Ah! I must be honest! I suffered through the first 68 pages! It took me a week or more to read them. I was SO mad at Le Guin for having chosen such an oppressive and unloving environment and life for her first main female character. I kept on wondering why -as with Anne Rice, it is so difficult for women writers to create cool, interesting female characters. I felt kind of insulted by the stereotype and uncomfortable to be immersed in such dark world.
Page 69 made the difference. It was when Ged was introduced to the story. I couldn’t stop turning the pages and I suffered from sleep deprivation for two or three days until I finished the book. As it happened with the first book in the trilogy, “A Wizard of Earthsea” , the second book left me willing to start the third immediately.
Let’s see how this all ends! I still have the same feelings towards the experience. I deeply admire Le Guin as a great writer. I understand the logic of her decisions in matters of plot and characters. I even got involved emotionally with the characters, for better or worse. However, there’s something missing and I can’t completely nail it. Maybe it’s that in the end, I admire this universe as a great work of mastery. I find it interesting and wise, but I wouldn’t like to live in it.