October 08, 2011

Over Sea Under Stone by Susan Cooper

Over Sea, Under Stone is the first book in the Dark Is Rising series. Despite that, I always seem to read this 2nd as the 2nd book (The Dark is Rising) is my favorite book and I always read it first. But really, this book is kind of a side story to the rest of the series despite it being first so it doesn't really matter the order your read the first two.

The Drew children, three siblings, are on vacation at a mysterious place called the Grey House in a quaint little town by the sea. They are their with their parents and also their mysterious Great Uncle Merry who always seems to be searching for something. When it rains the first few days they are there they take to exploring the house and find a mysterious treasure map that seems to indicate something about King Arthur. However, they aren't the only ones who want to find what is at the end of that treasure hunt. Some not so nice characters are about and the only thing standing in their way is the children and Great Uncle Merry. They have to see who will reach the end first and keep the treasure from going to darkness.

I really like the way the children were written in this book. They all had distinct personalities and differences about them. Another great thing about Susan Cooper's characters is that they are never all one or the other. The bad characters have good qualities and the good characters must sometimes do things that are unsavory. I was surprised to see that the parents were largely absent from this book and really weren't the greatest of characters when they were there. But I suppose Uncle Merry made up for them being lackluster.

This is an adventure story with just a touch of mystery. It is very appropriate for children with nothing unsuitable for reading. In fact, this is actually a children's series, although adults may enjoy it as well. The plot as a whole is good but isn't as great as some of Cooper's others. It does run a bit slow in parts and tiresome, but largely it is good. It is different from the rest of the series though and with some exceptions, doesn't share very many characters with the other books as well.

I do love this series and think that this makes a good side story to the rest of the books. I highly recommend the whole set to anyone, adult or child.

Over Sea, Under Stone
Copyright 1965
252 pages

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