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Gifts - Ursula Le Guin - Bogormen
So many books, so little time.
Gifts - Ursula Le Guin
Title: Gifts
Author: Ursula Le Guin
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2.5/5
# pages: 278
Date read: October, 2009

Orrec is the son of the Brantor of Caspromant; Gry the daughter of the Brantors of Barre and Rodd. They have grown up together in neighbouring domains, running half-wild across the Uplands. The people of the domains are like their land: harsh and fierce and prideful; ever at war with one or other of their neighbours, raiding cattle, capturing serfs, enlarging their holdings. It is only the gifts that keep a fragile peace. The gifts are powers, given to protect the domains: they run from father to son and from mother to daughter. The Barre gift is calling animals. The Caspro gift is the worst and best of all: it is the gift of undoing: an insect, an animal, a place.

Orrec and Gry are the heirs to Caspro and Barre. Gry's gift runs true, but unlike her mother, she will not use it to call animals for the hunt. Orrec too is a problem, for his gift of undoing is wild: he cannot control it - and that is the most dangerous gift of all.

Ursula Le Guin writes well, but the plot in this novel is just about non-existing. She spends 90% of the book setting the scene, so the actual story seems to be told in very few pages. Had it been a stand-alone book I wouldn't have understood the point of it at all, but as far as I can make out, it's supposed to be the first book of a longer series, so I guess this is more of an introduction than anything else.

I liked Gry and Orrec, but the other characters weren't described in any great detail, and it was therefore difficult to get a proper 'read' of them.

It was a quick read, and kept me well enough entertained, but certainly wasn't a pageturner in any sense of the word.

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