A very good book, although different from the previous Earthsea books (which is understandable given that it was written nearly twenty years after the The Farthest Shore). Le Guin takes a low magic, low action look at life in the world of Earthsea in this novel, but the issues she explores - the search for self-identity, the nature of power, the innate differences between the genders, and overcoming victimization, among others - are not hampered by a the lack of fight scenes and magic spells. Although many commentators have mentioned the feminist politics of this book, in a way Le Guin refutes the utopian tropes of much feminist fiction in the same way she turns fantasy tropes on their heads. This book takes a realist's look at gender politics, and doesn't shy away from the ugliness it finds there, while at the same time remaining at heart a tale of hope, growth, and redemption.
And a dragon eats someone at the end. I liked that part, too.