Second Bookses

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Gifts (Annals of the Western Shore Series #1)

Gifts - Ursula K. Le Guin Ursula LeGuin's Annals of the Western Shore sries was one of the series recommended to me after my public adulation of Kristin Cashore's Graceling books. I picked up the first two books at an adorable indie bookstore in downtown Buffalo while at a reading for another author, and dove into Gifts almost immediately.Gifts tells the story of a continent divided into two lands: in one, the people have cities and more creature comforts, while the other is more feudal in nature, protected by "brantors" which are people who have shown the most concentrated and powerful gifts. Orrec is the son of a brantor, and shares his father's gift: the power to unmake, or destroy. Only Orrect has no control over his gift, and he is voluntarily blindfolded to protect those around him from his gift. His childhood friend, Gry, also refuses to use her gift: She can call animals, but refuses to use it to call animals to a hunt.I can see why people would recommend this series to me, knowing both how much I loved LeGuin's Earthsea series as well as the similarities to Graceling, but I was oddly disappointed with Gifts. Both the characters and the country seemed far too close to Earthsea for me, and I felt like someone had written a mash-up of Graceling and the Earthsea stories. While obviously, Gifts came before Graceling, it came after Earthsea, and the similarities were just too close for comfort. I kept waiting for Ged to appear at some point in the story, and still have two more books to read, and am not discounting a crossover.I was hoping for a totally new series from a writer I adored, but Gifts felt far too familiar to me. In addition, I knew the story's "surprise" ending far too early, and felt the rest of the book was anticlimactic after that.This review originally posted at

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