Gifts

Gifts

3.66 (7,150 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Scattered among poor, desolate farms, the clans of the Uplands possess gifts. Wondrous gifts: the ability--with a glance, a gesture, a word--to summon animals, bring forth fire, move the land. Fearsome gifts: They can twist a limb, chain a mind, inflict a wasting illness. The Uplanders live in constant fear that one family might unleash its gift against another. Two young people, friends since childhood, decide not to use their gifts. One, a girl, refuses to bring animals to their death in the hunt. The other, a boy, wears a blindfold lest his eyes and his anger kill. In this beautifully crafted story, Ursula K. Le Guin writes of the proud cruelty of power, of how hard it is to grow up, and of how much harder still it is to find, in the world's darkness, gifts of light. Includes a reader's guide and a sample chapter from the companion title Voices.
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 286 pages
  • 127 x 172.7 x 25.4mm | 204.12g
  • Wadsworth Publishing Co Inc
  • Belmont, CA, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0152051244
  • 9780152051242
  • 89,091

Review quote

"A brilliant exploration of the power and responsibilty of gifts . . . Provocative."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Intriguing as a coming-of-age allegory . . . rich in the earthy magic and intelligent plot twists that made the Earthsea novels classics."--Booklist (starred review)

"Science-fiction icon Le Guin probes the natures of fear, power, and love in this darkly beautiful, quietly provocative novel."--Family Fun

"Fantasy, artfully spun by an American master." --Parade

"One can recommend this book without hesitation to teens looking for a great fantasy read that does not follow the standard quest format."--VOYA "Gifts, in the context of Le Guin's newest, inspire fear more often than gratitude. But this book is a gift in the purest sense, as the renowned fantasist's admirers have waited 14 years since the release of Tehanu for another full-length young adult novel. . . . While intriguing as a coming-of-age allegory, Orrec's story is also rich in the earthy magic and intelligent plot twists that made the Earthsea novels classics." "Booklist", 8/01/04 (starred review) "Le Guin's fantasy, a brilliant exploration of the power and responsibility of gifts, begins as 16-year-old narrator Orrec reflects upon recent events. . . . This provocative novel may well prompt teens to examine their own talents, and to ask whether they simply accept those 'gifts' assigned to them by others or whether the 'gifts' are their true passions." -Publishers Weekly 7/19/04 (starred review) "Gifts, in the context of Le Guin's newest, inspire fear more often than gratitude. But this book is a gift in the purest sense, as the renowned fantasist's admirers have waited 14 years since the release of Tehanu for another full-length young adult novel. . . . While intriguing as a coming-of-age allegory, Orrec's story is also rich in the earthy magic and intelligent plot twists that made the Earthsea novels classics." "Booklist," 8/01/04 (starred review)
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Rating details

7,150 ratings
3.66 out of 5 stars
5 20% (1,436)
4 38% (2,699)
3 32% (2,306)
2 8% (576)
1 2% (133)

Our customer reviews

In Ursula K. Le Guin's GIFTS, the gifts in question bring more trouble than happiness to the novel's main character, sixteen-year-old Orrec. Orrec lives in the Uplands, a rough landscape where small clans squabble amongst themselves to maintain their land holdings and cattle herds. The leader of each clan has a specific gift: a mystical power that allows them to call animals or twist human bodies with the force of their mind. Orrec is the next in line to lead his clan, and his family's gift is one of the most terrible: the undoing. His father can kill a man with a word and a gesture, and it is expected that Orrec will come into the same power. However, when Orrec's power arrives, it is wild and uncontrollable, and he must stay blind-folded to avoid harming those he loves. The best thing about this outstanding novel is its premise. Everyone has wished at one time or another for a secret power. GIFTS forces the question: what if your having such a gift caused harm to the people around you? It gives no easy answers, exploring the issue with depth and feeling. The society and culture of the Uplanders is detailed and realistic, making the conflicts that much more powerful. Readers will quickly feel as though they've lived in this wonderful and terrifying world themselves. As narrator, Orrec is thoughtful and questioning, with a rhythmic voice that recalls traditional story-tellers. He handles the tragedies and disappointments in his life with honesty and good humor. Despite being from a somewhat alien world, his view is very human and teens will find it easy to see through his eyes. When he is finally able to face the most disappointing truth of all, readers will cheer even as they share his pain. GIFTS is an excellent read for teens of all interests. Fans of fantasy will be particularly drawn to it, but the world is grounded enough in earthly reality that it should appeal even to those who usually avoid the fantastical. Thought-provoking and suspenseful, with a dollop of action and romance, a novel like this is a gift to its readers.show more
by TeensReadToo
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