The Tombs of Atuan, by Ursula Le Guin

I enjoyed this second Earthsea book more than the first. It's less of a classical hero's journey than "Wizard;" it feels more unique and original to me, which makes it more interesting. And the world it describes is so very strange that one cannot help but be enthralled by it. Ged's quest through the islands of Earthsea didn't grab me nearly as much as does the Place on Atuan, with the Undertomb and the Labyrinth and the Hall of the Throne. A big part of why I love science fiction and fantasy is being thrown into a world I know nothing about and learning it as the story goes on. "Wizard" just wasn't strange enough for me, but Atuan is. Plus the writing seems less stilted and formal, perhaps because I got used to it reading the first book, or because Le Guin loosened up her writing a bit for the second. I'm looking forward to seeing how Earthsea will evolve in the third installment.


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