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Although Susan Cooper has been resident for some years now in the USA all five books are firmly rooted in Britain of the A dstinctive feature of this series of five children's books is that there are two distinctive groups of view point characters. Increasingly the childrens' plunge into magic and mystery angles into Arthurian legend. Recommended for youngsters, it is the kind of series that can grow with the reader as the books become more complex as they progress.
Jun 06, Andy rated it it was amazing Shelves: If I recall correctly I reread all of these just a few years ago Susan Cooper does not make so noticeable a shift in dumbing down the language or sentence structure for young readers, which I like a lot. It's a fantasy-ish story, but set in, well, what would have been current day for Susan Cooper at the time of writing it. It is difficult to review all of these books at once, because some are better than others, and they even feature different protagonists all related to the same storyline in some cases. But right now I'm having a difficult time expressing why they were my favorites as a kid, except perhaps that they captured, in exactly the way I needed them to at the time, the recurring theme in children's literature of finding an extraordinary purpose in your life at that stage of introduction to adolescence Harry Potter does this probably most famously these days, but The Dark is Rising series has a more archaic, or perhaps more classical, feel to the story, characters, and writing.
Sep 15, Shmarya rated it did not like it. I first read these books about twenty years ago, when I was just 9 years old. I subsequently forgot about them, although certain images and scenes have been rumbling around in my head for the better part of a decade. These scenes had managed to imprint themselves very deeply, so that long after the name of the author and the titles of the books were forgotten, I kept coming back to these flashes. Recently I managed to get someone to identify the story on the scifi stackexchange.
I immediately pu I first read these books about twenty years ago, when I was just 9 years old. I immediately purchased this box set and read through all five books in about two days time.
The Dark Is Rising Sequence - Wikipedia
Needless to say, I was sorely disappointed. The books are terrible. I know that at least two of them are Newberry award winners, but I really found them unbearably difficult to read. In fact, I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to slog through at the age of nine.
The books tell of an ancient and ongoing battle between the Light and the Dark, with champions on either side striving to take control of the earth and humanity. Arthurian legend is Heavily recycled. There are objects of power, Edith Blyton type children running about on quests, and seemingly all-powerful beings who nevertheless are always just one step behind the enemy. The storyline is just barely clear. The characters are extremely flat. Substantial explanation and pontificating on the part of a narrator.
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At no point toes one actually feel that the characters actually worked through a problem. The answer is always just suddenly clear, or someone swoops in to save the day. I found it almost impossible to relate to them. I would probably not recommend these to my nine-year-old self. Better to get an early start on true epic fantasy from Jordan, Rothfuss and Sanderson.
A series I have enjoyed for many years. It is a children's book, so not for everyone. To understand the whole you obviously need to read all the books. However, I would suggest starting with the second book The Dark is Rising same name as the whole. My favorite in the series, and the first I read, was The Grey King. I did not feel that I suffered for doing so, in fact maybe it was why I liked the entire series.
I missed them in my own childhood. The first Over Sea, Under Stone must have seen the light of day in the early seventies, and by then I was seventeen or eighteen and had read The Lord of the Rings several times, as well as a huge range of science fantasy for adults. But had I been ten when it was first printed, I would have loved it.
I would have loved it because I was a sucker for anything with magic in it. Now, going back, I worry about that a bit, because some of the things I loved were neither well-written nor well-conceived. At the age of nearly fifty-nine I wonder whether some adult influence might have introduced me to the mysteries of science, rather than science fiction. But the imagination was my master, and to some extent that continues to be true. I imagine that anyone who read this sequence, and loved it, at the right age would battle to the death on its behalf.
Even at my age, I can witness to the fact that the pace is compelling, that the style is slick and convincing, that there is at least one strong female character thank goodness. Not quite so sure about Jane. And beneath the High Magic are two. No other power orders them. The Dark seeks by its dark nature to influence men so that in the end, through them, it may control the earth.
The Light has the task of stopping that from happening.
The Dark Is Rising Sequence
There are bits of prophetic poetry here and there, from which the favourable outcomes can always be predicted. Children pitched against villains and defeating them. Children with insight that adults do not have. And lots of mystical language and allusion. In two of the novels, Welsh names and terms are particularly evocative. I think, of the five novels, the title novel — The Dark is Rising — which is where Will Stanton comes into his own, is the strongest.
It is set at Christmas, in England, and the Dark invokes mammoth snow among other things and the pace is wonderful. But all the five books are readable, enjoyable, do that thing, whatever it is, create a spell. By no means a comprehensive list, of course. On balance, I think Lewis is strengthened by being able to draw on one consistent myth — the Christian story, in which he believed, though many of his readers may not.
Tolkien is head and shoulders above the rest, to me, because he creates a whole world of his own, in a way that has never been paralleled but then I would say this, because I have been his slave since I was about ten years old. Rowlings scrapes up scraps and remoulds them, and they are scraps that work again and again: Masefield invokes Herne the Hunter too, but also history and poetry and dream. When the Dark creeps up, so does a feeling of imminent malevolence. It takes over everything. But when I was the age to have enjoyed them, I am sure they would have had me riveted.
Oct 09, Shane Hoover rated it it was amazing. I can look back over more than 20 years of an insatiable hunger for the written word, and in the misty distance shine these books that started it all for me. That's not to say I didn't read before Susan Cooper, but I had never been so emotionally tethered to a story. In the person of Will Stanton, and his suddenly fierce friendship with Bran Davies, there remain to this day notes that resonate for me.
Together they and the Drew kids endure courage and fear, loss and triumph, horror and beauty. Every day I spent as a boy reading these pages was filled with a wonder and a desire for the world to be as magical and mysterious as Will's world. And when the story drew to a close, I remember vividly the very real loneliness of knowing that I would never again follow these friends into a new story.
But there was delight, too, from a truly wonderful story never to be forgotten. My own years go by and too many things change, but I still come back to these stories again, over and over.
I've read them aloud to my first child. I can't wait to read them aloud again to my two younger children, as much to revisit the fictional friends who anchor me to the wonder and magic of youth as to share that magic with my daughters and son. I just finished the final book in the series the other day, and it was pretty great. As a whole, Cooper's The Dark is Rising series was well written, and the stories flowed from one to the other without being too repetitive.
I really enjoyed jumping right in to each book, and they went by pretty fast. While it is definitely a series for a younger audience, I was impressed by how intricately it went into the different Arthurian legends and such. I loved the character of Will, how he was able to b I just finished the final book in the series the other day, and it was pretty great.
I loved the character of Will, how he was able to be both a young boy and this ageless being at once. He was very well rounded and likeable. But I think Barney was my favorite character by far. So cheeky and sweet. I must admit though that I didn't like one part of the ending, and while I'm sure Cooper had her reasons, I didn't want the characters to forget. If you want to understand that, read the books. This is probably my favourite series of books of all time.
Over Sea Under Stone is aimed at the youngest audience of the five books, but it's still readable and the prose is lovely. The characters are instantly recognisable as children, rather than the mini-adults some writers make children, and they're easy to identify with. If nothing else, you have to be charmed by Barney. There's real suspense in this book: More detailed review here: The Dark Is Rising, the second book, seems to be for a bit older audience.
It constantly amazes me how well even minor characters, like Paul Stanton, are developed. Will Stanton is both human and alien -- as he should be. His coming of age rings very true: I have a more detailed review here: Greenwitch is the shortest book. It's the one I think of as focusing more on Jane -- I got to care about her more in this one. Again, the characters are amazingly believable, and there's real tension and suspense.
The Grey King is lovely. It introduces the final member of the Six, Bran Davies. It's also set in Wales, which naturally endears it to me. The characters in this book are all believable and spectacular. And the very end, where Owen and Bran stand together, brings a lump to my throat every time. Silver On The Tree is the final book. Everything comes together here. More tension, more glorious characters -- and a wonderful ending that kinda makes me want to kill Susan Cooper for what she's done to some of my favourite characters.
The background mythology is extremely interesting and drawn from all parts of the UK. The movie stripped all of this away, among other things, so I boycotted it. Sorry my html wasn't working; the links would've looked more elegant Feb 26, Emily rated it really liked it. I'm sure most of you friends who might end up reading this review have already read this series, but for anyone who hasn't, these books are the pre-Potter classics that may have really sparked J. So Shelly Radmall and I were talking about being Anglophiles when we were chatting last at a girls' night out.
I asked her if she'd read these books as I'm sure most of you friends who might end up reading this review have already read this series, but for anyone who hasn't, these books are the pre-Potter classics that may have really sparked J. I asked her if she'd read these books as they definitely satiate an English and Welsh appetite for all things classic regarding: She said she wanted me to post this series so she could check it out. So, there they are! I can't wait to share these with Rees in four or five years.
They are so well-written, they really should be considered adult literature, but they're usually branded for kids as the main characters are children, though they are pretty mature and intellectual kids Aug 02, Erin Reilly-Sanders rated it it was ok Shelves: After hearing a lot about this series, I was very disappointed in how pedestrian it was. Perhaps the rest of the series is better, but this one was very formulaic and not especially exciting. Following along with C. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, it all starts on a rainy day with a bunch of British kids bored and playing in a big house.
They start their adventure by finding an attic behind a wardrobe rather than actually in it. At one point, the dark side attempts to seduce one After hearing a lot about this series, I was very disappointed in how pedestrian it was. At one point, the dark side attempts to seduce one of the children but of course the kid doesn't give in. It sort of just follows a lot of the plot elements without the fantastical magical stuff and the moral dilemma that adds depth. As far as fantasy goes, the magical content is so low that it's nearly not existent, being confined to a couple mysterious occurrences such as a dog howling weirdly and a hypnotic voice.
The link to Arthurian tales seems week, just some sort of excuse for a back-story and a Peggy Parish style kids mystery. May 12, Melora rated it liked it Shelves: I think I loved this when I read it at the proper age -- 12 or so, I suppose. I know I read the series, and still have all of them. Almost 40 years later, though, it appeals to me much less. The presentation of the "old ones," the Light vs the Dark, etc. Long on mythic symbols and swirling mists and short on compelling story.
My kids seemed to enjoy it, though I read it aloud. Actually, my son particularly enjoyed Will's nearly instant acceptance of his I think I loved this when I read it at the proper age -- 12 or so, I suppose. Actually, my son particularly enjoyed Will's nearly instant acceptance of his role. Bumped my rating up from 2 stars to three because I'm so far beyond the intended audience age group, but, as I said, if I'd rated this when I first read it I imagine I'd have given it a 4 or 5. View all 8 comments. Long before there was Harry Potter, there was Will Stanton. Again, my aunt Michele who is probably barely talking to me just now, apologies again was the wonderful person who gave me this book.
She gave it to me for my 11th birthday, and someone else gave me scented pillows, and I can still smell those pillows everytime I opened the book. Sadly, my copy has finally disintegrated, so I shall have to replace it again before Christmas of this year. This book is wonderful - magic, mystery, great bad Long before there was Harry Potter, there was Will Stanton. This book is wonderful - magic, mystery, great baddies who would win - The Dark Rider v Voldemort and a series of books that enthral me even now.
If you like Harry Potter - you will love this. Jan 24, Winddancer rated it it was amazing.
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My all time favorite fantasy series. I make a point to re-read this series every year to drink in Cooper's enlivening of old Celtic myths twined through an eleven-year-old protagonist. Her prose is seamless, her story compelling. If you like fantasy that's about the characters yet still gives you an aura of magic, I dare you to put this series down.