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Teen Reviewed: Left Hand of Darkness

The Left Hand of DarknessThe Left Hand of Darkness
Ursula K. Le Guin

Summary: The Left Hand of Darkness is a Science Fiction novel that tells the story of Genly Ai, a human emissary sent by the Ekumen (an intergalactic “United Nations”) to the planet Gethen (also known as Winter). He tries to convince the king of Karhide to join the Ekumen, but is rejected. Meanwhile, one of Genly’s friends in the kingdom is accused of treason and is forced to flee into a different kingdom. Genly decides to follow him and thinks that he could convince that Kingdom to join the Ekumen. They journey together, meet trouble, and are faced with many questions along the way. What really is friendship? Trust? Loyalty?
I kept reading this book because of the vivid descriptions and details throughout the book. Also, I really enjoyed thinking about the philosophical and psychological ideas that were presented out through the entire book. The characters were very intriguing, and by the time I finished the book, I felt like I really understood each of the characters. The tone is always somewhat somber, which really added to the effect while reading the book. I imagined myself following alongside the main characters in this snow-covered planet while the book progressed.
Overall, this book is a must-read for any Science Fiction fan. Even if you are not particularly interested in the Science Fiction genre, you should still definitely consider reading this book. This book does not “fit” the normal Sci-Fi stereotype of advanced technology fighting off aliens in the year 3XXX. Rather, it uses the genre of Sci-Fi as a means to tell a very compelling story that would make you consider the ideas brought up in this book. This book is no stranger to the spotlight—it has won many awards and is considered one of the most important and influential Sci-Fi novels ever written. Pick up this book today and enjoy!

–Matthew, grade 11, Lake City