Liked It1 of 1 members found this review helpful
“I loved this book! It's great. I like all the characters!”see full review » see other reviews »
“It was a really good book.”Elly wrote this review Saturday, March 16, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A book full of atmosphere. There happens not that much in the book, but that doesn't matter.”Arnoud Visser wrote this review Friday, February 15, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I loved this book and its new take on the rivalry of the highland for the lowland.”Flame wrote this review Thursday, October 11, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is a well written book. I like the authors writing style. I can't wait to read the second book.”Deitrich Pettus II wrote this review Wednesday, October 3, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Library Rec: First in a series. "gifts" are they gifts really? A story about kids that have gifts that are not really gifts, they try to escape their families to escape their gifts. ”Kari Backes wrote this review Tuesday, October 2, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“One of the classics. After reading it, I really think that Hollywood should consider shooting this as a movie.”Bilgehan S. wrote this review Monday, September 10, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I liked Gifts. The story was original and kept my interest throughout the book, and I enjoyed the romance between Gry and Orrec. I am not sure how I liked how whether or not Orrec has the gift is unclear. I still like to think that he has it and did kill the adder, and the dog, and ruined the hill. I will be reading the second in the series, and wonder if they will ever find what happens to Emmon.”Lyddz wrote this review Monday, September 3, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Gifts was a... different book about how a boy struggles with his gift in land where customs and tradition dictate everything.This was a wonderful book. ”morgan wrote this review Friday, June 8, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Gifts is the story of two youths, Orrec and Gry, coming of age under difficult circumstances. Orrec comes from a clan with a destructive gift and must learn to cope with fear of power and the consequences of wielding it. Gry has a gentler gift, one that she refuses to manipulate in order to bring animals to their deaths. As they grow from children to a young man and woman, they must establish who they are and what they want to do with the abilities and circumstances afforded to them.
I found Gifts interesting because it is unlike any fantasy book I have ever read, but I didn't enjoy the reading experience. The narrative skews heavily toward telling without enough showing to balance it out. Told by Orrec in first person, the novel feels like a monologue and does not build enough tension to suck the reader completely into the characters' world. I continued reading in order to finish it, not out of I-need-to-know-what-happens-next excitement.
Gifts begins with Orrec and Gry telling a traveling thief, Emmon, about the Uplander's gifts and the politics of local landholding families. I assumed that the thief would play some central role in the book's conflict, but instead Orrec goes on to narrate the history of his people and the challenges he faces as a young man, growing up under trying circumstances. The central conflict of the book is how difficult it is to grow up, and Emmon is really nothing more than an audience. His function is to make Orrec begin telling the story, and then he promptly disappears until the last pages of the novel. The story lacks tension and, to some degree, a narrative. It wasn't satisfying to read Orrec's "then X happened then Y happened then Z happened" storytelling.
What I did like about Gifts is Le Guin's setting. The Uplands greatly resemble the seventeenth-century Scotland highlands, both in geography and culture -- Orrec and Gry live in a world of small villages, farms, and forests. In the Lowlands, there are cities and centres of learning. The world Le Guin builds is familiar enough that it need not be explained in great detail, and unique enough to stimulate the reader's sense of wonder and imagination.
At roughly 300 pages, Gifts is a quick read. It's not a typical fantasy novel, but rather an exploration of what fantasy can be. Though I think Le Guin missed the mark in terms of storytelling, Gifts is an excellent example of world building and cultural development in fantasy fiction.”