Author: Ursula Le Guin
Details: (c) The Inter-Vivos Trust for the Le Guin children 1971; Pub (in compendium) Penguin 1993; ISBN 0-14-015427-2
Verdict: The tombs of Atuan is beautifully written, but a bit thin as a story.
Reasons for reading it: It's the sequel to A wizard of Earthsea, which I enjoyed very much.
How it came into my hands: Galloway and Porter were selling off a pre-film edition of the trilogy-plus-one.
Le Guin's language is still a joy to read, but The tombs of Atuan came across as a bit more definitely a YA book than A wizard of Earthsea. It's still enjoyable to read as an adult, but it doesn't have quite the... magic, I suppose. If I'd fallen in love with AWoE, I would probably have been pretty happy that there was more available, and there's no doubt that tToA does have many of the merits of the earlier book. Ged is much less interesting as a very powerful and wise mature Mage than he was as a young apprentice learning his craft, though; possibly an unavoidable problem with a sequel in this sort of genre.
That said, Tenar almost makes up for that as a viewpoint character. She's really wonderfully adolescent, and her cruel streak despite her basically decent nature is very well done indeed. It's certainly interesting to have the switch of viewpoint away from Ged himself, and that helps mitigate the sequel problem.
I sound more critical than I really mean to be, I think. I certainly enjoyed reading tToA, and if the story is fairly simple in some ways, it's still exciting and moving and there are plenty of twists in the exact unfolding of the basic plot. I also liked the connection with the Ring of Erreth-Akbe and the way an event from aWoE is worked in.