Gifts by Ursula LeGuin

This is a fantasy novel for grade 6 and older that is somehow etched into the real world as well as into a fantasy world.

People living in the Uplands have gifts or abilities that often involve causing harm to others.  Orrec and Gry are two young teenagers who are great friends, but at the same time they have started to fall in love with one another, even though the match would be against their parents wishes.  The men in Orrec’s line have the gift of unmaking (destroying) living things, but Orrec’s gift appears to be wild and uncontrollable so he is blindfolded so that he does not cause harm to those he loves.  Women in Gry’s line have the ability to communicate with animals.  What happens when people refuse to use their “gift” or to only allow the gifts to do good? While all this is happening, Ogge Drum, a cruel, greedy and obnoxious landowner is causing heartache for Orrec and his family.  In the beginning, Ogge steals Orrec’s father’s precious cattle, but that is the least of concerns as the book continues. Will Gry and Orrec realize the true nature of their gifts and how best to use them?  This novel creates a great platform for discussion and contemplation about power and individual choices.


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