October 08, 2011

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

This has been one of my favorite fantasy series since I was a child. I still take the books out and read them about once a year and they haven't lost their charm for me. Although, beware, if you have seen the movie based on this book (The Seeker) it was terrible and didn't represent the book at all. The Dark is Rising is actually the second book in the series (after Over Sea Under Stone) but I always read it first since it is my favorite. It doesn't seem to effect my reading of the books at all.

Will Stanton is getting ready to have his eleventh birthday. But some strange things happen before that, animals start acting weird about him and he gets a present for his birthday that everyone seems to want. It is a buckle for his belt that is shaped like a circle with a cross inside, and it is one of the signs. You see, Will Stanton is the sign seeker, the last of the old ones to be born in the world and a key to their fight against the dark as it struggles to prevail against the light. Will must find all six signs before it is too late and the darkness takes over.

I really like Will as a character. I think Cooper, the author, did a great job of mixing young boy and timeless old one into his character. At least to me it seemed seamless. I also like that she didn't have her good and evil people be one or the other. Those on the side of the dark seemed like your average every day people you've known forever, and those on the light were sometimes ruthless to achieve the end means. This is more realistic to me than all or nothing.

As said before I like how she explored good and evil in this book. And her ideas for the signs were pretty neat too. Since it is a kids book there isn't anything that could be considered inappropriate or offensive in this book. But honestly, even though it is a kid's book, there is plenty here for adults to enjoy as well. I would judge this to be a good book to read with the family. Its captivated me for over fifteen years anyway.

Definitely one of the better fantasy fictions out there. And the rest of the series is good as well. I heartily recommend this book to just about anyone.

The Dark is Rising
Copyright 1973
244 pages

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