I found the trilogy in one volume at the Barnes and Noble on Westwood at Pico, and bought one copy. (As a sociological comment -- I don't mourn for the days of the small bookseller, though I do miss Lydia Marano and Arthur Cover's Dangerous Visions store. The sociological function small bookstores served has been replaced by social networking, and their limited ability to carry titles meant books faded away forever ... Riddle Master is in print because there are bookstores with enough shelf-space to accomodate a 30-year old fantasy, and websites like Amazon.com to supply people who can't or won't go into one of the big B&Ms.)
I'm midway through the 2nd book, "Heir of Sea and Fire" -- and I'm wondering if I have read this more recently than when it came out, because though early in the first book I didn't remember much, by the time I got to the end of it, and very strongly in the 2nd volume, I'm remembering scenes as I read them. I still have no idea how it's going to end, though there's a scene where Raederle chases a shapechanger upcoming, and I do remember who the shapechanger is ...
Based on where I am right now, this makes it into the list of great fantasies appropriate for kids. I know my daughters will love it, if they're not too burned out by Harry Potter at the moment.
The list now stands at (more or less in order of ascending order of quality):
Chronicles of Narnia
The Dark Is Rising - Riddle Master
A Wizard of Earthsea (trilogy)
The Lord of the Rings
If I were taking a kid through them in order, I'd probably stick Potter after Earthsea -- just for length. It's a hard series for younger kids to get through. (If JK Rowling's publishers want to make another billion, an abridged Potter would do it....)
The value of revision -- that whole passage in the post below concerning Hungarian notation? Nearly pointless. It was supposed to show the difference between core and non-core and peripheral elements of a given discipline; instead it's 500 meandering words with a not very funny joke at the end. Almost all of it could be trimmed without taking a thing from the larger post.