A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The occupying enemy sees women as less than human.
Violence & Scariness
While the violence (including rape) isn't shown, the detailed (and often gruesome) aftermath is.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A character hears rumors about priestesses who have sex with any man who enters the temple.
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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.
Is It Any Good?
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.
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