First Lines Fridays is a weekly meme for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? To participate, simply choose a book off your shelf, copy the first few lines to hook the reader, and then reveal the book!
This week’s first lines are from a book I’m reading this weekend.
In the court of the fountain the sun of March shone through young leaves of ash and elm, and water leapt and fell through shadow and clear light. About that roofless court stood four high walls of stone. Behind those were rooms and courts, passages, corridors, towers, and at last the heavy outmost walls of the Great House of Roke, which would stand any assault of war or earthquake or the sea itself, being built not only of stone, but of incontestable magic.
Curious in which book this fantastic place exists?
The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin (Earthsea Cycle #3)
Darkness threatens to overtake Earthsea: The world and its wizards are losing their magic. But Ged Sparrowhawk — Archmage, wizard, and dragonlord — is determined to discover the source of this devastating loss.
Aided by Enlad’s young Prince Arren, Ged embarks on a treacherous journey that will test their strength and will. Because to restore magic, the two warriors must venture to the farthest reaches of their world — and even beyond the realm of death.
If you haven’t read the first book in the Earthsea Cycle, A Wizard of Earthsea, I highly recommend it! I’m thoroughly convinced that it was a big source of inspiration for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, which, in my opinion, is reason enough to read it. Like the Harry Potter series, A Wizard of Earthsea is a coming-of-age story set in a fantasy world, in which the main character, a young, talented wizard, attends a school of wizardry, discovers who he is, and confronts and overcomes the frightening darkness he finds within himself. Here is the dust jacket description:
Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth. Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death’s threshold to restore the balance.
My favorite aspect of A Wizard of Earthsea was the narrative style. To me, it read more like a legend than a novel, hearkening back to traditional storytelling; I found it a really unique and wonderful way to tell Ged’s story. I read The Silmarillion simultaneously and found a lot of parallels between Le Guin’s narration of A Wizard and the way Tolkien narrates his work of Middle-earth mythology.
I’m making my way through the Earthsea Cycle by reading one book each month with the Goodreads group Fantasy Book Club Series, so stay tuned for my reviews of each book and an overall review of the series when I’ve finished it in November!