Voices Book Poster Image




Well-wrought fantasy explores pacifism, violence.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The occupying enemy sees women as less than human.


While the violence (including rape) isn't shown, the detailed (and often gruesome) aftermath is.


A character hears rumors about priestesses who have sex with any man who enters the temple.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sequel to Le Guin's Gifts contains more mature content than its predecessor and may be too much for some kids. Violence, descriptions of the effects of torture, and matter-of-fact mentions of rape are scattered throughout the book, although never gratuitously. For those kids old enough for its mature themes, the book is a capable exploration of violence, culture clashes, and seeing the enemy from the other side.

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

The Ansuls, a peaceful people who venerate wisdom, are living under occupation of the warrior Alds. Memer, conceived when her mother was raped by an Ald soldier, vows to avenge her mother and her people. But when a gifted poet named Orrec and his wife Gry arrive, she begins to see her country's plight with new understanding.

Is it any good?


Le Guin maintains her signature lyricism here, but the melancholy of the first book, Gifts, is replaced by sometimes-shocking scenes of the aftermath of cruelty.

This is not a fast-moving novel; Le Guin concerns herself more with the inner struggle of the conflicted heroine than with the intricacies of the rebellion. The result is a rich but challenging exploration of violence, justice, faith, and honor. For some young adult readers, the book will be too slow to capture their interest. Others will be upset by the description of the torments of the Ansul people, including the torture that crippled the Waylord, Memer's caregiver. Readers don't need to have read Gifts before tackling this book, but those who have will be happy to reacquaint themselves with Orrec and Gry, who arrive early in the book.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the people of Ansul respond to their violent occupiers, the Alds. How are they able to maintain their values in the face of such opposition, and why is it important that they do so? Why does the Waylord want the heroine, Memer, to see the humanity in the Alds?

Book details

Author:Ursula K. Le Guin
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:October 20, 2006
Number of pages:352

This review of Voices was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.