011 / April and October 2012 / April and October 2013 April 2014 / April and October 2015 /April and October 2016  /  April and October 2017 / April 2018

Photos by me.

The Labyrinth of the Spirits

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Labyrinth of the Spirits
by Carols Ruiz Zafón

This is the 4th and final book in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series.

To begin, The Shadow of the Wind will always be one of my favorite books. It is the first book in this series and a classic gothic novel. At this point, I've fallen so in love with Zafón's characters and his rich descriptions of Barcelona, that I have a hard time being objective about his work. I am more forgiving when there are plot hiccups because I'm already invested in the world he created. That being said let me dive into this latest installment.

The Labyrinth of Spirits picks up shortly after The Prisoner of Heaven ends. Our main protagonist is the troubled Alicia Gris. She's a bit of a femme fatale with her own troubled past and wounds, both physical and mental. The book pulls you in immediately with a scene from Fermin's past, but then we move forward in time and the middle has some pacing issues.

The plot is so convoluted with extra characters and layers upon layers of history that at times it’s hard to follow. I didn’t barrel through it as quickly as The Prisoner of Heaven or savor the atmosphere like The Shadow of the Wind. Instead I found that I enjoyed it most when I could sit and give it my full attention for a large chunk of time. Clocking in at over 800 pages (at least in ARC form), you need to sink into this world to juggle the different characters. Once you do, you are rewarded with slow but sure development. Obviously my favorite moments are when we return to the Sempere family. Once Alicia's path crossed with theirs I felt more connected.
***After this point my review assumes you’ve already read the whole series, but there are no spoilers for this book*** 

There's a moment in the book when Zafón actually explains the arch of the series. It's just perfect and gives an insider's wink to anyone who has read all four books. About The Labyrinth of Spirits he says,
 “The fourth installment, fierce and enormous, spiced with perfumes from all the earlier ones, would lead us at last to the center of the mystery, uncovering all the puzzles with the help of my favorite fallen angel of mist, Alicia Gris.”

It's a perfect summary. Despite the author's sometimes loquacious tendencies and a pile of characters that it's easy to confuse (Gris' detective partner Vargas, her mentor Leandro, Inspector Fumero's apprentice Hendaya, the banker Sanchís and his wife Victoria Ubach, the author Víctor Mataix and his daughter Ariadna, the fumbling stalker Rovira, the journalist Vilajuana, the missing political minister Mauricio Valls, the besotted Fernandito, Daniel's cousin Sofía, and on and on...), the book is still a delight. It's a bit of work, but it's worth it in the end because it ties the whole world together.

I'm so glad we get to know Isabella Sempere's character a little better. Often when we lose a parent at a young age, it's easy to turn them into an idealized saint. Seeing the real person, full of flaws and bad decisions, can be painful, but it's so much more real. We finally have a chance to meet her, full of fire and grit, and hear her story in her own voice. It’s always been a flaw out Zafón’s to paint women as either whores or saints instead of giving them depth. I felt like this book gave us a few that were more developed, although it's certainly still focused more on the men. I wish we'd had a chance to explore the world through Bea's eyes, but we never get that privilege. Instead, the story comes full circle with Daniel and Bea's son Julián. We also spend more time with Fermin, who I've grown to love in all his irreverent glory.

BOTTOM LINE: Heartbreaking and beautiful, the story brings all of his characters together, somehow turning all four books into one complete tale. It's a must for anyone who loves the series. If you're new to his work I’d recommend try The Shadow of the Wind first to see if it's for you.

“At the time I was just a kid and life was still a few sizes too big for me.”

“However many sorrows you drag along with you, you’ll only have walked a few steps before bumping into someone who will remind you that there’s always another person with a far worse set of cards then yours in the game of life.”

“Some would argue that no genre is more fictitious than a biography.”
“With the possible exception of an autobiography,” Mataix granted.

“Learning how to differentiate between why one does things and why one says one does them is the first step toward getting to know oneself.”

“The most sincere pain is experienced alone.”

Henry IV Part 1 and 2 and King John

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Henry IV Part 1 and 2
By William Shakespeare

Before he was urging on his troops with words like “band of brothers”, Henry V was just Hal. He liked to drink and carouse and ignore his father’s wishes. He was not yet the warrior king he would become. I loved watching him start to transform in this play. These plays are part of the eight that make up Shakespeare’s War of the Roses histories.

There are a few stand out characters including the clever and charismatic Hotspur (Henry Percy). Although he is technically our hero’s foe, this plot actually makes him a more sympathetic character than Hal. He fights for what he wants. He’s quick to anger, but he’s also willing to put himself in danger to protect what he loves. While Hal is leisurely screwing around in taverns, Hotspur is taking things seriously. 

Sir John Falstaff is another great one. He is the epitome of the classic fool. He is constantly looking for a new way to get out of work and cheat someone. He is the butt of Hal’s jokes and his drinking buddy, but nothing ever seems to faze the corpulent coward. He reminds me of Thénardier in Les Misérables

In Part 2 Hal finally decides to embrace his role as king he must choose a different life than the one he's been living. That includes distancing himself from the crowd he's grown so fond of.

“Presume not that I am the thing I was;
For God doth know, so shall the world perceive,
That I have turn'd away my former self;
So will I those that kept me company.”

There were moments in this play that felt much too familiar. They glorify the past while bemoaning their present situation.

“The commonwealth is sick of their own choice;
Their over-greedy love has surfeited.
An habitation giddy and unsure
Hath he that buildeth on the vulgar heart.”

“Past and to come seems best; things present, worst.”

BOTTOM LINE: I particularly loved part 1 of this pair of plays, but they are both excellent. They show that one person can rise above and choose a more noble life. They give hope for personal transformation while at the same time they highlight the sacrifices that come with power and leadership. Someone Shakespeare marries those lessons with battle scenes, bawdy comedy, and even quiet moments of romance in a way that only he seems able to do.

I would highly recommend watching the Hollow Crown series either first or in conjunction with reading the plays. They are beautifully done and helped bring the work alive for me.
Part 1 Quotes:

“But thought’s the slave of life, and life time’s fool;
And time, that takes survey of all the world,
Must have a stop. O, I could prophesy,
But that the earthy and cold hand of death
Lies on my tongue.”

“Youth, the more it is wasted, the sooner it wears.”

“O, while you live, tell truth, and shame the Devil!”

“The better part of valor, is discretion.”

Part 2 Quotes:

“Rumour is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures,
And of so easy and so plain a stop
That the blunt monster with uncounted heads,
The still-discordant wavering multitude,
Can play upon it.”

“O sleep, O gentle sleep, Nature's soft nurse, how have I frightened thee. That thou no more will weigh my eyelids down, And steep my senses in forgetfulness?”

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”

“How quickly nature falls into revolt
When gold becomes her object!”

King John 
By William Shakespeare

King John's right to the throne is being challenged by the king of France. He believe's John's nephew, Arthur, should be the king. Conflict ensues and alliances shift as they struggle for power. 

King John was less memorable than some of the other histories, but it still held some powerful moments. There's one scene where a mother grieves for her child and no matter the context, it's a heartbreaker: 

“Grief fills the room up of my absent child, Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me... My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!”

Lady Constance was a melodramatic character that I would love to see portrayed on the stage. Like all of Shakespeare's plays, this one had beautiful lines, but overall it's not a new favorite. 

“Grow great by your example, and put on the dauntless spirit of resolution.
Away, and glister like the god of war
When he intendeth to become the field. 
Show boldness and aspiring confidence.”

“Mad world, mad kings, mad composition (agreement)!”

Earthsea Readalong

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Ursula Le Guin is a famous author, especially in the world of fantasy literature, but I'm sorry to say that until now I'd only ever read a collection of her poetry. Care, from Care's Books & Pie, and I decided to host a laid back readalong of the first book in her Earthsea series to remedy that. 

The bad news is that I'm a slacker and didn't post about it here until now... and I've already finished the book. The good news is that there are more books and I enjoyed the first one so much that I want to keep going! I'm mainly posting about it on Litsy (@avidreader25) and I'm using the hashtag #Earthsea2018. 

If you'd like to join in and readalong, awesome! If you've got thoughts about this book or any others in the series (no spoilers please!) feel free to share here or on Litsy with the group! After finishing the first book I checked a few local bookstores for the second book in the series. I couldn't find it, so I ended up buying this copy, which contains the first four books. 

Now on to my thoughts on the first book. 

A Wizard of Earthsea 

A young boy named Duny shows indications that he might have special powers. In his small town it's unusual, but as his skills develop he attracts the notice of a more talented wizard. He becomes known as Sparrowhawk and is sent off to a wizarding school to learn his craft. His true name, Ged, is known only to the wizard who gave it to him. 

Ged is selfish and short sighted. He believes too much in his own school and ignores warnings from those with more wisdom than he possesses. They continually remind him that the world they live in must remain balanced and every action he takes will have consequences. His hubris is his downfall. 

I couldn't believe how familiar the world of Earthsea felt. It particularly reminded me of The Name of the Wind, one of my favorites! Obviously this book came first and you can definitely see it's influence in the King Killer Chronicles, the Harry Potter series (there's a wizard school!) and Game of Thrones. 

BOTTOM LINE: I was definitely left wanting more. The book is short and I wished I had more time with the characters (especially Ged's sweet pet and his best friend Vetch). I can't wait to dive into the rest of the series. 

“Need alone is not enough to set power free: there must be knowledge.”

 “Yet a greater, and learned skill he possessed, which was the art of kindness.”

“This was Duny’s first step on the way he was to follow all his life, the way of magery, the way that led him at last to hunt a shadow over land and sea to the lightless coasts of death’s kingdom. But in those first steps along the way, it seemed a broad, bright road.”