A Wizard of Earthsea

By Ursula Le Guin

One of the first fantasy novels to feature a protagonist of color, A Wizard of Earthsea narrates the coming-of-age of Ged, a young man who will become his world's most powerful wizard. Throughout the novel, he wrangles with challenges specific to his world (dragons, shadows, sorcerers) and with challenges common to ours (insecurity, powerlessness, alienation, fear, and regret). It's a book Margaret Atwood calls a meditation on power and "what it means to be alive."