I wish I'd read this one as a kid. It's one of those books that crams an epic story in under 200 pages, sketching the world and the details and the action rather than spelling everything out. As a kid, you get lost inside of a book like that, and it seems the better for it (the closest comparison I can think of is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - I was shocked to re-read that and discover the "epic battle" at the end is about two pages long).I can tell that's what UKLG was going for with this first book of Earthsea. And I did enjoy it. But it basically crams the entire stretch of seven Harry Potter novels into one book, and thus is all plot plot plot and melancholy hero and years passed and so without developing anyone's personality or giving the world some depth and color beyond its geography and a few memorable details, like the children who have lived their entire lives alone on an isolated reef and have never seen another man.Upon the recommendation of another goodreader, I downloaded this one from iTunes for $5 (I've had a gift certificate credit there since 2007... I don't buy music). Harlan Ellison reads in the style of an overenthusiastic grandpa, doing the funny voices and everything. Whether this added to or detracted from my enjoyment of the book, I cannot say.