The Other Wind (Earthsea Cycle, #6) by Ursula K. Le Guin

Hello! It’s been awhile.

I initially was sort of excited to begin working at home at the beginning of this pandemic. I was burnout from work, and was excited to spend more time doing creative things. What has actually ended up happening is my brain has ceased all function and I crave constant movement. So, in terms of getting work projects, school assignments, and blog posts done… it hasn’t been the easiest. But, I’m working on it, and we’re going to get there. My second semester of my online certificate finishes next week, and I’m taking a brief break before doing my final two courses and then I’m done! Then, I need to figure out what program I want to do next because I am masochistic and feel like I need to have a million degrees. Anyway, let’s get to it:

I purchased a soft cover copy of this book through the Book Depository. The Other Wind was first published by Ace Books in 2001. It sits at a nice 211 pages. Now, I should say — I did not realize this was the sixth book in a series, so I just read it without any previous Ursula K. Le Guin experience. That being said, it was easy to read as a standalone, and has made me very eager to read the 5 books before it! However, I understand that reading the previous books adds much needed context (and also some needed excitement?).

The protagonist, Alder, a nice young sorcerer man whose equally young wife passed away. He’s been experiencing dark dreams, where his wife calls to him across a stone bridge from the world of the dead. He is told to seek out a man named Ged, who was once Archmage, to help him figure out what’s going on and to stop it. Alder travels to meet Ged, who helps comfort him, before sending him to King Lebannen and Ged’s wife, who advises the king, thus setting him on a journey to discover the reason he has these dreams, and their ancient history.

Review sans spoilers

This book is wonderfully written. Although very different, I would liken it to Guy Gavriel Kay’s Under Heaven, which we all know how I felt about that book (if you didn’t read my review, read it here!). Le Guin evokes a whole bouquet of emotions through her nuanced and poetic writing. With well fleshed out characters, this book sits in a beautiful world of magic and dragons and all good things. For such a tiny book, it keeps you invested, and although I read it in two days I kept thinking about it for at least a week afterwards.

This book deserves an 8 out of 10

Review with spoilers

Things I liked – I loved two characters, King Lebannen, and the mysterious Kargish princess sent over by a warlord to be King Lebannen’s bride. I also especially enjoyed the sort of magical order the protagonists spend some time with, and the beautiful scenery Le Guin does such an expert job of describing.

Things I didn’t like as much – It’s a wonderful book, really. It has a more contemplative style than what I typically enjoy out of fantasy, however after some research it seems books 1 to 5 might be a little bit more excitement-focused. I would have loved for a bigger, richer book, that delves deeply into these characters and this world, but that’s my only complaint.

Started reading: March 20, 2020

Finished reading: March 21, 2020

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