I read Le Guin's fifth Earthsea novel when it first came out a decade ago, and loved it. It seemed like the perfect cap to a series that went from classic coming-of-age, hero-journey ([b:A Wizard of Earthsea|13642|A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1)|Ursula K. Le Guin|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1353424536s/13642.jpg|113603]) to the first epic fantasy I ever read in which the heroine was a woman dealing with the challenges of middle age ([b:Tehanu|13661|Tehanu (Earthsea Cycle, #4)|Ursula K. Le Guin|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1349048637s/13661.jpg|2902890]): a fantasy that looks unflinchingly at "the next great adventure" — death.
Reading it again, I loved it even more. The story does center on death — the central crisis springs from the dreams of a village sorcerer who is dreaming that the wall to the land of the dead is breaking down. But what struck me this time through was how that theme of death is set in the middle of life: family problems, children growing, courtship. It's a wonderfully hopeful, positive view of the relationship between life and its opposite.
Oh. And it's a great story. That too!