Gifts

( 37 )

Overview


Scattered among poor, desolate farms, the clans of the Uplands possess gifts. Wondrous gifts: the ability--with a glance, a gesture, a word--to summon animals, bring forth fire, move the land. Fearsome gifts: They can twist a limb, chain a mind, inflict a wasting illness. The Uplanders live in constant fear that one family might unleash its gift against another. Two young people, friends since childhood, decide not to use their gifts. One, a girl, refuses to bring animals to their death in the hunt. The other, a...
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Overview


Scattered among poor, desolate farms, the clans of the Uplands possess gifts. Wondrous gifts: the ability--with a glance, a gesture, a word--to summon animals, bring forth fire, move the land. Fearsome gifts: They can twist a limb, chain a mind, inflict a wasting illness. The Uplanders live in constant fear that one family might unleash its gift against another. Two young people, friends since childhood, decide not to use their gifts. One, a girl, refuses to bring animals to their death in the hunt. The other, a boy, wears a blindfold lest his eyes and his anger kill.

In this beautifully crafted story, Ursula K. Le Guin writes of the proud cruelty of power, of how hard it is to grow up, and of how much harder still it is to find, in the world's darkness, gifts of light.

Includes a reader's guide and a sample chapter from the companion title Voices.

When a young man in the Uplands blinds himself rather than use his gift of "unmaking"--a violent talent shared by members of his family--he upsets the precarious balance of power among rival, feuding families, each of which has a strange and deadly talent of its own.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A brilliant exploration of the power and responsibilty of gifts . . . Provocative."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Intriguing as a coming-of-age allegory . . . rich in the earthy magic and intelligent plot twists that made the Earthsea novels classics."—Booklist (starred review)

"Science-fiction icon Le Guin probes the natures of fear, power, and love in this darkly beautiful, quietly provocative novel."—Family Fun

"Fantasy, artfully spun by an American master."—Parade

"One can recommend this book without hesitation to teens looking for a great fantasy read that does not follow the standard quest format."—VOYA

From the Publisher

"A brilliant exploration of the power and responsibilty of gifts . . . Provocative."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Intriguing as a coming-of-age allegory . . . rich in the earthy magic and intelligent plot twists that made the Earthsea novels classics."--Booklist (starred review)

"Science-fiction icon Le Guin probes the natures of fear, power, and love in this darkly beautiful, quietly provocative novel."--Family Fun

"Fantasy, artfully spun by an American master." --Parade

"One can recommend this book without hesitation to teens looking for a great fantasy read that does not follow the standard quest format."--VOYA

Publishers Weekly
In our Best Books citation, PW wrote, "Le Guin poses probing questions about the power and responsibility of being gifted, through the eyes of a 16-year-old narrator." Ages 12-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
What a pleasure it is to read a well-crafted story told by a master! In the mountain regions of the land, the clans are insular, making war and an uneasy peace with each other, trusting that their reputations as witches will keep the Lowlanders away. But are they really witches? The reader must decide that for himself. If you were young and curious, and a bit of a troublemaker, you might run away to the mountains to find out. Emmon does just that. Fortunately, he meets two young Uplanders who are just as curious about his land as he is about theirs. They will even tell him a little about themselves, not much, but enough to keep him out of trouble. Because while they are not exactly witches, each family does have what they call Gifts. Gry can call animals, although she refuses to call for the hunters. Orrec must wear a blindfold, at least until his anger can be tamed. His family's Gift is called Unmaking, and he won't demonstrate it for Emmon. In fact he refuses to use it even when his father asks him to. Of course this has lead to a major rift between him and his father. Orrec's mother is, or was, a Lowlander, so she can't interfere in the fight. Orrec feels that everyone is against him—and when his mother develops a "wasting" illness and dies, he doesn't know what to think. Could someone who resents their family's position have used his Gift to cause her illness? We find ourselves really caring about these two teens. A page-turner and highly recommended, especially for fans of LeGuin's earlier work. 2004, Harcourt Children's Books, Ages 12 up.
—Judy Silverman
KLIATT
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2004: In the Uplands, feuding families fight each other using their strange "gifts"?—?the ability to strike someone blind or deaf, to set a fire just by pointing to a spot, or to take a man's will from him and make him do your bidding. Young Orrec's family has a gift known as "the undoing," a means of killing with just a look, a gesture, and a word. At first, Orrec is not even sure that he has inherited this gift, but a dramatic episode convinces him, though it seems that his ability is not fully under his control. He becomes so afraid of his gift that he voluntarily wears a blindfold at all times, so as not to injure anyone accidentally, and accepts the help of a guide dog. His good friend Gry has the gift of communicating with animals, but she refuses to use it to call them to the hunt to be killed. In refusing their gifts the teenagers find other strengths, and Orrec discovers that he has talent as a poet and storyteller, relating the tales his lovely mother told him before she wasted away, cursed by a crude, greedy neighbor who coveted her. After a terrible battle with this neighbor, in which Orrec's father loses his life, Orrec and Gry decide to move away from the Uplands and make a new life, using their positive gifts of storytelling and horse training. Le Guin is a wonderful writer, and this haunting, thought-provoking fantasy has the power of legend. Readers will ponder the nature of gifts and curses, and empathize with Orrec as he struggles to make his way in this strange, vaguely medieval world. KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Harcourt, 286p.,Ages 12 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-In this well-realized fantasy, the people of the Uplands have unusual and potentially dangerous abilities that can involve the killing or maiming of others. Gry can communicate with animals, but she refuses to use her gift to call creatures to the hunt, a stance her mother doesn't understand. The males in Orrec's line have the power of unmaking-or destroying-other living things. However, because his mother is a Lowlander, there is concern that this ability will not run true to him. When his gift finally manifests itself, it seems to be uncontrollable. His father blindfolds him so that he will not mistakenly hurt someone, and everyone fears him. Meanwhile, Ogge Drum, a greedy and cruel landowner, causes heartache for Orrec and his family. There is a strong sense of foreboding throughout the novel. The characters, who are well rounded and believable, often fail to understand the extent of the responsibility that comes with great power. In the end, Gry and Orrec come to recognize the true nature of their gifts and how best to use them. Readers can enjoy this story as a suspenseful struggle between good and evil, or they can delve deeper and come away with a better understanding of the choices that all individuals must make if they are to realize their full potential. An excellent choice for discussion and contemplation.-Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The Uplands are bleak and poor, separated into domains of the great lineages, each one defined by its gift. Gry's family gift is the ability to call animals to the hunt, and Orrec's family gift is the undoing-the ability to dissolve stone, or bone. Orrec tells his story as well as his family's: how his father raided the lowlands for his beloved wife; how Orrec was born, and grew up with Gry, the daughter of his father's best friend; how Orrec's gift never developed normally, but came late, and wild, so his eyes had to be sealed lest he do great harm; how his mother failed, and died. Le Guin spins her tale in her customary way, slowly, and with an ear to the cadences of the sagas. Orrec's journey of self-discovery is, when reduced, the familiar tale of the adolescent seeking to define himself rather than taking the definitions offered by circumstance, but the telling is so compelling that the ending almost takes the reader by surprise. If the end is a little tidy, the getting-there is not-and it's the getting-there that provides this offering's greatest reward. (Fiction. 12+)
Booklist
"Gifts, in the context of Le Guin's newest, inspire fear more often than gratitude. But this book is a gift in the purest sense, as the renowned fantasist's admirers have waited 14 years since the release of Tehanu for another full-length young adult novel. . . . While intriguing as a coming-of-age allegory, Orrec's story is also rich in the earthy magic and intelligent plot twists that made the Earthsea novels classics." Booklist, 8/01/04 (starred review)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152051242
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/1/2006
  • Series: Annals of the Western Shore Series , #1
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 335,507
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ursula K.  Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin was born in Berkeley, California, in 1929. Among her honors are a National Book Award, five Hugo and five Nebula Awards, the Kafka Award, a Pushcart Prize, and the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
www.ursulakleguin.com

Biography

Speculative fiction, magic realism, "slipstream" fiction -- all these terms could apply to the works of Ursula K. Le Guin. Unfortunately, none was in common use when she started writing in the early 1960s. As a young writer, Le Guin weathered seven years of rejections from editors who praised her novels' elegant prose but were puzzled by their content. At a time when the only literary fiction was realistic fiction, as Le Guin later told an interviewer for The Register-Guard in Portland, Oregon, "There just wasn't a pigeonhole for what I write."

At long last, two of her stories were accepted for publication, one at a literary journal and one at a science-fiction magazine. The literary journal paid her in copies of the journal; the science-fiction magazine paid $30. She told The Register-Guard, "I thought: 'Oooohhh! They'll call what I write science fiction, will they? And they'll pay me for it? Well, here we go!' "

Le Guin continued to write and publish stories, but her breakthrough success came with the publication of The Left Hand of Darkness in 1969. The novel, which tells of a human ambassador's encounters with the gender-changing inhabitants of a distant planet, was unusual for science fiction in that it owed more to anthropology and sociology than to the hard sciences of physics or biology. The book was lauded for its intellectual and psychological depth, as well as for its fascinating premise. "What got to me was the quality of the story-telling," wrote Frank Herbert, the author of Dune. "She's taken the mythology, psychology -- the entire creative surround -- and woven it into a jewel of a story."

Since then, Le Guin has published many novels, several volumes of short stories, and numerous poems, essays, translations, and children's books. She's won an arm's-length list of awards, including both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed, and a National Book Award for The Farthest Shore. Over the years, she has created and sustained two fictional universes, populating each with dozens of characters and stories. The first universe, Ekumen, more or less fits into the science-fiction mode, with its aliens and interplanetary travel; the second, Earthsea, is a fantasy world, complete with wizards and dragons. As Margaret Atwood wrote in The New York Review of Books, "Either one would have been sufficient to establish Le Guin's reputation as a mistress of its genre; both together make one suspect that the writer has the benefit of arcane drugs or creative double-jointedness or ambidexterity."

More impressive still is the way Le Guin's books have garnered such tremendous crossover appeal. Unlike many writers of science fiction, she is regularly reviewed in mainstream publications, where her work has been praised by the likes of John Updike and Harold Bloom. But then, Le Guin has never fit comfortably into a single genre. As she said in a Science Fiction Weekly interview, "I know that I'm always called 'the sci-fi writer.' Everybody wants to stick me into that one box, while I really live in several boxes. It's probably hurt the sales of my realistic books like Searoad, because it tended to get stuck into science fiction, where browsing readers that didn't read science fiction would never see it."

Le Guin has also published a translation of Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching, a book that has influenced her life and writing since she was a teenager; she has translated fiction by Angelica Gorodischer and a volume of poems by Gabriela Mistral; and, perhaps most gratifyingly for her fans, she has returned to the imaginary realm of Earthsea. Tehanu, which appeared in 1990, was subtitled "The Last Book of Earthsea," but Le Guin found she had more to tell, and she continued with Tales from Earthsea and The Other Wind. "I thought after 'Tehanu' the story was finished, but I was wrong," she told Salon interviewer Faith L. Justice. "I've learned never to say 'never.' "

Good To Know

The "K" in Ursula K. Le Guin stands for Le Guin's maiden name, Kroeber. Her father was the anthropologist Alfred Kroeber; her mother, the writer Theodora Kroeber, is best known for the biography Ishi in Two Worlds.

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    1. Hometown:
      Portland, Oregon
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 21, 1929
    2. Place of Birth:
      Berkeley, California
    1. Education:
      B.A., Radcliffe College; M.A., Columbia University, 1952
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt


He was lost when he came to us, and I fear the silver spoons he stole from us didn't save him when he ran away and went up into the high domains. Yet in the end the lost man, the runaway man was our guide.

Gry called him the runaway man. When he first came, she was sure he'd done some terrible thing, a murder or a betrayal, and was escaping vengeance. What else would bring a Lowlander here, among us?

"Ignorance," I said. "He knows nothing of us. He's not afraid of us."

"He said people down there warned him not to come up among the witches."

"But he knows nothing about the gifts," I said. "It's all just talk, to him. Legends, lies..."

We were both right, no doubt. Certainly Emmon was running away, if only from a well-earned reputation for thievery, or from boredom; he was as restless, as fearless and inquisitive and inconsequential as a hound puppy, trotting wherever his nose led him. Recalling the accent and turns of speech he had, I know now that he came from far in the south, farther than Algalanda, where tales of the Uplands were just that-tales: old rumors of the distant northland, where wicked witchfolk lived in icy mountains and did impossible things.

If he'd believed what they told him down in Danner, he'd never have come up to Caspromant. If he'd believed us, he never would have gone on higher in the mountains. He loved to hear stories, so he listened to ours, but he didn't believe them. He was a city man, he'd had some education, he'd travelled the length of the Lowlands. He knew the world. Who were we, me and Gry? What did we know, a blind boy and a grim girl, sixteen years old, stuck in the superstition and squalor of the desolate hill farms that we so grandly called our domains? He led us on, in his lazy kindness, to talk about the great powers we had, but while we talked he was seeing the bare, hard way we lived, the cruel poverty, the cripples and backward people of the farms, seeing our ignorance of everything outside these dark hills, and saying to himself, Oh yes, what great powers they have, poor brats!

Gry and I feared that when he left us he went to Geremant. It is hard to think he may still be there, alive but a slave, with legs twisted like corkscrews, or his face made monstrous for Erroy's amusement, or his eyes truly blinded, as mine were not. For Erroy wouldn't have suffered his careless airs, his insolence, for an hour.

I took some pains to keep him away from my father when his tongue was flapping, but only because Canoc's patience was short and his mood dark, not because I feared he'd ever use his gift without good cause. In any case he paid little heed to Emmon or anyone else. Since my mother's death his mind was all given to grief and rage and rancor. He huddled over his pain, his longing for vengeance. Gry, who knew all the nests and eyries for miles around, once saw a carrion eagle brooding his pair of silvery, grotesque eaglets in a nest up on the Sheer, after a shepherd killed the mother bird who hunted for them both. So my father brooded and starved.

To Gry and me, Emmon was a treasure, a bright creature come into our gloom. He fed our hunger. For we were starving too.

He would never tell us enough about the Lowlands. He'd give an answer of some kind to every question I asked, but often a joking answer, evasive or merely vague. There was probably a good deal about his past life that he didn't want us to know, and anyhow he wasn't a keen observer and clear reporter, as Gry was when she was my eyes. She could describe exactly how the new bull calf looked, his bluish coat and knobby legs and little furry hornbuds, so that I could all but see him. But if I asked Emmon to tell about the city of Derris Water, all he said was that it wasn't much of a city and the market was dull. Yet I knew, because my mother had told me, that Derris Water had tall red houses and deep streets, that steps of slate led up from the docks and moorages where the river traffic came and went, that there was a market of birds, and a market of fish, and a market of spices and incense and honey, a market for old clothes and a market for new ones, and the great pottery fairs to which people came from all up and down the Trond River, even from the far shores of the ocean.

Maybe Emmon had had bad luck with his thieving in Derris Water.

Whatever the reason, he preferred to ask us the questions and sit back at ease to listen to us-to me, mostly. I was always a talker, if there was anybody to listen. Gry had a long habit of silence and watchfulness, but Emmon could draw her out.

I doubt he knew how lucky he'd been in finding us two, but he appreciated our making him welcome and keeping him comfortable through a bitter, rainy winter. He was sorry for us. He was bored, no doubt. He was inquisitive.

"So what is it this fellow up at Geremant does that's so fearsome?" he'd ask, his tone just skeptical enough that I'd try as hard as I could to convince him of the truth of what I said. But these were matters that were not much talked about, even among people with the gift. It seemed unnatural to speak of them aloud.

"The gift of that lineage is called the twisting," I said at last.

"Twisting? Like a sort of dancing?"

"No." The words were hard to find, and hard to say. "Twisting people."

"Making them turn around?"

"No. Their arms, legs. Necks. Bodies." I twisted my own body a bit with discomfort at the subject. Finally I said, "You saw old Gonnen, that woodsman, up over Knob Hill. We passed him yesterday on the cart road. Gry told you who he was."

"All bent over like a nutcracker."

"Brantor Erroy did that to him."

"Doubled him up like that? What for?"

"A punishment. The brantor said he came on him picking up wood in Gere Forest."

After a little, Emmon said, "Rheumatism will do that to a man."

"Gonnen was a young man then."

"So you don't yourself recall it happening."

"No," I said, vexed by his airy incredulity. "But he does. And my father does. Gonnen told him. Gonnen said he wasn't in Geremant at all, but only near the borderline, in our woods. Brantor Erroy saw him and shouted, and Gonnen was scared, and started to run away with the load of wood on his back. He fell. When he tried to stand, his back was bent over and hunched, the way it is now. If he tries to stand up, his wife said, he screams with the pain."

"And how did the brantor do this to him?"

Emmon had learned the word from us; he said he'd never heard it in the Lowlands. A brantor is the master or mistress of a domain, which is to say the chief and most gifted of a lineage. My father was Brantor of Caspromant. Gry's mother was Brantor of the Barres of Roddmant and her father Brantor of the Rodds of that domain. We two were their heirs, their nestling eaglets.

I hesitated to answer Emmon's question. His tone had not been mocking, but I didn't know if I should say anything at all about the powers of the gift.

Gry answered him. "He'd have looked at the man," she said in her quiet voice. In my blindness her voice always brought to me a sense of light air moving in the leaves of a tree. "And pointed his left hand or finger at him, and maybe said his name. And then he'd have said a word, or two, or more. And it was done."

"What kind of words?"

Gry was silent; maybe she shrugged. "The Gere gift's not mine," she said at last. "We don't know its ways."

"Ways?"

"The way a gift acts."

"Well, how does your gift act, what does it do, then?" Emmon asked her, not teasing, alive with curiosity. "It's something to do with hunting?"

"The Barre gift is calling," Gry said.

"Calling? What do you call?"

"Animals."

Copyright © 2004 by Ursula K. Le Guin

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 37 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 37 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 30, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Lynn Crow for TeensReadToo.com

    In Ursula K. Le Guin's GIFTS, the gifts in question bring more trouble than happiness to the novel's main character, sixteen-year-old Orrec. Orrec lives in the Uplands, a rough landscape where small clans squabble amongst themselves to maintain their land holdings and cattle herds. The leader of each clan has a specific gift: a mystical power that allows them to call animals or twist human bodies with the force of their mind. Orrec is the next in line to lead his clan, and his family's gift is one of the most terrible: the undoing. His father can kill a man with a word and a gesture, and it is expected that Orrec will come into the same power. However, when Orrec's power arrives, it is wild and uncontrollable, and he must stay blind-folded to avoid harming those he loves. <BR/><BR/>The best thing about this outstanding novel is its premise. Everyone has wished at one time or another for a secret power. GIFTS forces the question: what if your having such a gift caused harm to the people around you? It gives no easy answers, exploring the issue with depth and feeling. The society and culture of the Uplanders is detailed and realistic, making the conflicts that much more powerful. Readers will quickly feel as though they've lived in this wonderful and terrifying world themselves. <BR/><BR/>As narrator, Orrec is thoughtful and questioning, with a rhythmic voice that recalls traditional story-tellers. He handles the tragedies and disappointments in his life with honesty and good humor. Despite being from a somewhat alien world, his view is very human and teens will find it easy to see through his eyes. When he is finally able to face the most disappointing truth of all, readers will cheer even as they share his pain. <BR/><BR/>GIFTS is an excellent read for teens of all interests. Fans of fantasy will be particularly drawn to it, but the world is grounded enough in earthly reality that it should appeal even to those who usually avoid the fantastical. Thought-provoking and suspenseful, with a dollop of action and romance, a novel like this is a gift to its readers.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    yay

    This story is about outcasts who are all given special powers, or "gifts." The main character, Orrec, looks forward to the day when he can use his to his full potential - but once it happens, realizes he doesn't want it quite so much after all. It's a unique fantasy story, which disturbingly believable characters. I enjoyed this book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2007

    Courtesy of Teens Read Too

    In Ursula K. Le Guin's GIFTS, the gifts in question bring more trouble than happiness to the novel's main character, sixteen-year-old Orrec. Orrec lives in the Uplands, a rough landscape where small clans squabble amongst themselves to maintain their land holdings and cattle herds. The leader of each clan has a specific gift: a mystical power that allows them to call animals or twist human bodies with the force of their mind. Orrec is the next in line to lead his clan, and his family's gift is one of the most terrible: the undoing. His father can kill a man with a word and a gesture, and it is expected that Orrec will come into the same power. However, when Orrec's power arrives, it is wild and uncontrollable, and he must stay blind- folded to avoid harming those he loves. The best thing about this outstanding novel is its premise. Everyone has wished at one time or another for a secret power. GIFTS forces the question: what if your having such a gift caused harm to the people around you? It gives no easy answers, exploring the issue with depth and feeling. The society and culture of the Uplanders is detailed and realistic, making the conflicts that much more powerful. Readers will quickly feel as though they've lived in this wonderful and terrifying world themselves. As narrator, Orrec is thoughtful and questioning, with a rhythmic voice that recalls traditional story-tellers. He handles the tragedies and disappointments in his life with honesty and good humor. Despite being from a somewhat alien world, his view is very human and teens will find it easy to see through his eyes. When he is finally able to face the most disappointing truth of all, readers will cheer even as they share his pain. GIFTS is an excellent read for teens of all interests. Fans of fantasy will be particularly drawn to it, but the world is grounded enough in earthly reality that it should appeal even to those who usually avoid the fantastical. Thought-provoking and suspenseful, with a dollop of action and romance, a novel like this is a gift to its readers. **Reviewed by: Lynn Crow

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2006

    Gifts was Great

    Overall, Gifts was an excellent book to read. The plot was fast moving, suspenseful, and has several exciting twists. The description in this book was amazing. It described everything in great detail, without being excessive and boring. The choice of words just made the Here is a quote showing the typical descriptions: ¿At last dismal little groups of boys and women came driven through the streets to the marketplace, two here and three there, weeping and pleading, some even crawling on their hands and knees, goaded forward by whips and kicks.¿ The author¿s phrasing in the book is also very good. She words sentences so that it is very easy to understand and read. Take this sentence as an example: ¿To Lowlanders, the Uplands are accursed, forgotten corn of a world they left behind long ago.¿ This could have been a very confusing statement, but Le Guin simplifies it without losing any effect. Like most authors, Le Guin uses foreshadowing. However, she does not use enough to ruin what is going to happen later in the book, it is just enough to make you want to keep reading. This is an example of her foreshadowing that Orrec does not have the gift: ¿The snake was unmade when I saw it,¿ Canoc said. `But you-¿ He frowned, though not in anger. `It was you that struck it,¿ he said.¿ Another thing that makes this book so good was feeling so close to the characters. When something was wrong with a character, I felt bad for them. This really humanized the story, not like some books where it is obvious you are just reading a book. This is an example of when I felt bad for Orrec and his father when his mother/wife passed away: ¿For him, there was no replacement the sweetness of his life was gone.¿ Those were just a few of the ways that this book was such a good read. I think that anyone who read this book would enjoy it, but some more than others. I would mainly focus on young adults, both boys and girls, as people who would especially enjoy this. The book deals with a lot of adolescence problems, like being accepted, and having boyfriends/girlfriends. I don¿t think younger readers would understand the more in-depth things happening in the plot, but they would get the main points. If there were any adults who really like fantasy, this would also be a good book for you. I would truly recommend this book knowing that anyone would like this book, and it would become an instant favorite.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Just couldn't get into it

    What was I supposed to think when I picked this up? I hardly ever actually look inside the book and read the first page or first chapter. It's always the cover and blurb on the back of the book that makes me want to read it.

    Maybe I should start reading the first page or chapter from now on?

    It's written by Orrec's point of view, and when I say written, I pretty much mean exactly that. It's like an autobiography. Orrec, to me, comes across as a bit of an emo person. The way he talks about his life--of trying to learn his power, blindfolding himself for the safety of the ones he loves, listening to his mother read him stories--seems so droll. Like there's absolutely no enthusiasm in him. Ever. He's pretty much like his dad, I guess.

    In fact, almost none of the characters come across as very three-dimensional beings, and maybe that's because Orrec is a blindfolded boy, unable to see anything, but able to hear what's around him. Okay, I can see (no pun intended) that, but what about before he was blindfolded? He got to know people. He knew his dad. He knew Gry. Her parents. Etc. There was still a clear lacking in the characterization department.

    Um, for anyone else who'd read this, can you tell me what the plot was again? I don't think I ever caught onto that one either. Orrec never fit in, and that's what the book was supposed to be about, right? How he fit in with people who had their own powers?

    The ending was just...as bland as the rest of the book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Underwhelmed...

    I had such high hopes for this book - the ideas and storyline sounded extremely compelling and interesting! I am sorry to say that I almost wish the same story had been written by a different author. The whole thing was told in an impartial reminiscent manner which made it extremely difficult to relate to the characters. I understood the emotion, but I didn't FEEL it. That said, the story was origional and entertaining and likely a lot of people will enjoy this series.

    If you enjoyed the "storytelling" writing style, you will probably also like "Once Upon a Winter's Night" by McKiernan, and "The Ill-Made Mute" by Dart-Thornton. Both had the same feel, and both were great books!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2006

    I couldn't Beleive it!

    I loved this book with a burning intensity and can't wait to read the second book. It was thrilling and well written

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2006

    READ IT

    This book was magnificent! Ursula K. Le Guin is one of my favorite authors and she hasn't let me down yet. IF you like Sci fi and fantasy put this on your reading list.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2004

    I thought it was amazing

    Though I have yet to read LeGuin's other books, I thought this one was really good. It took me about eight hours (food breaks alotted) to read it because I could not put it down (which was good during Hurricane Frances).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2012

    Le Guin gives in another opening to a series.

    I haven't read the other books in the series yet, but this is a great opening and reminded me of how well fleshed out Earthsea was. The way the story is told is sort of ... odd, but in the end it works out well enough. There's also an odd twist, which I'll leave it up to you to decide whether or not it was acceptable. Much like her other books, Gifts is all about the characters, and you can't help but love (and hate) all of them. The main character is probably the only one where it's left to you to really decide if you like them or not. I'm anxious to read the next book, just hope it's a little longer.

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  • Posted July 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A beautiful coming-of-age story

    A young boy strives to be like his father, to be worth his father's love. In his world this doesn't just mean following his father's career, but inheriting his magical skill (his Gifts) as well. Orrec strives so hard to be the perfect son, but learns there's more to life. "To thine own self be true" says the old, our-world adage. And "Love your neighbor as yourself." But Orrec must learn to love himself before he can be sure he won't be a danger to his neighbor: The first of Ursual Le Guin's Gifts series, and a really enjoyable book.

    Disclosure: I bought this one then I had to buy the rest of the series.

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  • Posted September 27, 2009

    Easy Reading

    This book presents no challenges to the reader, but is great for a simple mindless read, great for a few hours of escape into the pages. This one is also unique to the early book in the series in that this one helps one realize, as the main character does through her experiences, that no all change has to be gotten through bloody warfare.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2006

    A great read

    This book kept my attention! It took me all of a day and a half to read, which says something! I really enjoyed it and would reccomend it to anyone who likes the genre.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2006

    Great Book!

    I loved this book. it was so sad, but very captivating.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2006

    It was ok

    This book was ok but it could have used more adventure, and the whole thing confused me with Orrec and Gry, I mean he wanted to marry her but it didnt seem like they clicked.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2005

    A Very Well-Written Book

    Some parts were slow or sad, but I found it very interesting and satisfying to read. Recommended to all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2005

    OK read

    This book was ok, a little slow and depressing at times, but still an ok read. Good for reading projects in school.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2004

    pretty good

    gets you very interested very quickly, while later on in the book you need to be more careful to pick up some of the details.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2004

    This book, I think needs three and a half stars.

    A really good read and interesting tale. Although a little slow, Gifts is a book you should read if you can.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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