Your Garage Summer Reading Amazon Fashion Learn more nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Lacuna Coil Father's Day Gift Guide 2016 Fire TV Stick Grocery Father's Day Gifts Amazon Cash Back Offer LoveandFriendship LoveandFriendship LoveandFriendship  Amazon Echo  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Echo Dot  Amazon Tap  Amazon Echo Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis UniOrlando Outdoor Recreation SnS

Format: Paperback|Change
Price:$7.44+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

I read this series as a child and I remember having a little difficulty with it at the time. Certainly the books in the series "The Dark Is Rising" are excellent, but they are often prone to long lengthy descriptions that ably bore initially interested children. In this particular case, I suspect I skimmed long sections of this book when I grew bored of its long descriptive passages. The books themselves are complex. It did not surprise me that the author, Susan Cooper studied under J.R.R. Tolkien (of "Lord of the Rings" fame), and I would hasten to add that she, far more than Phillip Pullman, is his current successor. She weaves British and Celtic myth within her stories, beautifully. This book itself is a good one, rare in its kind because the protagonist (your typical pre-adolescent who learns of great powers) has a happy home life and two parent household. I can think of almost no other fantasy series where this is the case. Usually if the child DOES have two parents, one is missing and must be rescued. Not so here. Will has his own adventures and, at the same time, people he cares about who care for him. In this book there is no bully to be defeated or difficulties at school. The Dark and Light characters are well drawn and there is a depth to each and every character that I appreciate. On the whole, I would recommend these books to those kids who are adept readers. Definitely the child who has single-handedly finished a "Lord of the Rings" book will zip through this series with few problems. Harry Potter fans may also wish to graduate to a higher level with this story. Readers may wish to start with the first book in this series, "Over Sea, Under Stone", before moving on to "The Dark Is Rising".
0Comment|96 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Susan Cooper has yet to equal "The Dark is Rising," the second book of her classic Dark is Rising Sequence. Independent of the first book "Over Sea Under Stone," this is also darker, more magical, more intense, and one of the most beautifully written fantasy novels in existance.

Will Stanton is an ordinary boy, until his Midwinter eleventh birthday. On that day, he ventures out into a seemingly changed world. There, he encounters a sinister Dark Rider, then a beautiful white horse that leads him to a hidden place, where he finds two of the Old Ones -- the mysterious Lady and Merriman Lyon, one of the stars of the previous book. The Old Ones are immortal, powerful, wise, and it turns out that Will is the last one born.

And as an astonishingly cold winter settles over England, Will is taught some of the ways of the Old Ones, who fight the Dark (forces of evil, like the Dark Rider). He has one of the signs of power, but must get them all: Iron, Bronze, Stone, Wood, Fire and Water. And he must contend with the Dark Rider, his own failings, and a mysterious stranger whose future is inextricably entwined with his...

Susan Cooper is at her peak here. Will Stanton's adventures have a sense of unreal mystery and magic about them, where the slightest actions can have significance, time is easily manipulated, and two kinds of reality intersect. Welsh mythos and legend is interwoven more deeply here, including hints of the Arthurian tilt that was featured more prominently in "Over Sea, Under Stone." At the same time, Cooper accurately displays a more human side of Will, the side that is deeply attached to his family and home.

Her writing also becomes much more detailed here. In her first Dark is Rising novel, Cooper's writing was relatively spare and lacking in detail. Here, she more than makes up for it with intricate details about the halls of the Old Ones, the bustling farmhouse, and the eerie woods where the Walker wanders.

Nowhere to be found is the British-kids-on-holiday atmosphere. It's replaced by an warm atmosphere, and one of shocking, powerful magic. This isn't magic infringing on our world, but rather Will stepping from one to another. Her dialogue is more believable, even the little old lady bleating about the snowstorm; and Will tends to think, act, and talk like an eleven-year-old boy who is aged before his time.

Will himself is an astonishingly three-dimensional character: he flips between being a smart, quiet eleven-year-old to being an Old One, with all the power that suggests. This transition is not one that is handled lightly, as he gradually loses his innocent, boyish outlook and learns more about the battle between evil and good. Merriman Lyon is a more majestic character than in "Over Sea, Under Stone," and the reader gets a saddening view of the sacrifices he's had to make for his battle against the Dark.

Susan Cooper does an astonishing job with "The Dark is Rising," a spellbinding fantasy that secured the Dark is Rising Sequence as a classic. Truly an entrancing, magical novel.
0Comment|77 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 27, 1999
The Dark Is Rising sequence is an absolutely wonderful collection of books! I first read them when I was in about the 5th grade, and loved them then. I checked them out again at the library this year, in my eighth grade year, and fell in love with them all over again. I loved the way that Susan Cooper based the book on Celtic and English legends and stories, and I think that that gave the books a lot of life. After I read these books, I wanted to be an Old One. I seriously did, and after I realized that that probably wasn't going to happen, I decided that I could just keep the Light inside of me and help people out. I know, I know, I sound ridiculous, but some books just affect me in a way, and this sequence did. These are classic good against bad books, with a different twist that makes them unique.
11 comment|31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 7, 2006
Only the last book of the series includes all six of its main characters. This book introduces the fifth of the six, Will Stanton, to Merriman; the Drews from OVER SEA, UNDER STONE don't return until GREENWITCH, nor do the consequences of the events of their first quest begin coming home to roost until then. Like every book of this series, THE DARK IS RISING is a stand-alone work as well as part of the greater story, and opens in such a way that the viewpoint character - however much knowledge he may possess when fully conscious of his role in the ongoing conflict - provides an "everyman" viewpoint, that at once serves to illustrate the contrast between the surface of present day reality and the magical depths of the ancient war between the Light and the Dark, and to bring the reader up to speed with the story so far.

Will, like the Drews, is very young and at first completely ignorant of the great struggle between the Light and the Dark, though his position in that ancient warfare and the quest he must achieve in this story are quite different from theirs. On the face of things, he is even less connected with the magical world than they, as the youngest child of a large Buckinghamshire family without any arcane scholars in the family tree. But on the Midwinter's Eve on which this story opens, Will notices that strange things are beginning to happen around him: radios give off huge bursts of static when he passes by, and animals behave unusually. Worst of all, when he and his brother witness a bizarre attack by birds on a strange tramp, Will finds that his brother's memory of the incident has been completely wiped away almost as soon as it happened.

Only the next day - Will's eleventh birthday, Midwinter Day - does Will begin to learn of the burden he must bear for the rest of his life, when he wakes to a silent house caught out of present time into a century when the great royal forest of Anderida covered the land, and he meets for the first time Merriman, the eldest of the Old Ones - ageless, as much a creature of magic as a man, committed utterly to the ancient conflict between the Light and the Dark.

"It is a burden. Make no mistake about that. Any great gift or power or talent is a burden, and this more than any, and you will often long to be free of it. But there is nothing to be done. If you were born with the gift, then you must serve it, and nothing in this world or out of it may stand in the way of that service, because that is why you were born and that is the law."

For on this his eleventh birthday, Will has come into his full power as the youngest of the Old Ones, and until he has been given the gift of Gramarye - the learning needed to control his power - and achieved his first quest, the forces of the Dark, now at the Midwinter peak of their power, will exert themselves to the full to prevent Will from taking his place in the circle of the Old Ones who protect the world from the great lords of the Dark and joining the circle of the six great Signs of Power, hidden and scattered until the circle of the Old Ones should be complete.

The tone of this book distinctly differs from that of OVER SEA, UNDER STONE once the story is well under way, because Will's responsibilities mean that he is eventually far more intimately aware of the war between Light and Dark than ordinary people like the Drews would ever normally be. Will isn't inhumanly dedicated, either - he learns several sharp lessons through bitter experience of what can happen if he uses his power lightly, or if a mortal is placed under more strain than he or she can bear, through trust by the Light, temptation by the Dark, or outright attack. In the process, we learn of some of the heartbreak that has shaped Merriman's life through the centuries.

THE DARK IS RISING, more than any of the other books until SILVER ON THE TREE, shows us the terrible cold strength of the Dark, and their subtlety. The much longed-for heavy snowfall that greeted Will as the first of his birthday gifts turns into a crisis as the snow keeps falling, bringing down powerlines, cutting off ordinary communication and transportation, putting the Old Ones under stress as those they care for are endangered. At the same time, we see the cheerful pluck of the villagers of Will's hometown pulling together under stress, as well as the crowded Christmas cheer at the Stantons' household - homely mortal warmth as well as otherworldly delights such as riding a horse with magical ease, passing through a Victorian Christmas party, and learning to wield magic.

It's made very clear that despite his powers, Will still has the tastes and outlook of an ordinary kid from a large loving family, and takes great trouble to protect his private life from the effects of his magical role. Although he eventually has more than mortal knowledge, Will's viewpoint is still close enough to that of an ordinary person that he can act effectively as intermediary for the reader.

I recommend the unabridged audio edition read by Alex Jennings; in addition using his voice and command of accents well to differentiate the characters, he remains in character without ever making winking asides to the listener, despite the occasional straight-faced immature behaviour of some of the younger Stantons.
0Comment|15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 1, 2000
If your child loves fantasy, romance and magic this series is a MUST! It has probably been about 20 years since I finished the series and I can still quote parts verbatim. I had to wait for Ms. Cooper to finish each book before I could read it - buy your kid the full series now!
0Comment|13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 15, 2000
_The Dark is Rising_ is one of the best fantasy books written for middle readers. It is the second book of Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising Sequence. (_Over Sea, Under Stone_ is the first book, but the first two books can be read in interchangable order). The story is simple: Will Stanton discovers on his 11th birthday that he is the last of the Old Ones, immortal beings of the light dedicated to the ultimate defeat of the powers of evil. To grow into his full power as an Old One, Will must complete the quest of finding the six signs of the Light, which will push back this particular rising of the Dark.
The plot sounds rather generic for a fantasy book, but _The Dark is Rising_ stands out as one of the best. Why? First, the characters. Will's struggle to understand his new power is very real for the reader. He loses his innocence but he gains new friends, particularly his mentor Merriman. Merriman is the teacher we all wish to have--both a friend and a figure of respect. The figure of Hawkin is perhaps the most memorable and tragic. This is not a book that a reader forgets five minutes after completion. This book is also excellent because of the quality of the writing. Cooper has a deliciously evocative writing style that is well up to the task of describing the beauty and the pain of Will's coming-of-age.
No lover of fantasy should miss this Newbery Honor book and the rest of this series. The next book in the series is _Greenwitch_, but that should only be read after both _The Dark is Rising_ and _Over Sea, Under Stone_.
0Comment|15 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 27, 1999
The Dark Is Rising sequence is absolutely wonderful, and I couldn't put any of them down after I picked them up! I've read a lot of other reviews, and it seems to me that I feel the same way as many other people that have reviewed this book! After I finished the sequence, it left me breathless. I memorized the poem type thigs, you know, "When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back." and "On the day of the dead, when the world too dies" and still remember them to this day. I'd love Ms. Cooper to do another book about this same subject. I mean, Will had a humongus burden carring that by himself, and no one else remembering, well, except the other Old Ones, and I'd like to see a book in which Older Will comes back into the book along with everyone else to do something, who knows? I loved the books!
0Comment|27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Susan Cooper has yet to equal "The Dark is Rising," the second book of her classic Dark is Rising Sequence. Too bad the movie adaptation looks like a hollow "Harry Potter" ripoff.

That whole attitude betrays the beauty and spirit of her second "Dark is Rising Sequence" novel, which is independent of her the first book "Over Sea Under Stone." This book is deeper, darker, more dreamlike, more intense, and with an unlikely hero -- a stunning battle between good and evil.

Will Stanton is an ordinary boy, until his Midwinter eleventh birthday. On that day, he ventures out into a seemingly changed world, encounters a sinister Dark Rider, then a beautiful white horse that leads him to a hidden place. There he encounters the Old Ones -- the mysterious Lady and Merriman Lyon, who are immortal, powerful, wise, and the guardians of the world. And it turns out Will is one too.

And as an astonishingly cold winter settles over England, Will is taught some of the ways of the Old Ones, who fight the Dark (forces of evil, like the Dark Rider). He has one of the signs of power, but must get them all: Iron, Bronze, Stone, Wood, Fire and Water. And he must contend with the Dark Rider, his own failings, and a mysterious stranger whose future is inextricably entwined with his...

To put it simply, this is Susan Cooper at her peak -- she creates an amazing look at a world where where the mysterious and magical exist just a few feet from our homes and. The slighest actions have significance, time is easily manipulated, and there's a sprinkling of Welsh myth and Arthurian legend here and there -- particularly at the end.

Since her first book, Cooper also became a truly brilliant writer -- in "Over Sea Under Stone," her writing was rather spare, and reeked of E. Nesbit. Here, she more than makes up for it -- while the story is a straightforward quest, she complicates matters with a subplot about Merriman being forced to make a terrible sacrifice, and the Dark threatening Will's family. Sometimes being on the good guys' side isn't easy.

The book is also thick with atmosphere -- the shocking, icy presence of the Dark, the bustling farmhouse, the eerie woods where the Walker goes, and countless other situations. Cooper does sometimes get too detailed (I really don't care how you feed chickens) but her intricate writing is what brings the book to life: the howling blizzards, rings of black birds, the tainted merriness of a Christmas party, and a book of ancient magic that can't be read -- only experienced.

Will himself is an astonishingly three-dimensional character: at times he's a smart, quiet eleven-year-old, and sometimes he's an Old One with immense power and wisdom. This transition is not one that is handled lightly, as he gradually loses his innocent, boyish outlook. The person who guides him is Merriman Lyon, a majestic old man who has made some terrible choices in the past.

"The Dark is Rising" is a spellbinding classic fantasy, which fully reveals the good vs. evil battle that Cooper only hinted at before. Entrancing, intoxicatingly written, and always magical.
0Comment|7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 15, 1999
When I was a child, I soaked up Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, L'Engle...the classics. I was in my 30's when I found Susan Cooper's "Dark" series. I loved it - I think this battle of good vs. evil is true on some level in life today...Read this whole series and find yourself falling into an alternate reality not unlike the Perelandra series. And then read the Harry Potter series for a lighter moment. Have a great life!
0Comment|7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 15, 1999
I'm going to echo the words of so many other reviewers here, it doesn't matter how old one is, this is an excellent book. I first read it at 13 or 14..now so many years later I still feel the wonder that I did back then.
One of the best good vs. evil books ever written. Highly recommended for everyone.
0Comment|9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse