In A Wizard of Earthsea, published in 1968, Ursula K Le Guin created one of literature’s most fully formed fantasy worlds.
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I really love this series. It's not a world I'd like to live in, but I love returning to it again and again, because these stories are so great. In a way, it's not really fair to compare the series to Tolkien's books, because they're so different, but then again, I guess you can compare different fantasy books, because they belong to the same genre.