Silver on the Tree (The Dark is Rising, Book 5)

by Susan Cooper

Paperback, 1987



Local notes

PB Coo


Simon Pulse (1987), 256 pages


In the Welsh hills Will Stanton, youngest of the immortal Old Ones, joins forces with Merriman, Bran, and the mortal Drew children in a quest through space and time against the powers of evil known as the Dark.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

256 p.; 4.4 inches


0689711522 / 9780689711527



User reviews

LibraryThing member StormRaven
Silver on the Tree is the fifth and final book in Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising sequence. In some ways, the book feels a little anti-climactic, which may have been inevitable following the mostly excellent books that preceded it. Still, the main difficulty with the book is that it tries to do two, possibly incompatible things: it tries to make the Dark a formidable and dangerous foe, and tries to keep the tone of the book firmly aimed at the young adult market. One or the other of these goals needed to give way, and unfortunately, the end result is that the Dark is less ominous and threatening than one would have hoped.

The book brings back all of the main characters from the earlier books: Will, Bran, Merriman, the Drew's and others. They prepare for a final show down against the forces of the Dark, seeking once again to decipher ancient prophecies in the form of poems and hunt down required McGuffin artifacts. The whole plot seems to have something of a rehashed feel to it, and the outcome never really seems to be in doubt. The book wraps up all the story lines and packages them neatly with a bow on top, which is probably to be expected of a young adult novel, but after the more mature tone showing through in parts of The Grey King, this book seems like somewhat of a disappointment.

The book is still quite good, and is better than most young adult fiction out there (and better than a lot of fantasy fiction written for the adult market), but it just isn't as good as the book that preceded it, which makes reading it something of a disappointment. As with all of Cooper's books, it is better written than most young adult offerings, but it just feels like a series as good as The Dark Is Rising sequence should have had a better final book. I still recommend it, just not as highly as Over Sea, Under Stone, The Dark Is Rising, and The Grey King.
… (more)
LibraryThing member MFeaver
Excellent, Excellent children's series. I was obsessed with this series as a child. It made me want to learn Welsh and I bought the whole series at a school book fair and recommend it to people looking for a great children's series. I've kept them for when I have children!!
LibraryThing member SandyAMcPherson
[Spoilers] In this last book of the Welsh fantasy adventure, the 3 English children are instrumental in working with 'Uncle Merry' and the 2 boys, Will and Bran to achieve the success of the quest. Disappointed by the ending, because the English kids have their memory of the quest taken from them by the "old ones", which did not resonate with me and just felt really arrogant.… (more)
LibraryThing member JudithProctor
This is a very well written series in terms of writing, but the plot really lets it down. It's like a game of D+D where you're collecting a load of unrelated artefacts to save the world.

Some of the descriptive text is beautiful and she manages a good feel for magic (in the sense of writing about magical places and mythical events), but I do so wish there had been a better, more connected story behind it all.… (more)
LibraryThing member BruceCoulson
The book that ruined the series. Since everyone who might have learned something is forced to forget everything they've learned and done, the whole book (and the previous ones) become pointless.
LibraryThing member RebeccaAnn
Spoilers ahead:

I found this be a mostly satisfying conclusion to this series, even if it was a bit sad. The action was exciting the whole tone of the bookw as much darker than previous ones (with possibly the exception of the fourth book - The Grey King). Some parts of the book I found almost theatrical in nature. The scene where Will and Bran are in the maze of mirrors and all the glass shatters musically left me breathless.

I do the ending was just a little disappointing, and perhaps this is because I'm not very familiar with Welsh mythology, but I didn't understand how the winner in the battle between the Light and the Dark could be decided by who slices through a bush of mistletoe on one special tree. It seemed a little...anticlimatic.

The very end was also just a little bit sad. I mourned for Will because neither Bran nor the Drew children would remember any of their adventures or how much they helped the Light. I think the ending was supposed to be happy, but that's not how I saw it. Still, it was a very good book and I greatly enjoyed the series as a whole. It's a keeper and one that, at some point in the future, I hope to reread.
… (more)
LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
Love - or the ability to forge relationships that create loyalty and sacrfice - this is the deciding factor between light and dark. It's not an uncommon theme in fantastical novels. In the end, what saves the light are those bonds forged as people loved. I liked two parts in particular - when John rejects his "wife's" claim of possession declaring that people are free to choose. And again in the end when Merriman tells the children that the earth is left to men, who must choose against their own worst selves in order to keep themselves in the light.… (more)
LibraryThing member N.T.Embe
Well it all comes full circle here. The last book in the Dark is Rising series is done. Yet, why do I feel so empty? I thought at first perhaps that this was part of the cost of re-reading a book or series again, that you had read the first time when you were much younger. But no, because thinking back now--this must have been what the longing I felt was all about. Things finally draw to a conclusion at the end of this book, and life moves on, but there's still that lingering "But..." that I just want to end all my sentences with. This was supposed to be the last great adventure, and there are parts that I like and love, but there are too many other things in hindsight that weighed down those feelings and just left me feeling... underwhelmed.

I feel like magic in this series is a heavy burden. It doesn't come easily, and it doesn't even feel natural. It's a strain on everyone that uses it, and whenever it inevitably interferes with the normal world and people's lives, the solution is always wiping their memories. I don't know about you, but when I've fought that hard, struggled for so long, for a cause... I don't want my memories of what I fought for to be lost! And in a way, whenever they did that in previous books to other characters that started getting a hint of what was going on, I balked at it! I cringed and grit my teeth. How do you just do that?! Wipe my mind and pretend like it didn't happen! Like you're all too powerful for me to be of any use if I knew! I get it, the Light in this series is trying to protect humanity. But know what? We can fight for ourselves too! Otherwise you wouldn't have used Barney and Jane and Simon! It all started with them! And then we get everyone else just... treating them like they can't do anything in the long run. Worse, like they don't deserve the respect of remembering. just don't do that. Messing with people's heads is one thing, but stealing their memories from them is taking away a part of who they are. Unless they willingly sought it, which I wouldn't praise or be happy about anyway, that's... not something you do.

But going back to this book in particular, things are as they've been in the last few books. We get the entire battle of Light and Dark fought and ended. And it's an obvious ending. One would think it would be. It's again filled with so much going on that you're basically being dragged along for the ride without even getting a chance to experience what's happening. The empathy whenever it comes to these magical things... just isn't there. Whenever we focus on Will or the Light's dealings, even the Dark's dealings, it's cold. Distant. Unfeeling. You can't find anything to cling to that'll give you any feelings at all. Just like Jane, Barney, and Simon throughout many parts of this book: You're just standing there, quietly, watching all the important people talk and completely ignore you. And that's what a lot of this series is when it's all summarized. That is why it gets Two Stars from me. Is it alright? Yeah. It is. But the only good parts, and I mean, the really, actually enjoyable parts, are with the Drew kids. Will, the Light, the Dark, and what have you... they just... make you feel bland.

I think if this story was written more from the Drew's adventures, it would have been far more pleasant and fun. But it just comes off as hard to connect to, full of fancy show and flashy stuff, but there's nothing really concrete or logical in the procession of anything. Things just HAPPEN because they DO and they come whenever they want. You're being dragged behind a speeding car, but you have no idea where you're going. They stop to ask your opinion every once in a blue moon, or during a pit stop, but then you're back in the trunk or something, stashed away until you're needed.

Eh. It's a shame. Because there's a lot of stuff here that is lovely, but it's got no substance. It's just there, and you don't feel anything for it.

So that's the conclusion for this series. It was fine. It was okay. But I wish you got a chance to actually feel like you experienced something worthwhile. Because you're hoping for it throughout the entire series and then... you just get... nothing really. Everything goes back to how it was before you ever started the series. As far as you're concerned, nothing's changed--because nothing feels like it changed.

Give these books a shot if you want. But they're not the best. Definitely not as magical as I once thought they were. Funny that, all my memories from when I was a kid were of the parts where the Drew's or Bran was involved. Huh. Guess it goes to show you what really matters~ And in this case, it's worth it only for them, but even then, just barely. Take it out of a library, but don't buy this at first go. It's not really worth your money, I'm sorry to say.
… (more)
LibraryThing member sirfurboy
Possibly the best series of books I ever read. I have visited every location mentioned in the books! A powerful set of stories when I was younger, I would still enjoy them now. The movie is bound to be a huge let down - but I still can't wait to see it!
LibraryThing member Yoshikawa
Silver on the Tree will have you very frustrated as you see all of the destruction made by the Dark.
LibraryThing member reannon
Fifth and final book in the Dark is Rising series. Excellent series overall, that revived my belief in magic. Overall, I thought the first book was the weakest, the 2nd was excellent, the third good, and the 4th and 5th excellent. Short and fast reads, they create a wonderful whole, that draws strongly on Celtic and other mythology.… (more)
LibraryThing member Crowyhead
A lovely conclusion to the Dark is Rising sequence.
LibraryThing member scampus
The fifth and best of Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising sequence, bringing everything to what is for me a very satisfactory conclusion.

"... the Dark came rising." I've found very few more shiver-inducing sentences in all of children's fantasy literature.
LibraryThing member Wiszard
This was my least favorite book of the five. At times, I thought the text rambled on. I was very disappointed in the ending of this series especially after enjoying the first four very much. For fans of this series, books 1, 2, & 4 were my favorites.
LibraryThing member kraaivrouw
This is the last of the Dark is Rising sequence and, in keeping with my re-read of the Prydain Chronicles, this is probably my least favorite book, again because it is the most epic.

In this last tale the Dark and Light are gathering for one last battle and Will Stanton and his Welsh friend, Bran, must gain the crystal sword and join with the Drew siblings to aid Merriman.

Everyone is here, but for me the book is marred by the long section all about looking for the crystal sword through the Lost Land. The pace in this large section seemed off and I had trouble caring about what happened. The ending of this novel also feels off, somehow - like Cooper ran out of steam and worked to tie up loose ends all at once. Choices are expediently made or not made at all and Gummery, predictably, goes off to the Summer Country (or the Old One equivalent).

Still and all this is a wonderful series for both children and adults (and excellent for reading aloud chapter by chapter)!
… (more)
LibraryThing member dk_phoenix
Finally, I finished the Dark is Rising series! I thought the ending was alright, but once again, I’ll admit that Cooper’s non-direct style of writing sometimes bothers me. I like being told what’s going on in clear language, so there were places in this book that just annoyed me…but ultimately, I applaud her consistency throughout the series, and found the ending sad but necessary.

It wasn’t my favorite of the series – I think that one goes to The Grey King – but on the whole, I’m glad I took the time to read the books and recommend them to enthusiasts of classic children’s literature or fantasy. Time well spent.
… (more)
LibraryThing member overthemoon
The last of the quintology, and the most eventful, and surprising, with an enemy lurking in the most unexpected character. I liked the way Cooper made me think about the meaning of words, and her interpretation of the nightmare, even if etymologically she is wrong. I slowed down my reading speed towards the end, not wanting it to come, and now it is there, and all is right with the world, I am feeling bereft. But it seems strange to think how much the real world has changed, since this was written, for today's children.… (more)
LibraryThing member MusicMom41
The last and longest book in the "The Dark Is Rising" series holds the reader’s interest and does not disappoint but it is not as tightly put together as the fourth book—perhaps because there were so many threads that had to be pulled together. All of the characters from the previous books have a part to play – for good or evil—in this final installment. For younger readers there are probably more surprises than for older readers who pick up on “clues” that are dropped, whether intentionally or unintentionally I’m not always sure. All in all it was a series which I enjoyed but will probably not read again.… (more)
LibraryThing member Steph78
When I last read the dark is rising sequence as a child, the silver on the tree was my least favourite of the books. Rereading this now, I think it may actually be my favourite. Many of the scene and settings are incredibly vividly realised, and the tension in the book builds with ever increasing speed and intensity as the story progressed. Wonderful… (more)
LibraryThing member callmecayce
I absolutely love this series. I love the world Cooper's created, along with the characters. I love the fuzziness of good versus evil, along with the idea that some things are black and white (aka the light is good and the dark is bad) but not everything is (hence the fuzziness. I love Bran and Will, I love the Drews and I love Merry. I enjoy all the side characters who flit in and out of the books. In this final book, Cooper manages to write her characters as older and more mature (including the Drews). The ending, of course, broke my heart a little and it makes my heart ache to think about Will as the only one who remembers after everyone else has forgotten or is gone. I'm also very glad that I listened to these books, they were just as good as when I read them, but the experience was actually better on audio. I'm not sure if it was the reader(s) or what, but they were a pleasure to listen to.… (more)
LibraryThing member booksandwine
The Silver On The Tree is the conclusion of the Dark Is Rising sequence. It wraps up all of the lose ends of the story so eloquently. The Drew children, Will Stanton, and Bran Davies all come together to turn back the rising of the dark. It was a great end to an epic journey, and last few pages are so well written I will definately pick this book up again just to re-read the resolution.… (more)
LibraryThing member danbarrett
An excellent series, and by excellent I mean EXCELLENT, in all capital letters. I was obsessed with these books as a lad, and I still find them riveting upon rereading. Though my favorite book in the series is "The Grey King", this book is also wonderful, especially so for featuring the ending.
LibraryThing member satyridae
The end of the series, but not the pinnacle.
After re-reading the entire series, I understand why I don't re-read it regularly. It's too uneven, though 2 of the 5 books are brilliant. This volume flounders under the weight of both what comes before in Cooper's world and the canon of Arthurian Legend. At the end I find it well-done but somehow lacking. I don't know that I can be more precise, other than to say read this, and read The Mists of Avalon, and read Le Morte d'Arthur and read White's books, and read Mary Stewart. Read it all.… (more)
LibraryThing member KVHardy
What can I say, I loved this book too..... :-) Oh, and every few years or so, I take these all out and read them again. Love them.
LibraryThing member -Eva-
All the characters from the previous books come together in this final installment to do battle with the Light against the Dark. This is a really satisfactory ending to the whole saga and various character's flaws and strengths are used excellently. I really appreciated Bran's choice at the end when he's offered to join his father and the other immortal characters. Really great YA series that mixes a lot of British mythology with the contemporary story line.… (more)

Similar in this library




(903 ratings; 4.1)
Page: 0.8047 seconds