Thu, Nov. 29th, 2007, 01:32 pm || Le Guin, Ursula K. - Powers

add to memories

I liked this more than I liked Gifts, though less than I liked Voices.

Gavir is a slave, though he's treated well. He's being trained to be the a teacher for the slave children and the children of the house. Life is pretty good, though there are some hints of unrest. Then, something awful happens, and Gav ends up wandering through several different societies, learning who he is and what he thinks of slavery, learning what to do with his powers of remembering (past and future).

As usual, this is a lousy plot summary. Part of it is because it's rather difficult to sum up the driving plot, because there really isn't one. I'm still not quite sure what the central conflict was -- some of it had to do with Gav deciding what to think of slavery, and some of it had to do with him coming to terms with his powers, but the problem was that the two narratives didn't seem to be very tied together.

I did enjoy the looks at the different societies Gav goes through, particularly the look at gender relationships in all of them. The variation in them was particularly interesting, although none of the societies seemed to be very pro-women. On the other hand, Gav notices this, so that was nice.

I think my problem with the book was that I couldn't quite figure out what it was about, in the end. Some of it is on Gav's powers, some of it is on slavery, but the two strands don't work together very well. I particularly wanted more of the ending; there's a sense that Gav has found the place he needs to be, but it wasn't a very satisfactory ending for me as a reader. I felt that he had finally found himself and wanted to see what he'd do with himself after that, but alas, that's where it ends.

- helen_keeble writes a much better review (spoilers)