|Isn't that a sweet cover?|
GIFTS is one of my favorite YA fantasy novels. It's got this fantastic Scottish flavor to it, and this fantastic U.K. Le Guin flavor to it, mixed together with a powerfully real magic system, intrigue, and compelling, human characters.
The thing I really like about Ursula K. Le Guin is that she can tell a story beautifully, but it doesn't sound like a modern sort of beautiful. For example, in her book, A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA, she told the story in almost an archaic style, omniscient and stunningly lyrical. Yet, it was still engaging, powerful.
GIFTS has the same engaging-ness. The voice of the narrator, a boy born to one of the Gift-wielding clans, is spot on perfect, as are the voices of the other characters in the novel.
As far as I can remember from when I read it, GIFTS is clean. While there is some warring between Highland clans, Ms. Le Guin handles it very well - the violence is realistic (nobody enjoys it and people actually die) but at the same time, it's not graphic and yucky.
Overall, I'd recommend this book for the cool Gifts, as well as the characters, the beautiful setting, and Ursula K. Le Guin's fantastic wordcraft.
Read it. You'll like it. And there are two books that follow this one... I haven't read them yet, but I'm looking forward to finding them and reading them too. :) And go see this review, because I think it nailed the feel of the book quite nicely.