A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Violence & Scariness
A minor battle, a major character is killed with bow and arrow, animals and people are "unmade."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink and get drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, as fantasies go, this one doesn't have much violence, though an aura of dread hangs over it, and there's a small battle near the end.
Is It Any Good?
As in her earlier work, Le Guin creates a strange and somewhat mystical world, without the epic sweep and bombast of high fantasy, and devoid of breakneck pacing.
Le Guin instead takes the time to lay the groundwork for this story about feuding magic clans. Readers may get confused by the profusion of names and relationships, but they will be fascinated by the well-drawn world, and find meaning and resonance in Orrec's story of shame and fear and self-imposed blindness. This is clearly the work of a master, though it may not be to the taste of many fantasy fans weaned on plot-driven, action-oriented fantasy. For those for whom "quiet" and "slow" are not terms of criticism, though, it's a rich and meaty tale.
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