Science fiction isn’t usually my favorite genre because world building typically outweighs the story telling, but with this book there was a perfect balance. It was originally written in the ’70s, but I could not tell at all because the writing style is timeless.
A big problem that sci-fi authors have with their novel is making sure their world(s) are developed. Le Guin developed her worlds extremely well and could even act as foil characters. With these two worlds, the author uses their differences to high light the subtle satire aimed at our real life Earth.
That was one of my favorite aspects about this book- how the two worlds that Shevek, the main character, visited were used to contrast each other. On one hand, Annarres is Utopian and at first sight appears to be perfect compared to the corrupted Urras. Urras on the other hand showcases a completely different government and living style than Annarres, which Shevek realizes may not be as bad as the people of Urras suggest.
My least favorite thing about this book was the pacing of the plot because it felt like I was waiting to know what the main conflict was in this story. The majority of the book is used to explain the worlds, then in the last half the author finally focuses more on moving the plot along. By the end of the book, there was very little resolution and it felt like the story needed to be continued.
After reading this novel, readers will think about their own country’s government with new curiosity. If you are looking for an eloquently written science fiction novel, definitely check out “The Dispossessed.”
If you enjoy this book,
check out other novels set in the same universe on Le Guin’s official website.