A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
Ged becomes the greatest sorcerer in Earthsea. But when he started his training, Sparrowhawk, his common name, was impetuous as well as strong. He was able to protect his village from raiders before he had any training. Then Ogion comes to him, gives him his true, secret name – Ged – and starts his training as a sorcerer.
Ogion’s lessons are too slow and low key for Sparrowhawk. He leaves for Rok and the school for sorcerers. Sorcery school is also a trial, but Sparrowhawk is able to curb most of his impatience to learn what the mighty mages of Earthsea have to teach. He and Vetch, a man from the East Islands, become good friends. Jasper, on the other hand, becomes a rival. Both appear to be strong wizards and each will test the other. One dare goes too far. Sparrowhawk almost dies, falls behind a year in school, and is now shadowed by a malingering evil. It takes a lot of power to protect him while he is still in school.
When Sparrowhawk finally finishes sorcery school and passes the final test, he takes a wizarding job at the edges of known Earthsea, hoping to escape the evil. As it discovers him, he moves on to other positions. It is during this period that he begins the amazing acts of sorcery that will eventually prove him to be the greatest wizard in Earthsea – that is, if he can rid himself of the evil shadow that is always following him.
The Earthsea fantasy by Le Guin is one of the classic series of fantasy books. A Wizard of Earthsea is the first, introducing the reader to Ged and revealing his early history. The magic perils are many. The sorcerers are necessary for safety as well as a convenience for healing, weather control, and other day to day duties.
I was never sucked into the land and vision of Earthsea. I enjoyed the book well enough. I know that it is one of the classics of fantasy, regarded on a high plane like the Narnia Chronicles, Middle Earth from the Lord of the Rings, or the dragons of Pern. Yet for me it did not come up to those standards. I appreciate the tale and like the landscape Le Guin is creating in Earthsea. It is an eminently readable book. But I found it was too easy to put it down and pick up something else instead.