Slow, slow, quick, quick, slow would be the perfect way to describe this story. At times it seems to drag on despite its short length, only to explode into a cacophony of action. It’s a short book (my version finished at 201 pages), which was one of the reasons I picked it from my ‘to read’ pile, but it gripped me enough that I chomped through it much faster than usual.
Apparently this is a fantasy aimed at children, or at least young adults, but I didn’t read it as such. The themes, while centered around coming of age, are far wider and darker than those you would encounter in a typical children’s book. So don’t let that put you off.
At the start of the story I confess I was bit a dubious. An unnaturally gifted, egotistic boy with magic powers. It sounded pretty cliched, but it turns into something else and a character who you’d normally be encouraged to loath soon has you entranced.
One criticism is that the ending is one of the slow beats. After such a long build up the story just seems to fizzle out. Still an enjoyable read and I’ll look out some of the other titles in the series. The masterful world building, if nothing else, will make you want to explore more of Earthsea.