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Publisher's Summary

Return to Earthsea with Ged, the brash young wizard who survived the enchanted labyrinth of The Tombs of Atuan. In the third episode of this brilliant fantasy saga, a much older Ged sets off on a harrowing quest for the source of a terrible darkness that is taking the magic out of Earthsea.

©1972 Ursula K. Le Guin (P)1994 Recorded Books, LLC

What the critics say

  • Winner, National Book Award, 1973

What listeners say about The Farthest Shore

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  • Overall
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A Brilliant 'Earthsea' Entry

This episode in the 'Original' Earthsea Trilogy follows a more conventional quest format: Sparrowhawk enlists the young Prince Arren on a mission to discover why magic, wisdom, and empathy are leaving the world. Some well-loved aspects of the first two books are preserved (incorporating a rich Fantasy setting - islands and archipelagos populated with unique cultures, dragons, gods & evil forces; and a "coming-of-age" paradigm - exploring the maturing of a young character struggling with responsibilities), but this book also offers a simple, classic plot: find the source of evil and stop it.
Ursula K. LeGuin paces that plot nicely, displays unsurpassed imagination, and is a genuine wordsmith - not a single word is misplaced. Based on the subject matter, this book is clearly aimed at a teenaged audience, but regardless of where you're coming from, this qualifies as legitimate "Literature".

Rob Inglis reads this tale superbly. His tone, timbre, and cadence are incredible and his resonant voice makes the listener feel as though a favorite uncle is reading a bedtime story. Furthermore, Inglis' voice-acting skills are particularly notable in this book - every one of dozens of characters is instantly recognizable and brought to life. His pacing is a little slow, but it's not an overwhelming problem.. I sped the recording to 1.10X to good effect. Inglis is correctly celebrated as one of the best narrators in the business.

This is the strongest of the Earthsea cycle so far. The writing from Ursula LeGuin is beautiful, the performance from Rob Inglis is peerless, and the attention to quality standards is meticulous (it's comfortable to listen to this audiobook for hours on end). Although reading the other books in the series might help enrich the experience, this entry also has significant standalone merit (you don’t absolutely need to read the other books to enjoy this one). Taken altogether, I rate 'The Farthest Shore' 9.5 stars out of 10.

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Great third installment

Earthsea is a great series, and I was hooked the whole way through this book.

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First two books were far better

Still a great book but compared to the previous two I didn't enjoy this one nearly as much and it failed to hold my attention as well. Still a good book if you enjoy "The Earthsea Cycle" though.

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feels like a more complete adventure

The first two Earthsea books were good, but felt a little incomplete. this was a longer adventure, and an enjoyable one.

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  • Nothing really matters
  • 2016-07-22

Best. Fantasy. Series. Ever.

Superb.

I binge-listened to all the Earthsea books on Audible. They’re that good.

10 people found this helpful

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  • giralffe
  • 2018-06-12

Finale but not final

I definitely recommend reading this series as a whole, and in order. This book is far more satisfying when you've read the previous two and understand how everything -- and magic, in particular -- works in the world of Earthsea. Even though the overarching plot is about magic, nearly all the details and characters are non-magical, which somehow drew me in more. The story brought a few things full-circle, left minor things unresolved, and did a wonderful job of giving a resolution without a concrete conclusion. I felt I could daydream all day about what happened to the people of Earthsea after I was done reading, which is the best way to end a book.

4 people found this helpful

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  • G. Parish
  • 2018-03-13

A slow tragedy, but well told

This book is written to a slow, almost glacial pace. It seems oddly realistic and is quite good at drawing the reader in, but eventually even the most patient reader will get bored. Having said all of that, it ends well if in a bit of tragedy. I'm left hoping that the story of Ged does not end so, especially considering his noble sacrifice.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Uther
  • 2017-03-04

The most poignantly esoteric of fantasy writers, sailing with the full force of the mage-winds of Earthsea!

This is a wonderful work of fantasy writing by an author who has influenced many other writers in the genre, such as Terry Pratchett. This book has some wonderful esoteric passages and weaves together plots from the previous stories. The narrator, who also did the unabridged recordings of JRR Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, is the perfect choice to do this book justice - if only Rob Inglis could have been persuaded to all the books in the Earthsea Cycle!

#MythologyInspired #Fables #Inspiring #Magical #Earthsea #tagsgiving #sweepstakes

4 people found this helpful

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  • Punkrockin4220
  • 2016-07-28

Hard At First. You Won't Regret It

Any additional comments?

Right off the bat I thought to myself. Did I just make a big mistake? I loved Robert Inglis in the Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit so I purchased all three Earthsea books in a row and figured they would have to be good because the Narrator was good. I was a little confused at first but she has a unique writing style that will grow on you. This is one of those books that you really can't casually listen too. You really have to pay attention otherwise you are going to be lost. After finishing all the books I purchased the last two she wrote in this series. The Other Wind and The Last Book of Earthsea. There's just something magical about this place and her writing style and the characters. I would def give it a shot but expect a more serious book rather than some laughs like Harry Potter or Lord of The Rings even. I'd still highly recommend it and don't regret listening to it.

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  • Josh Angel
  • 2020-05-26

Earthsea, minus the charm of the first two volumes

I'm surprised to say that I did not really enjoy this volume of Earthsea. The book is dark, the characters fairly two dimensional, the antagonist vague and non-menacing, and the pace rather plodding until the very end.

There are some very dark themes in this book, having to do with the acceptance of death, that didn't resonate with me. Also, the story is about the loss of magic in the world. I don't know why, but this particular trope has never been my favorite kind of story. I love Fantasy, and I love magic, and I'm not much interested in a story where the magic is going away. I know it contrasts well with the usual setting by removing the fantastic and all that, but I've always found it a dreary trope.

To add to the dreariness, this story really drags along at a snails pace for the majority of the book. What I really want is a story from the perspective of Ged, who is the most interesting character in Earthsea. But like the Tombs of Atuan, we see Ged through the eyes of a different character. In this case, the new character of Arren, who falls hopelessly in love with Ged at first site (it's never made clear if this is sexual attraction or just worshipful adoration, which I think should have been addressed one way or another). For me Arrens' alternating worship / distrust of Ged doesn't make for very interesting character interactions, especially since Ged is sullen and grumpy for most of the book. There's just too much angst and mistrust in this volume. It didn't feel like Earthsea to me, and I believe it's because it lacked "charm". The first two Earthsea books were charming, while this book was bleak and almost depressing.

There were some fun moments to break up the slog. The community of rafters was interesting, and we get to see way more dragons in this volume, though they are toward the end. I did like the ending as well. The last few chapters got really interesting. Just not interesting enough to justify all the long boring chapters about sailing and ruminations on death and the nature of evil.

The prose is was as great as always, but great prose does not an entertaining story make. In this case, I found myself forcing myself to read on just to "get it over with". I'll be continuing to the next volume, Tehanu, because I know many people say it's the best book of the series, but this volume did shake my faith in the author a bit.

As always, Rob Inglis was an excellent narrator.

3 people found this helpful

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  • E. G. Merrill
  • 2019-07-03

beautiful, profound, poetic prose, timeless wisdom

beautiful, profound, poetic prose, timeless wisdom, heart wisdom, ancient lore, fantastic alternate universe, dragons n mages n apprentices and heirs to great responsibility

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2016-11-04

I see why it's a classic

Such an excellent story with very human characters and set in a fascinating world, all narrated spectacularly.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-10-29

Narrator makes it come alive

I have loved Rob Inglis' readings of the EarthSea books and feel that his voice is perfect for the themes in these books. I can hear his voice in my head whenever I read something in a similar vein. I hope to hear more books narrated by him!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chris
  • 2017-09-19

Not as good as the first

I liked it but the first book was the best. Still good though. I'd recommend anyone that likes the first two.

1 person found this helpful