Book Reviews of Gifts

Gifts
Gifts
Author: Ursula K. Le Guin
ISBN-13: 9780152051242
ISBN-10: 0152051244
Publication Date: 4/1/2006
Pages: 288
Reading Level: Young Adult
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 47

3.8 stars, based on 47 ratings
Publisher: Harcourt Paperbacks
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

8 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed Gifts on + 37 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Excellent book. This is my first experience with LeGuin's work and have since discovered she has a web site with other books like Gifts. http://www.ursulakleguin.com/
reviewed Gifts on + 7145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Reviewed by Lynn Crow for TeensReadToo.com

In Ursula K. Le Guin's GIFTS, the gifts in question bring more trouble than happiness to the novel's main character, sixteen-year-old Orrec. Orrec lives in the Uplands, a rough landscape where small clans squabble amongst themselves to maintain their land holdings and cattle herds. The leader of each clan has a specific gift: a mystical power that allows them to call animals or twist human bodies with the force of their mind. Orrec is the next in line to lead his clan, and his family's gift is one of the most terrible: the undoing. His father can kill a man with a word and a gesture, and it is expected that Orrec will come into the same power. However, when Orrec's power arrives, it is wild and uncontrollable, and he must stay blind-folded to avoid harming those he loves.

The best thing about this outstanding novel is its premise. Everyone has wished at one time or another for a secret power. GIFTS forces the question: what if your having such a gift caused harm to the people around you? It gives no easy answers, exploring the issue with depth and feeling. The society and culture of the Uplanders is detailed and realistic, making the conflicts that much more powerful. Readers will quickly feel as though they've lived in this wonderful and terrifying world themselves.

As narrator, Orrec is thoughtful and questioning, with a rhythmic voice that recalls traditional story-tellers. He handles the tragedies and disappointments in his life with honesty and good humor. Despite being from a somewhat alien world, his view is very human and teens will find it easy to see through his eyes. When he is finally able to face the most disappointing truth of all, readers will cheer even as they share his pain.

GIFTS is an excellent read for teens of all interests. Fans of fantasy will be particularly drawn to it, but the world is grounded enough in earthly reality that it should appeal even to those who usually avoid the fantastical. Thought-provoking and suspenseful, with a dollop of action and romance, a novel like this is a gift to its readers.
reviewed Gifts on + 7145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Reviewed by Lynn Crow for TeensReadToo.com

In Ursula K. Le Guin's GIFTS, the gifts in question bring more trouble than happiness to the novel's main character, sixteen-year-old Orrec. Orrec lives in the Uplands, a rough landscape where small clans squabble amongst themselves to maintain their land holdings and cattle herds. The leader of each clan has a specific gift: a mystical power that allows them to call animals or twist human bodies with the force of their mind. Orrec is the next in line to lead his clan, and his family's gift is one of the most terrible: the undoing. His father can kill a man with a word and a gesture, and it is expected that Orrec will come into the same power. However, when Orrec's power arrives, it is wild and uncontrollable, and he must stay blind-folded to avoid harming those he loves.

The best thing about this outstanding novel is its premise. Everyone has wished at one time or another for a secret power. GIFTS forces the question: what if your having such a gift caused harm to the people around you? It gives no easy answers, exploring the issue with depth and feeling. The society and culture of the Uplanders is detailed and realistic, making the conflicts that much more powerful. Readers will quickly feel as though they've lived in this wonderful and terrifying world themselves.

As narrator, Orrec is thoughtful and questioning, with a rhythmic voice that recalls traditional story-tellers. He handles the tragedies and disappointments in his life with honesty and good humor. Despite being from a somewhat alien world, his view is very human and teens will find it easy to see through his eyes. When he is finally able to face the most disappointing truth of all, readers will cheer even as they share his pain.

GIFTS is an excellent read for teens of all interests. Fans of fantasy will be particularly drawn to it, but the world is grounded enough in earthly reality that it should appeal even to those who usually avoid the fantastical. Thought-provoking and suspenseful, with a dollop of action and romance, a novel like this is a gift to its readers.
reviewed Gifts on + 21 more book reviews
sadly, not one of her best. but a lesser book by a great author is still worth reading. you might try her much more successful similar short story "darkrose and diamond" in her "tales from earthsea" collection.
reviewed Gifts on + 774 more book reviews
I was a little bit disappointed when I had heard that this recent book from LeGuin was a childrens book but I neednt have worried. Its just another one of those publishers' marketing ploys. This is definitely a story that can be appreciated by readers of any age.

Its a very bleak story, in many ways. It tells of two young people in a remote, backwards society. Life is harsh, theyre dirt-poor, inbred, always violently feuding over the slightest of pretexts and to make things worse, each of the tiny clans of this backcountry has a supernatural gift each of which can be used for violence and ill. To avoid using a destructive force, the young man Orrec voluntarily gives up sight, while his best friend Gry flatly refuses to use her ability to call animals to have them be slaughtered at the hunt.
However, there seems to be little chance for the compassionate aspects of their natures to grow, considering the world that surrounds them, and the demands and sacrifices that their families ask for.
LeGuin, here, succeeds brilliantly at portraying the narrow, barren life of these Upland tribes; how the people themselves are not all evil, but how completely their way of life informs and circumscribes their existence while at the same time letting the reader know that more exists in their world, just beyond these peoples ability to comprehend. We see both the values and priorities of their daily life but can also see how, from another perspective, those priorities are not merely pathetic but incredibly sad.
The book is dark, but insightful, and not wholly without hope.
reviewed Gifts on + 113 more book reviews
I thought the book was a little slow but it definately set up a lot for the other two books. Sometimes the first book in a trillogy needs to establish everything. I thought it was interesting how Orrec was willing to sacrifice his sense of sight to keep his family safe from his "gift." I do not really think that it is a gift to be able to undo something. I am interested to see if Gry's theory is correct, that the gifts were once used for peace and have been corrupted by war and violence. There were some very touching parts in the book with Orrec's relationships with his mother and father. It will also be interesting to see how Orrec's feelings will change toward his father since his discover about his gift near the end of the book.
reviewed Gifts on + 19 more book reviews
A very well crafted Fantasy. Easy to read. I am now looking for the next one to find out what happens next. It was a coming of age among different circumstances.
I enjoyed it.
reviewed Gifts on + 975 more book reviews
A young man, heir to his family's psychic powers, can neither control his Gift nor refrain from using it, and makes the choice to live as a blind man.