A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
All the important elements of a good fantasy novel are here: a quest, a friend to help, a dragon to battle, magic to learn and to use when needed, and an intricately created world with its own mythology, geography and history. The writing in this book is clear and crisp and the depth and complexity of the world that Le Guin creates is stunning given how slight the novel is.
This novel was reviewed in The Guardian as a classic-of-the-month and the review made several good points, especially about the writing and the comparison to Tolkein.
I look forward to reading more of Le Guin's work.