The Tombs of Atuan, By Ursula K. Le Guin, is an outstanding book. It gets starts off slow, but it gets better after the first two pages. It doesn’t get terribly interesting until Ged shows up in the Tombs that only Arha, the high priestess, can enter. It has a moral that the reader can appreciate if something like that ever happened to him, or if the reader is paying close enough attention.
The first few pages of the book are slow. If you are a reader who doesn’t mind slow character development, then you shouldn’t have a problem with this book. If you do have a problem with slow character development, or it being slow in general, then this book may be difficult to just pick up and read. It gets better when Arha and her friend, Penthe, climb to the top of a wall that they are not allowed to. This is when Arha shows her true “high priestess” colors as her friend gets punished knowing full well that she, as high priestess, cannot.
The first chapter is confusing and takes lots of patience to read. It is not the best aspect of the book by any means. As for this part of the first chapter, “ ‘O let the Nameless Ones behold the girl given to them!’… Other voices reply, ‘She is Eaten! She is Eaten!’ “(7), the reader does not know what is going on. The reader does not even find out at the end of the book. Was it a sacrifice? It was a ritual of some kind, but what exactly happened?
The book’s main take-off is when Arha finds a man traveling the under tombs that only she can travel. He is then put into a dark room where he is to starve from food and water, but Arha is curious of him, so she keeps him alive to hear his stories. He showed up with her shocked. “She did not move. For a long time he crossed and recrossed the vast cave as if he sought something, but the priestess still stood motionless.”(84). Once she keeps him alive she realizes she is helping a prisoner, a thief, and she is the high priestess. Her viewpoint on the things she’s known change from then on.
The Tombs of Atuan is a good, slow, casual read. It is slow for the first few pages, but gets better when things start snowballing. The confusing first chapter might make a few readers put the book down and not pick it up again. It doesn’t really get interesting until Ged, a thief in Arha’s eyes, enters a place only Arha is allowed to enter. Overall, it is a wonderful book that should at least be given a shot.