Friday, 25 October 2013

The Left Hand of Darkness

Level: Adult
Genre: SciFi
Obtained: Borrowed from a friend
Reviewed by: Nic Echo
Okay, I have to admit that this cover would not draw me in; however, it goes very well with the book. Sure the lettering is a little dated, but the art chosen is perfect. The icy terrain depicts the actual landscape of the world wile the ice sculpture shows the nature of the world's inhabitants, both male and female, one and the same. Beautifully done. 
About the Book:
Genly Ai is an envoy from another world, hoping to become allies with the residents of Winter. It certainly proves more difficult than anticipated though. Genly has to deal with both politics and deciding whom he is able to trust, and his decisions only go from difficult to more difficult.
Rating: 9/10
I was originally suggested this book for the Winter residents, whom are neither male nor female and only become a sex when they enter kemmer, or their mating period. For those who are constantly one sex, they are called perverts. It seemed as if it would be an entertaining commentary on sex, gender, and society's view of it. I will admit that I was disappointed in that aspect as the story didn't really focus on that. However, that isn't to say that the story was any less interesting. I really enjoyed getting to witness Genly's struggles as he tried to figure out how to best go about his mission, but I really became invested once our protagonist is arrested. It becomes dark and desperate, and Le Guin is able to unfold a heartfelt friendship that allows Genly to view the Winter inhabitants as human instead of alien. Perhaps a little cliche, but Le Guin portrays the journey so well that it strikes at the emotions and shows the wear and tear on Genly's soul. She also brings forth elements of patriotism and trust and where does one draw the line.
To be honest, there was really only one thing that brought this down for me, and that was the terminology and layout. There were a lot of words that I had trouble comprehending (some I never fully understood). I also had a hard time figuring out what towns and countries were where. Not everyone will have this issue, but it constantly brought the story to a halt for me. Perhaps it would have been easier on my mind if I had read the entire series instead of just The Left Hand of Darkness. Maybe some of the other books explain the world of Winter a little better.
Overall though, I would say that The Left Hand of Darkness is an excellent novel that deals with several layers. It can be a little slow as Le Guin gives us needed information, but she is able to weave such treachery, fear, and friendship. I would certainly recommend this to many.
What I'm Reading Next:
To be decided really. I am going to be rereading The Hunger Games and Catching Fire to do some book vs. film reviews so I'll see what comes up after that. More than likely:

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