I don’t want to go into great depth about The Tombs of Atuan (The Earthsea Cycle, Book 2), simply because it reads so quickly that I think recommending it is enough. It’s not a book for children, unlike the first one, which I thought to be more accessible in that sense. The first 50% of the book describe life for a girl taken hostage to lead a religion. It’s incredibly dark and sad, and you feel how the girl’s identity is replaced piece by piece. Hee darkest moment comes when she is forced to make a decision that has disastrous effects on others (my non-spoilery way of describing that). Book 2 eventually links to book 1, when she meets a character from that book and is confronted with a choice: continue her descent or ascend into a new world. I’ll leave you to find out what that decision was.

What I liked about this book, just like the last one, is that Ursula Le Guin publishes an afterword describing her inspiration and her struggle in writing a book from the female perspective. At the time of writing (1971), there was little published that showed female characters as powerful and heroic and her interpretation was riddled with feelings of guilt and confusion felt by the main character.