The Dark Is Rising (The Dark Is Rising, Book #2)

by Susan Cooper

Other authorsAlan Cober (Illustrator)
Ebook, 2001



Local notes

PB Coo




Margaret K. McElderry Books (2001), Edition: Reprint, 232 pages, $7.99


On his eleventh birthday Will Stanton discovers that he is the last of the Old Ones, destined to seek the six magical Signs that will enable the Old Ones to triumph over the evil forces of the Dark.


Original publication date


User reviews

LibraryThing member RebeccaAnn
On Will Stanton's eleventh birthday, he receives one hell of a present. While most boys his age are getting toys and the occasional book, Will receives the ancient magic of the Old Ones. Now, he must fight against the Dark, for it is rising and Will is the Light's last hope.

I really enjoyed this
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book. It was fast-paced and exciting and the scenes with the Rider were just downright creepy. Cooper also did a fantastic job with the interactions between the siblings. Many of the scenes featuring the Stanton children had me cracking up and laughing out loud.

The only thing I didn't like about this book was the lack of character development. On of my favorite parts of fantasy novels is the growth of the main character from a floundering nobody to a fierce warrior and in this book, that was missing. Just by being the seventh son of a seventh son and reading a magic book, he learns and understands all there is to know about his powers. Since the Old Ones work outside of Time, this literally took less than a second to accomplish. There was no struggle or journey of any kind. It just kind of happened.

To be fair, though, I still really liked the book and didn't find it too hard to overlook this flaw, which is a credit to Cooper's skill as a writer. If you're a fan of fantasy, I'd definitely recommend reading this book.
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LibraryThing member Liz1564
This is a Christmas reread of the second novel in Cooper's classic fantasy series about the the final battle between the Light and the Dark.

The Dark is Rising introduces the last of the Old Ones, Will Stanton who comes into his heritage on his eleventh birthday. Will is a normal kid from a very
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large English family. He is the youngest of nine children and lives on a small farm in the south of England very near Windsor Great Park. The family is loving, noisy, talented and diverse. In the very early morning hours of his birthday, the Winter Solstice, Will hears a magical melody and follows it through a snow-laden countryside to a set of free-standing ornately carved wooden doors. When he passes through the doors he is "out of time" in a great hall where he meets his mentor Merriman Lyon who reveals Will's destiny and begins his instruction into the powers of the Old Ones and of the conflict between the Light and the Dark.

Will's quest in the book will be to find and join the six magical signs into a chain which will become one of the talismans to stop the Dark from rising and consuming the world. Will never questions his destiny and knows immediately that he is truly the last guardian of the Light. The first sign is given to him as a birthday gift by Farmer Dawson, another Old One who until Will was awakened,appeared to be just a kindly neighbor. People Will knew as friends are now allies or enemies. And all the time he is learning his powers he is still an eleven-year-old boy with a normal family. Cooper skillfully manages this delicate balance.

What makes the Dark Is Rising series different from other children's and young adults fantasies is Cooper's grounding it firmly in English folklore. She does not create a new world; she reexamines the stories and tales that are part of the folkways and brings them into the 20th century. She explains the differences of Old Magic, High Magic, and Wild Magic. How certain roads are magic-free and safe and how the smithy (Wayland Smith) serves no magical master, but will shod the horses of the Light and the Dark. Here is Herne the Hunter and the boys who "hunt the wren." Folk songs are not just catchy ancient tunes, but rather clues to hidden secrets. Placenames and forgotten customs get new, or maybe rediscovered, meanings.

The Dark is Rising will challenge young readers and that is a good thing.

The five book series is:

Over Sea, Under Stone
The Dark is Rising
The Greenwitch
The Grey King
Silver on the Tree
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LibraryThing member kraaivrouw
This is the second book in the series and won the Newberry Award. Most of my strongest memories of the series are buried in this book, in particular an out of time Twelfth Night sequence that represents a Christmas season I've always wished I had.

The Drew children aren't in this book. Instead, we
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are introduced to Will Stanton, an Old One who has come into his own on his 11th birthday. Will is wonderfully well-written, somehow managing to combine that funny intelligence of all 11 year olds with the wisdom of someone who is ageless. There is snow (lots of snow), a dark rider, a mysterious tramp, and seven signs to be found in a limited amount of time.

I love this book and especially love the beautiful pictures it put into my head. There is a wonderful and very real family here and a diverse and believable community. There is the Light and there is the Dark. There is adventure and choices and merrymaking and sorrow. This is what good books are all about.
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LibraryThing member melmore
Having received this book for my 11th birthday and then stayed up most of the night reading it, I find I am now unable to judge whether it's great because of the writing or because of its importance to my own childhood. In any case, it has moved me more deeply and more often than any other book
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I've read since, and remains one ofmy most cheished possessions...
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LibraryThing member bell7
The day before his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton is accosted by a man who in turn is attacked by rooks. This is just the start of an adventure-packed fantasy featuring rhyming prophecies, latent magical abilities, and the battle between Light and Dark. Such devices may shout "cliche," but in fact
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this story is inventive, descriptive, and drives the reader on to discover with Will what it means that he is an Old One, who the Walker is, and why the Black Rider is after Will. The faceless foe of the Dark, its chase spearheaded by the Black Rider, adds to the tension. I sometimes wished that Will's discovery was slower at times -- frequently he would simply "know" something -- but it was a small quibble in my overall enjoyment of the book. Technically the second in The Dark is Rising Sequence, The Dark is Rising can be read first without losing continuity. I look forward to reading further in the series.
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LibraryThing member nimoloth
The Dark Is Rising

A wondeful book - I've fallen in love with it. What I loved most of all about it was the imagery - it was the most beautiful book I have read, from her evocative descriptions of family Christmas to the incredible other world times of the Old Ones, the snow covered landscape to the
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rain and floods. I want a Christmas like that. I also lopved the pagan story, intermixed with our modern Christianity yet never conflicting. That in itself was unusual. And so much folklore of England and Britain, inextricably linked with the ancient pagan heritage of these islands. Herne! She also wrote very well the character of Will, a young boy yet so much more than that. That is a very difficult character to write, keeping a balance between the child that he is and the wise and ancient being he becomes at the same time. It worked so very well. Regarding the overall story, I sometimes found it quite hard to follow exactly what she meant and what was implied and/or happening. It was a complex descriptive storyline, but perhaps all the more mysterious for it? I like her style of writing too - this book, being quite old, owes a lot to the style of earlier English writers such as Enid Bylton in is tone and grammer, which I loved. The only criticism I have is that her descriptions of location were not clear. Throughout the book I found it difficult to orient where things were in relation to each other and where characters were going, and in which direction. But I still loved the book despite this. I think I shall re-read it near Christmas time :).
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LibraryThing member librarylady28
Meet Will. He's eleven. And, he just found out he's the last of a race of immortal warriors destined to rid the world of the Dark forces. Now he must team up with three children (and their Great Uncle Merry) to find six magical signs that will aid him in his destiny.

The Dark is Rising series is a
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powerful tale based on Arthurian myths and legends. Susan Cooper is a fabulous writer and weaves her tale of mystery and suspense with masterful beauty. When it comes to epic battles between good and evil, she ranks right up there with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. She happens to have quite a large following of devoted readers. I myself am one them. Perhaps you've never heard of her before this, but let me be the first to recommend her. You won't find a more uniquely imaginative author.
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LibraryThing member overthemoon
a good, exciting, fast-moving read, with all the ingredients for an original story. But I always get that nagging feeling that everything happens just too easily. I never have my heart in my mouth because I know that it will come out alright in the end. But I still have to order the other three in
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the series, the new camera lens will just have to wait.
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LibraryThing member SR510
A novel of predestination. Everything is laid out on an excruciatingly contrived path that can only go one particular way, and our hero obligingly trots right through it. Furthermore, the good guys can be distinguished from the bad guys pretty much only in that the main character instinctively
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feels their respective goodness and badness, rather than by anything they actually do in this book. Why this is considered a classic is utterly beyond me.
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LibraryThing member Miranda_Paige
I LOVE this series. I read the first one, Under sea, Over Stone, in a book group and then continued wth the rest of the series later on. They are well written and enchanting. This is my favorite in the series.
LibraryThing member saroz
Susan Cooper's 1973 novel is pretty much the last word in the Second Golden Age of British Fantasy. It's one of those books that just can't be denied, rather like a force of nature. And it's not hard to pinpoint why: there's a legacy to Cooper's work that runs pretty deep, not just in the ancient
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British mythology she invokes (like so many of her peers) but in the actual structure of her story. The inexorable (one of her favorite words) approach of "the Dark is rising" owes a lot to "the wolves are running" in John Masefield's The Box of Delights, for instance, and Cooper's book can be seen as a modernized and, well, darker version of the same basic tale.

Cooper's prose, both narrative and dialogue, is some of the most relentlessly somber and articulate I've ever read in a "children's book" - far more than that she employed in Over Sea, Under Stone, this book's predecessor. In a lesser writer's hand it might sound pretentious, but here it comes over as a sort of elevated speech that helps to communicate both the importance and the timelessness of the conflict between Light and Dark. It even makes the book feel more urgent, if that's possible. Another benefit of Cooper's straightforward writing is that it avoids the trap of some of her peers, such as Alan Garner, who can get so wrapped up in atmospheric images the meaning of the story becomes lost to the reader. Cooper loves her iconography, but she always favors the clarity of the writing - which is interesting, because it allows her to actually skip or breeze over a few logical connections without the reader really noticing. Characters just know things in this novel, and you accept it readily. There is one revelation that, both times I've read the book, I feel she simply jumps to overly quickly; it's in the "betrayal" chapter. I can gloss over one small story point, however, as the rest of the book is very carefully forged.

Of course, The Dark is Rising is the second in a five-book sequence, and for many readers (myself included), it's actually the first one you read. Pleasantly, it stands just fine as a novel on its own, and you don't "need" to go on. It's hard not to want to, though. Cooper has devised a very engrossing combination of low fantasy setting and high fantasy structure; indeed, I can't really think of a more overtly epic children's book. And as with all great epics, the story can't end after just one quest...
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LibraryThing member N.T.Embe
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
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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.
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LibraryThing member lilygirl
This book is one of my perennial favorites. Forget the movie--the book, as usual, is so much better. It is possible to start with either this book or Over Sea, Under Stone. Young Will battles against the forces of evil that sneak in all too close to family and loved ones. The wintery show down is
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exciting and the entire book kept me on the edge of my seat.
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LibraryThing member krau0098
We have probably all heard that The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper is being released as a movie in October. This prompted me to dig out this series of books from the basement and re-read the first book. I last read this book when I was somewhere around 11 years of age. After that reading I thought
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the world of this book.

The book is well-written and very descriptive. It's every child's dream to get swept into an adventure like Will is and to find out you are part of an ancient race that lives to defeat all that is evil. This book is a classic. I think every young adult should read it!

All that being said. I wasn't as impressed with this book on my second read through. I think I have just read too many books. And, while the book was enjoyable, the haphazard way in which Will progresses through his quest kind of bothered me. I also thought that the gathering of all of the signs in one book was a bit much. It just made the retrieval of each sign seem more trivial than it should have been and condensed the adventure down, almost making it too simplistic. Still the book is well-written, the character's are likable, and the struggle details the epic struggle between good and evil.

I can't wait to see how well the movie follows the book.
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LibraryThing member DWWilkin
Just recently this book came across my radar by being recommended by a friend as his favorite yearly christmas read, and then through a lot of discussion groups in several fantasy reading forums. I delve into Young Adult on occasion, especially those old favorites I discovered when I was one.

Now as
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a jaded adult I notice things differently. How convenient our hero in this case has his problems and solutions laid out for him. He is never more than a few minutes walk from his home as all the puzzles to his quest are found. He easily overcomes each puzzle and should danger abound, adults are on hand to save him from not only himself but the evil that he is constantly told threatens him.

That was the first reason that caused this book to lose me as a potential fan. Next was the presentation. Show, don't tell is a writing mantra, yet with so much exposition everywhere for so long at a time, I felt entirely disconnected. Cooper spent page after page without a break telling me exactly what I had to know. Will, the hero, never had a moment to catch his breath.

By far the engaging part of the book was when he wasn't fumbling around with any of the magic but was happily ensconced with his family, of which there are many, enjoying christmas. The author was then forced to use dialogue and description in equitable portions and the feel for a small town english christmas was captured. Perhaps this book, without any of the fantasy and magic, another issue that I found did not work at all, would have been better if just left as a work of regular fiction, as a simpler boys coming of age story.
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LibraryThing member the_hag
Will Stanton turns eleven on midwinter’s eve…and up until now, he’s led a normal, if somewhat hectic life as the seventh (and youngest) child in his normal family. It is on this, his eleventh birthday, that he finds out he is anything but normal and also the beginning of a series of events
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that will help him define the man he will become. While I did thoroughly enjoy The Dark is Rising…I think the greatest draw for this book (and the series as a whole) is for children (or young adults if you prefer), ages 9-14 (or so). The “light” and “dark” are fairly cut and dry, no shades of grey here…the characters are ALL good or ALL bad, no subtle shading or real depth to them and while I do feel this is appropriate for the age range (because that’s rather how kids of this age are still seeing the world, things are “good” or “bad”); it’s a shame the author doesn’t challenge us and help introduce a more nuanced character set to the readers (perhaps in later books in the series), because this is also the age range where pushing that comfortable envelope should begin to be introduced. Having said that, I want to be clear that while I do see the characters as lacking depth to a certain degree, I did enjoy the book and would definitely recommend it, and it’s just not as richly drawn as it might otherwise be if it were geared toward an older audience or if the author had written richer characters. Additionally for such surprisingly flat, one dimensional characters the text itself is highly detailed and extremely well written, though in places a bit confusing (for example where she refers to Will’s friend…he’s actually one of his brothers, but this is unclear early on and is distracting).

Cooper successfully weaves both British and Celtic folklore/mythology into the threads of the story and successfully creates an entire world in which Will must navigate to successfully achieve his quest (with time travel, even). We meet a variety of characters through Will, both Light and Dark and travel along with him as he struggles to come to terms with his new found knowledge, responsibilities and powers…it’s not an easy quest for an 11 year old, nor does he suddenly “become” an Old One, it’s a struggle for him the whole of the journey (as it should be for an eleven year old). One of the best features of the story is that Will’s home life is happy and healthy…he is part of a tight-nit family unit. His family is normal: a two parent home where no one is sick, crazy, or otherwise absent or in need of rescue (at least as the story begins) and best of all, the entire family is well adjusted and actually get along (i.e. there is no bully or abusive siblings, no schoolyard conflicts, he’s not a misfit, and there is no wicked step parent). While they do not really know about or help with Will’s struggle or challenges, they are ever present and he must work in this quest and still fulfill his family obligations and remains a part of the family throughout.

Overall, The Dark is Rising is an interesting and entertaining tale that readers of all ages can dig into and love. It’s got strong mythological bones, interesting plot points, and relatively well defined and likeable characters which help to allow readers to forgive it’s few flaws (somewhat flat characterization…especially of the “Dark” characters, some confusing plot points, and the real lack of anything difficult being required of the “hero” when it’s all said and done). I give it 4 stars and hope that later books in the series provide a bit more challenge for this (and other) characters as the series develops.
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LibraryThing member cjfox73
Dark and imaginative, this is wonderfully written science fiction for the right audience. Readers will identify with the pre-adolescent character's struggle to figure out what the world means and the difference between right and wrong.
LibraryThing member seph
The first I'd heard of this book was catching a glimpse of the trailer for the upcoming movie. The movie looked entertaining, so I figured I'd do my usual and read the book before seeing the movie. The book was a most pleasant surprise. This is a wonderful story filled with rich characters and a
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great and beautiful magick. It reads like a classic that might be required reading in school at some early level. I found something a little awkward about the very beginning of the book which made it a little slow to start, but it quickly became a very compelling and truly enjoyable read, one that I'll likely revisit.
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LibraryThing member br13kasl
This classic book is the second book in the series out or five other books. It was named a Newberry Honor Book and is now a major motion picture. This book started a bit slow and confusing making it very hard to get into and follow. Although towards the middle of the book, it picked up the pace and
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started to get progressively interesting with some slow parts throughout.
In this book, Will Stanton meets his destiny on his 11th birthday. He is the Sign-Seeker, last of the immortal Old Ones, who must find and guard the six great Signs of the Light that will overcome the ancient evil that is overpowering the land. On Midwinter's Eve, Will gets the first of the Signs (an iron circle divided equally into four sections by a cross and tells him to keep it with him at all times) as an early birthday present. Will wakes on his birthday in another time. He meets the Rider, his enemy, as well as the white mare, an almost magical horse that helps Will. Will also meets the Walker, a strange old tramp. Will goes into another time, where the Lady and Merriman Lyon explain that Will is the last of the Old Ones. They teach him about his powers and his quest to collect the six Signs.
Even though it did pick up the pace towards the end, it was not the best book I have read, nor was it close to other books. In a way, this plot is alike to Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. Both books involve magic, though different types or ways of controlling it. They both also have others of their “kind” with similar “powers” versing the enemy, the dark side. This is a book I would not really recommend because it was almost was to slow to stay with.
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LibraryThing member mrsarey
The second in the Dark Is Rising series, this novel introduces Will Stanton, the last of the Old Ones. Instructed by Merriman, Will must find and complete the six Rings of Power, in order to keep the dark at bay. Excellent novel!
LibraryThing member trinityofone
Reread. I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie—and more importantly, I saw my friend Darcy's furious reaction to the trailer for the upcoming movie, and I realized that I didn't remember these books well enough to be properly furious myself. I read the first two in the series, in the wrong
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order, when I was much younger, but didn't recall being particularly engaged by them, which was why I never continued. I figured that, rereading them as an adult, I'd see the error of my ways.

Sadly, I didn't. I still don't find these books very engaging. "Over Sea, Under Stone" is, as even Darcy admits, only so-so: the setting is great (the rambling old Cornish house, the standing stones perched on their cliffs, the sea-cave), and at least one of the siblings (Barney) is spunky and entertaining, yet the treasure hunt-plot is oddly slow, and the conclusion completely unsatisfying in my mind. (They give the grail to a museum and get 100 quid? Barney has his "Dude! Merlin!" revelation? Yawn.) I thought "The Dark Is Rising" would be better, but it didn't do much for me, either. There's a lot of portentous stuff, but I felt that every scrape Will gets into he gets out of either through the intervention of an adult or thanks to a deus ex machina. Meanwhile, the Dark Rider and the Dark in general seemed oddly unthreatening to me, while being an agent of the Light did not seem particularly exciting or pleasurable. I never wished I was *there*: with, say, the Narnia books, I wanted SO BADLY to go through a wardrobe or a painting of my own, even if it was dangerous; but being an Old One mostly seems dull and chanty to me, to the point that if the position were offered on craigslist, I think I might pass. What is wrong with me?

Because I really do feel, having this reaction, that there must be something wrong with me and not the books: so many people—and people whose opinions I trust—love them. Oh well. I suppose I didn't like "The Lord of the Rings," either.
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LibraryThing member baw210
The Dark is Rising is a speculative, fiction novel written by Susan Cooper. This book is one of a series of books based on fantasy. The main character is will Stanton, who protects the world from dark forces. This all happens on his 11th birthday, which changes his life. He has to find six signs to
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fight the dark or the evil. I really could not get into this book at all, but I am sure as a young adolescent it would be much easier for them to get into the book and enjoy it. I don’t believe that I would use this book in my classroom. I also could see this book confusing to some readers. I think this is a book that they would enjoy and could read outside of class but not something to read as a class.
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LibraryThing member bluepixie
I tend to think of this book as the first fantasy I ever read, although I don't believe that's true. I got it when I was 8 years old for Christmas and let it sit for years without reading it (even then I couldn't get rid of a book...) Then I started reading fantasy and rediscovered this book on my
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shelf. Since then, I have read it every year at Christmas. For an adult, it's not a long read, and it is a well-crafted, imaginative, fascinating story. As a 12-year-old, I identified with Will. I'll admit that he was one of the first fictional characters I had a crush on. As an adult, I appreciate even more the emotions each character is dealing with. Unfortunately, or perhaps this says something about my 12-year-old self, now I find that Will is a bit of a cardboard cutout, and the most fascinating character is Merriman. The plot is precise, entertaining, and interesting. Highly recommended and the best of the series, IMHO. Only Greenwitch compares (which is not to say the other books aren't worth reading; just not every year for over ten years).
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LibraryThing member Jonathan_Walker
This particular birthday will change one boys life forever, he will be invited to a whole new world were magic is possible. His name is Will Stanton not Harry Potter. However, Will Stanton is no Harry Potter, or is it the other way around? Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising was written before J. K.
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Rowling's Harry Potter series, but both have a related theme, a boy who is not necessarily normal. The Dark is Rising is a speculative fiction about a boy named Will Stanton during twenty-first century England; it is also the second book to the Dark is Rising Sequence. Will Stanton is an Old One, a magical being, that can switch between Time from past to present. But it is not all fun and games for Will, he must find six signs of the Light: bronze, fire, water, wood, stone, and iron in order to defeat the Dark, for the “Dark is rising” and “When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back. . .” Will is not only alone in his quest for the signs; Merriman another Old One is his guide between Time and in his present time. The question is not can Will stop the Dark from rising, the question is can Will stop the Dark from extinguishing the Light?

It really took my a long time to get into the book; however, midway through the book, I found myself to be more interested in it. The book kept me guessing the whole way through, and I liked the way that it ended. I most likely would have not finished reading this book had it not been a requirement for my class, but now that I have finished it when I have the time I do want to read the rest of Cooper's series. I have only watched the Harry Potter movies, and I can see that both Rowling's and Cooper's series have a lot in common. I would recommend a fan of Harry Potter to read The Dark is Rising, but to keep in mind that Cooper's novel was written before Rowlings.
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LibraryThing member Kate13
The Dark is Rising is a fictional, speculative novel written by Susan Cooper. It is hard to tell the exact time in which the book takes place, but it is obviousy in England. The main character in the story is Will Stanton. On his 11th birthday, he goes through a great change which will alter the
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rest of his life. Will is introduced to Merriman and the Old Lady who briefly describe what has happened to Will. They also tell him about the quest that he has been charged with. The rest of the book is about the challenges that Will faces in order to complete the mission assigned to him. I really enjoyed this book, I thought it was enthralling. The biggest issue raised by this book is the fight between good and evil. Some of the smaller issues are that of sibling rivalry, witchcraft, and loyalty. Even though I liked this book, I don't think that I would use it in my classroom. I might suggest it to some students as outside reading or for accelerated reader, but I don't think I would teach this particular book to my classroom. The main point of this book, in my opinion, is the quest for light to vanquish dark, so you should read the book for yourself to find out if the light ever succeeds in defeating the dark!
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