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The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising…
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The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising Sequence) (original 1973; edition 1999)

by Susan Cooper

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5,274154838 (4.14)1 / 502
Member:jglass
Title:The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising Sequence)
Authors:Susan Cooper
Info:Margaret K. McElderry Books (1999), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 232 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper (1973)

  1. 61
    The Owl Service by Alan Garner (klarusu)
    klarusu: Similar atmosphere - dark Welsh mythology and a teenage protagonist in The Owl Service
  2. 20
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    Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay (Yarrow)
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    The Silver Crown by Robert C. O'Brien (ncgraham)
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    The Box of Delights by John Masefield (souloftherose)
    souloftherose: Although The Box of Delights was written in 1935 and The Dark is Rising was written in the 1970s, both books have a similar sense of magic, mystery and menace running through them. Both are part of series but can be read without having read the earlier books in the series.… (more)
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English (150)  French (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (154)
Showing 1-5 of 150 (next | show all)
just started it and can't get into it - seems to be targeting a young audience but feels too dark for that ( )
  jason9292 | Jul 16, 2014 |
Hmmmm. I would love to have read this about 30 years ago; I think I needed to come to it younger. It makes me want to re-read Prydain, which I did read long long ago!
  MelissaZD | Jan 1, 2014 |
As I said in my review of the first book in this series, Over Sea, Under Stone, it's been so long since I've read this book that a lot of my first impressions of it have changed quite drastically since the first time I read it. And yet, perhaps that's mostly because a change of the way I see things? Still, I don't think I'd be fair if I said that all of my first impressions changed. *Smiles* There are still very many things about The Dark is Rising that have stayed the same for me. So, let's begin with that.

I think what most surprised me about The Dark is Rising over it's prequel, Over Sea, Under Stone, is the drastic shift we have in mood between the two books. The first book reads like an adventure! Thrilling because it's everyday people in an everyday life, doing everyday things that are all tied into something so old and timeless that it could almost be called "magical." It's a story of children being wrapped up in the present day quest for knowledge and artifacts from the days of King Arthur, and there's little to no actual "magic" present. It's a normal book, with a normal beginning, and though many gut-wrenching and anxiety provoking things happen throughout the story as you face each new challenge and "the bad guys," it's still a book that can be considered mostly Fiction. Or perhaps even Historical Fiction.

But when we take a turn into The Dark is Rising, the second book in the series, everything is different. From the very first page you get an eerie sense that there's a power... threatening, looming, dangerous... that's hovering just above you, right behind you, waiting to catch you up when you least expect it. From the very start: all the things that you've known that were normal... are not normal. Strange things, almost frightening things are changing the actions of animals, of Nature all around you. All. Around. You. New knowledge is coming to light in your own family that was never brought up before now... and the effect it has on you is an intimidation that makes you fear what will happen next. You're scared. Things aren't as they should be.

And you have no control over any of it.

In fact, I believe that's the very theme and continual mood throughout the entirety of The Dark is Rising (the book, not the series). Things are happening--not all around you as you might expect, but to you. And you have no choice but to be involved. You're trapped. You're caught. You cannot go back on this, because you're never once given the choice to. You have to just keep moving forward. And that's almost frightening. Imagine... that one scene early on in the book, when you wake up in your house and you look out your window... and nothing you usually see is there. Just a silent, huge forest... leading on into eternity with no possible end. No people. No one. And when you go through your house to check in on your family, everyone's in a sleep you can't wake them from. No yelling... no shaking... nothing will wake them. So you do the only thing you can do: you go outside, where there is one... single... path. And you walk down it. Knowing, knowing... that once you set foot on that path, if you were to stop and turn around now... you would not find your home there at all.

So many scenes like this happen throughout this book. They all come in a myriad of different ways! Different settings, different challenges interwoven, but nothing of what you know is there. Always, always to do what you need to do, you need to be separated from yourself as you knew you, from your life, your family, your friends, your world... to do what is demanded of you. It's a thrilling, incredible concept.

And it all happens to an 11 year old boy by the name of Will Stanton.

Could you, or I, if we were in his shoes, be so strong? So determined? Able at all to do the things he does? Or would we crumble? Would we fail?

That's the amazing thing about this book. And while for the biggest part of my experience, I found myself almost offended by how different this book was from the first, when I came to the end... I was... at peace somehow. Does it make sense? Maybe not so much as you might think. Maybe it makes only too much sense. Maybe it's just that I've grown past the age of a child now, where I can accept things without questioning them. Or, if I question them, it's with my experience coloring it, dulling it from the purer and keener queries of children. But that's the amazing part... You almost don't find a sense of self in this book, inasmuch as you find... a need--of tasks needing to be done, and you, you being the only one able to do them; having no choice but to do them.

For all that that might throw off a lot of its readers, it's a talent that nearly no one... can work with such flawless expertise. The very fact that Susan Cooper can write two books--as a part of the same series, one following right after the other--that are 100% different, that share almost nothing with each other except for one character and one small mention--not even by name--of the last book, is astounding! Where do you FIND authors that can do that now?! Who can accomplish such a feeling of estrangement and duty all wrapped into one piece?! It's the very epitome of talent! It's incredible, because it is so magnificently done. Anyone that can go from the first book to this one and see the range, see the capabilities of this authoress will know: she's amazing. Because so few today can write like her. And much fewer can accomplish the mood and feelings she evokes in you, as wholly and beautifully as she does.

Is she the best author in the world? I doubt there even is such a thing. But she has profound talent, and she has a way of carrying a story so that it's unusual, it's strange, and it calls to you--it brings you in. That in itself is worth the time of reading.

If you've not heard of this series before, begin it with Over Sea, Under Stone. And for those of you who might be a little off-put by the difference between the first book and this one: never fear, and don't throw the series aside. The first two books were drastically different from one another, but they intermingle in the end to create a more potent and awesome story. That's what first drew me in by this unusual series: the fact that it wasn't your everyday "Good versus Evil" babble. This is different. Give it a chance: all the way to the end. It's great for variety, but it's also great in its own right. At the very least, it deserves a shot, for being unique and unlike any other story I personally had and have read that falls under such a complex theme. Good versus Evil, Light versus Dark... a tale of King Arthur... a story rich with folklore you never hear about.

So, what are you waiting for? I'll meet you all in Greenwitch, book three. ( )
  N.T.Embe | Dec 31, 2013 |
This book has maybe one of my favourite ways of looking at England, the country and people:

"He saw one race after another come attacking his island country, bringing each time the malevolence of the Dark with them, wave after wave of ships rushing inexorably at the shores. Each wave of men in turn grew peaceful as it grew to know and love the land, so that the Light flourished again."

It doesn't quite work, I think: there's the issue of colonialism, which was arguably wave after wave of the Dark coming out of our island (and the English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish have never yet sat perfectly comfortably together, there's still colonialism at work there). And there's, well, the BNP and the EDL, etc. But recognising that that is Britain's identity -- our genetic makeup, our language, our history -- is something a lot of people forget. We can't say "get out, foreigners"; most of us have ancestors from elsewhere, somewhere along the family tree.

I've loved The Dark is Rising a long time, so I doubt there's anything new or critical I can say about it as a whole, but each time these small fragments of the narrative catch at me and make me think about them as I haven't before. That was one of them; there are other snippets, like Will's sudden understanding of the difference between a child's fear and an adult's fear (made up of understanding and care for others).

The Dark is Rising is, I think, one of those books that have a number of layers, and more so through each book. There's a simple layer of plot, and then there's all sorts of other stuff about understanding feelings and fears, and if you watch for it, some moral ambivalence. We're seeing this world through Will, essentially, and he's one of the Old Ones but he's also a young boy, and in his horror at what Merriman has done to Hawkin, you can see a subtlety of dealing with the things the Light has done. And then Merriman turns around and shows his human face too, and just -- I might, to some extent, be too willing to give these books wiggle room. Too willing to bring my own needs to the table and see the book in those terms. But I think that stuff is there -- particularly as it comes up more in the person of John Rowlands in The Grey King and Silver on the Tree. ( )
2 vote shanaqui | Dec 22, 2013 |
I think that if I were more knowledgeable about the mythology that Cooper is drawing upon for the world she has created, I would have enjoyed this more. I'm familiar with the Greeks, but only just barely acquainted with the more well-known characters from other traditions. I didn't find the characters to be particularly well drawn or compelling and the conflicts had little real tension. Will seemed to only passively move from one miniquest to the next, and nobody ever seemed to be in any actual danger. The Dark simply had no teeth. But there is a love of language that leavens the dullness of plot and characterization. The world created is beautifully described; it only needed a good story to go with it.I still plan to read the entire series, though. The frustration I felt at the age of eleven with a book I couldn't understand is still with me. I'm determined to read it again in context and finally put those questions to rest. ( )
  PortM | Nov 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 150 (next | show all)
Susan Cooper meant, I think, to write an entertainment, not much more than that. She has succeeded. "The Dark is Rising" affords thunderous good fun.
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Cooperprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cober, Alan E.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jennings, AlexNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pekkanen, PanuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rikman, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westrup, Jadwiga P.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Jonathan
First words
"Too many!" James shouted, and slammed the door behind him.
Quotations
When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back;
Three from the circle, three from the track;
Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone;
Five will return, and one go alone.

Iron for the birthday, bronze carried long;
Wood from the burning, stone out of song;
Fire in the candle-ring, water from the thaw;
Six Signs the circle, and the grail gone before.

Fire on the mountain shall find the harp of gold
Played to wake the Sleepers, oldest of the old;
Power from the green witch, lost beneath the sea;
All shall find the light at last, silver on the tree.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This LT work, The Dark Is Rising, is Book 2 (of 5 Books) in Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising Sequence. Please distinguish it from other single titles in the series, and from any combination(s) of part or all of the series. Thank you.
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Book description
AR 6.2, Pts 13
Haiku summary
Midwinter terror,
Seventh son of seventh son
Is a young Old One.
(SylviaC)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0689710879, Mass Market Paperback)

"When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back,
Three from the circle, three from the track;
Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone;
Five will return, and one go alone."
With these mysterious words, Will Stanton discovers on his 11th birthday that he is no mere boy. He is the Sign-Seeker, last of the immortal Old Ones, destined to battle the powers of evil that trouble the land. His task is monumental: he must find and guard the six great Signs of the Light, which, when joined, will create a force strong enough to match and perhaps overcome that of the Dark. Embarking on this endeavor is dangerous as well as deeply rewarding; Will must work within a continuum of time and space much broader than he ever imagined.

Susan Cooper, in her five-title Dark Is Rising sequence, creates a world where the conflict between good and evil reaches epic proportions. She ranks with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien in her ability to deliver a moral vision in the context of breathtaking adventure. No one can stop at just one of her thrilling fantasy novels. Among many other prestigious awards, The Dark Is Rising is a Newbery Honor Book and a Carnegie Medal Honor Book. (Ages 8 and older) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:31 -0400)

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"A Margaret K. McElderry Book."

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