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The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising…

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

by Susan Cooper

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5,594165768 (4.14)1 / 540
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

Work details

The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper (1973)

  1. 61
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    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 (161)  French (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (165)
Showing 1-5 of 161 (next | show all)
I decided to revisit this book, the perfect book for Christmas. There are few that can match it for sheer atmosphere, whether it's the warmth of Will's big, boisterous family, or the strange, timeless, slightly formal ceremonies and rites of the Old Ones, resonant with history and folklore and the odd sadness that comes with Will gaining ancient knowledge and power but in some sense losing his childhood. Then there's the awesome chill of the Dark, the heavy falls of snow, the sinister Rider and the tragic Walker and the sly witch-girl, the siege in the manor house as the cold closes in, and, of course, the final ride and chase and wild hunt through the forests of Windsor and the skies of Twelfth Night as the rain dissolves the heaped banks of snow and the floods course over the frozen ground.

Perhaps Will is led through the plot to find the various Signs a bit too much by the hand or the nose. Perhaps he's a bit too passive and accepting, but there's something to be said for that, for a younger reader. Sometimes you want to be guided, shown the right way to pierce the mysteries and find the objects and become something more. It's a kind of comfort, and not one to be sneezed at at Christmas. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
I know someong who reads each day of this book in synchrony with Christmas. I can understand that.
Lovely balance of atmospheres - from gentle, loving family to powerful, dark and brooding.
I rather recommend this to anyone over the age of 12 - younger is there's a parent to hold their hand.

Bits of it had me scared - and I read it at 30 ( )
  Gary-Bonn | Oct 13, 2015 |
"Right after I finished Over Sea, Under Stone, I jumped into this second installment. I liked this one much more than the previous one, even though Cooper kept her writing style and ideas untouched: the incredibly well built suspense scenes, the darker tone spread all over the story. The introduction of Will Stanton and his family made the story a lot more attractive to me. Somehow, it was easier for me to picture the Stantons as a real family than the Drews. Maybe it was because the author took more time to describe the former, maybe I just connected more with them for they reminded me more of my own family when I was a kid: a gigantic human ball of mess.

This book, in my opinion, is the real beginning to the story Cooper wants to tell. The story is told under the point of view of a new character: Will Stanton, a ten year old boy, seventh son of a seventh son, part of a big messy family, brought up on a small town. The place where the story is acclimated is a huge contributor to the general cozy feeling it threw me into; besides it happening, mostly, near Christmas (snow!), Will lives in a very small town where everybody knows everybody. The author does an excellent job of describing every single small-town task Will and his brothers do the help their parents, their relationships with the neighbors, the architecture of the place and their strong religious beliefs. There are several scenes in churches; lots of songs are used all the time, with lightens the plot a little, being that it's mostly a very dense and dark story-line.

Regarding religion, this book is full of it; christian and even pagan rites of passage are popping up everywhere, even under the most innocent circumstances. When Will's birthday approaches, his family starts planning the celebration: ""'Double-ones tomorrow, Will,' said Mr Stanton from the head of the table. 'We should have some special kind of ceremony. A tribal rite.'"". His father didn't know how right he was. From the moment Will turns eleven, everything changes.

Strange dark events start happening to Will on a daily basis and he doesn't have a clue of who is causing them and why, until he is initiated into an ancient order: the Old Ones. Apparently, these are magical servants of the forces of Light who are locked in an eternal battle against the Dark and Will was predestined to be part of it. Usually, I don't like the ""chosen one"" factor, but for this series I made an exception. You know, I read it during the winter, covered in blankets, drinking tea. I was just not ready to give up on a story full of snow and old churches; I really have a soft spot for cold weather and old things. Besides, there was just too many questions hanging at the back of my mind for me to just throw the book away. Cooper is a genius when it comes to building up suspense, and when I say suspense, I mean real, logical suspense, not that nonsensical suspense that you see on cheap horror movies. As if it wasn't enough, she throws into the story other elements that kept me glued, like time travel and treasure hunt. Just too much to give up on, as I said.

All things considered, I loved the whole thing. The story, at times, felt like a silly magical fantasy; at other times, though, it got serious and I got to read about, albeit fictional, very realistic and well depicted ceremonial rites of passage, which transported the whole story to a level completely different from fantasy books aimed for children that I had read to that point. I'm only taking out a star from this book for, here, Cooper showed, again, a lack of skill for writing battle scenes. Seriously, it gets to my nerves how an author can be that good at writing a coherent story with suspense scenes prone to giving you a heart attack and then turn important physical confrontations into such dull affairs.

Interesting quotes that I didn't include in the review:
All the broad sky was grey, full of more snow that refused to fall. There was no colour anywhere.
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 long to be free of it.

The Last Passage
As he looked down the road still, with the music singing in his ears, Will saw that out beyond Merriman the trees and the mist and the stretch of the road were shaking, shivering, in a way that he knew well. And then gradually, out there, he saw the great Doors take shape. There they stood, as he had seen them on the open hillside and in the Manor: the tall carved doors that led out of Time, standing alone and upright in the Old Way that was known now as Huntercombe Lane. Very slowly, they began to open. Somewhere behind Will the music of “Greensleeves” broke off, with a laugh and some muffled words from Paul; but there was no break in the music that was in Will’s head, for now it had changed into that haunting, bell-like phrase that came always with the opening of the Doors or any great change that might alter the lives of the Old Ones. Will clenched his fists as he listened, yearning towards the sweet beckoning sound that was the space between waking and dreaming, yesterday and tomorrow, memory and imagining. It floated lovingly in his mind, then gradually grew distant, fading, as out on the Old Way Merriman’s tall figure, swirled round again now by a blue cloak, passed through the open Doors. Behind him, the towering slabs of heavy carved oak swung slowly together, together, until silently they shut. Then as the last echo of the enchanted music died, they disappeared.
And in a great blaze of yellow-white light, the sun rose over Hunter’s Combe and the valley of the Thames.
" ( )
  AdemilsonM | Sep 2, 2015 |
I’m not sure how I missed this while growing up – I devoured children’s books weaving together ancient myths with contemporary life. Will turns 11 just before Christmas, and learns he’s one of the Old Ones. He has to balance his apparent status as a child with his aspect as a magical being coming into his power, protecting his family, village and the world against the Dark. Magical doorways link present to past, English myths to wider heritages. Hern the Hunter’s head is a Caribbean carnival mask; the protective Old Ones come from all cultures. The writing ranges from scarily sinister to great beauty. There’s a brilliant passage where a maleficent flourish gloriously results in a magnificently perfect ship burial. ( )
  Bernadette877 | Jul 4, 2015 |
I loved this all over again on rereading, but realized that what stuck with me so hard from childhood wasn't the action (which was actually minimal in a lot of the book) or the characters or the plot, but the visuals. They're really strong, and the book itself is full of these very cinematic sequences, brain-searing sequences. I heard there was a film version made and it was awful, which is a shame—the right filmmaker could have done super things with it. Maybe as an animated film, or something with really good CGI.

Anyway, it was still visually resonant, still a good comfort read. More, elsewhere, soon. ( )
1 vote lisapeet | Jun 25, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 161 (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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For Jonathan
First words
"Too many!" James shouted, and slammed the door behind him.
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.

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:32 -0400)

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"A Margaret K. McElderry Book."

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