|The Tombs of Atuan|
Author: Ursula K. Le Guin
Series: The Earthsea Trilogy, Book 2
Review by: CL6 Raederle McDermot
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Arha is the Eaten One. Chosen at during childhood as the reincarnation of the First Priestess, she knows nothing but what the other priestesses have taught her. To serve their dark masters, the Nameless Ones, and to rule in domain over the black labyrinth beneath their temple. When she meets the wizard Ged, her world is shattered. Because she is an intelligent girl, and begins to see the truth.
The second book of the Earthsea Trilogy, The Tombs of Atuan, is a refreshing relief to anyone reading the series, determined to find out why this series is a classic. To anyone who liked Ged from the first book, you will be seriously annoyed, because he doesn't appear until chapter six.
Amazingly enough, Le Guin continues to resist the need to make Ged a real person. He is no longer as incredibly stupid and headstrong as he once was; now he has evolved into a more boring form. Which is just as well, since our protagonist in this part of the trilogy, Arha, is much more likable, even when she is playing the spoiled priestess brat and trying to prove her superiority (at fifteen, mind you) over a full grown wizard Ged. I do have to give Le Guin kudos for her adequate portrayal of how the vastly different cultures treat one another. Those who live under the Godking and the Nameless Ones don't believe the wizards of Earthsea have souls, which is an interesting comment on comparative religion. As irritating as this world's treatment of women and the "self as god" attitude may be, at least it is consistent and believable.
This book is a vast improvement on the first, my favorite of the series, and well worth reading (unlike the first). It still doesn't make the series a classic, just a good read.