The Dark is Rising Sequence (The Dark is Rising, #1-5)
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The Dark is Rising Sequence (The Dark is Rising #1-5)

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4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  8,912 ratings  ·  532 reviews
Cooper's highly acclaimed series—Over Sea, Under Stone; The Dark Is Rising; Greenwitch; The Grey King; and Silver on the Tree—is now available in its entirety for the first time in an attractive, sturdy boxed set that's perfect for gift giving.
Paperback, 1148 pages
Published January 1st 1986 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1984)
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienA Game of Thrones by George R.R. MartinThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisThe Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Best Fantasy Series, Trilogies, and Duologies
37th out of 1,498 books — 6,568 voters
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer BradleyThe Once and Future King by T.H. WhiteMary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy by Mary StewartLe Morte d'Arthur by Thomas MaloryThe Winter King by Bernard Cornwell
Best Arthurian Fiction
6th out of 321 books — 1,130 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Adam
This series is fantastic, and has been horridly overlooked, particularly so seeming that our current culture seems so fascinated with all things Potter. Not that The Dark Is Rising is anything like Harry Potter - not at all. It's thickly steeped in Celtic and Arthurian legend, is relentless in its exploration of a myriad of layers of history and time, and simply reeks of magic. I love this series, and have for years. Within the past two years, I introduced these books to my wife, who seethed wit...more
Rebecca
Aug 19, 2007 Rebecca rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
If you like:
-Harry Potter
-Philip Pullman
-Narnia
-King Arthur
-magic
-myth
-funny things
-English people
-any people
-big ideas
-reading
-books
you will love:
The Dark is Rising sequence.
(any of the above is sufficient.)
These are the books that made me love reading, that made me sneak a flashlight under the covers at night to pick up where my father had last read aloud. The sequence begins mundanely, with three children going on holiday in Cornwall in Over Sea Under Stone, and ends in a battle of Arthurian...more
Rachel
Nov 29, 2007 Rachel rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Okay, the first thing to keep in mind is that Susan Cooper wrote these books long before JK Rowling was writing, so if you see the parallels of an English boy who discovers he has magical powers on his eleventh birthday...well, you just have to suck it up and admit that Cooper did it first.

These are AMAZING books. I was trying to think of which one I liked best, but they're all so good! Much darker than most children's fantasy. Very scary. When I was 10, I didn't sleep for days after reading "T...more
Phreid
Broader in scope and skill than Harry Potter, deeper in characterization and theme than Lord of the Rings, The Dark Is Rising Sequence is a modern-day addition to the King Arthur mythos. New insight is brought to the battle between Light and Dark, but while nearly all the players are new the atmosphere is the same.

This is Susan Cooper's magnum opus; she never wrote anything quite so good again. It's usually billed as childrens' fare because the main characters are young, but the writing is excel...more
Andy
This was my absolute favorite series of children/early adolescent books. If I recall correctly (I reread all of these just a few years ago) Susan Cooper does not make so noticeable a shift in dumbing down the language or sentence structure for young readers, which I like a lot. It's a fantasy-ish story, but set in, well, what would have been current day for Susan Cooper at the time of writing it. It is difficult to review all of these books at once, because some are better than others, and they...more
Kerry
Aug 01, 2007 Kerry rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone, but especially kids/teens
I just finished the final book in the series the other day, and it was pretty great. As a whole, Cooper's The Dark is Rising series was well written, and the stories flowed from one to the other without being too repetitive. I really enjoyed jumping right in to each book, and they went by pretty fast. While it is definitely a series for a younger audience, I was impressed by how intricately it went into the different Arthurian legends and such. I loved the character of Will, how he was able to b...more
Jeannette
I really enjoyed this series. Books 1 and 3 are the weakest because the stories with the "kids" just don't quite work. But the other 3 volumes with Will and Bran are a compelling read. Suggested for any fans of mythology and Arthurian legends.

I DID NOT watch the movie because the previews showed how little they had followed the book. Will Stanton is not a "reluctant" superhero. He is the last of an ancient race who comes into the knowledge of who he is on his 14th birthday. But, no more without...more
Emily
I'm sure most of you friends who might end up reading this review have already read this series, but for anyone who hasn't, these books are the pre-Potter classics that may have really sparked J.K.'s joy of reading when she was a girl (in fact, I do remember reading one particular article in which Rowling mentions Susan Cooper as a favorite hero).

So Shelly Radmall and I were talking about being Anglophiles when we were chatting last at a girls' night out. I asked her if she'd read these books as...more
Nikki
This is probably my favourite series of books of all time.

Over Sea Under Stone is aimed at the youngest audience of the five books, but it's still readable and the prose is lovely. The characters are instantly recognisable as children, rather than the mini-adults some writers make children, and they're easy to identify with. If nothing else, you have to be charmed by Barney. There's real suspense in this book: if your heart isn't in your mouth while Barney and Simon are crawling through the tunn...more
Shane Hoover
The Dark Is Rising is my first review on GoodReads, simply because it deserves to be. I can look back over more than 20 years of an insatiable hunger for the written word, and in the misty distance shine these books that started it all for me. That's not to say I didn't read before Susan Cooper, but I had never been so emotionally tethered to a story. In the person of Will Stanton, and his suddenly fierce friendship with Bran Davies, there remain to this day notes that resonate for me. Together...more
Shara
Jan 25, 2012 Shara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Shara by: Jason Snow
Shelves: borrowed
I never read this series as a child, and in hindsight, I wish it'd been more available to me when I could've fully appreciated the magic and wonder of the series. As it stands, reading it for the first time as an adult, there were some parts that worked wonderfully, and other parts that just didn't sit well with me at all. As a whole, The Grey King is my favorite and I think the best of them all, but I did enjoy the ending of the last book. The series is worth reading, but if you're like me and...more
Helen (Helena/Nell)
Apr 08, 2012 Helen (Helena/Nell) rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Helen (Helena/Nell) by: Winifred McEwen
There are five novels in this sequence, which is for young readers, perhaps nine upwards, I’d guess, though ten is suggested on the jackets. I missed them in my own childhood. The first (Over Sea, Under Stone) must have seen the light of day in the early seventies, and by then I was seventeen or eighteen and had read The Lord of the Rings several times, as well as a huge range of science fantasy for adults. But had I been ten when it was first printed, I would have loved it.

I would have loved it...more
Joell Smith-Borne
I reread all 5 of these books over the last couple of weeks, because I remembered loving them so much as a kid but was unable to remember any details. In fact, I remember finding them confusing and dreamlike back then, so this time I wanted to pay attention and see if I could make it more concrete in my mind. So, they definitely hold up, not like certain other books I could name (*cough Wrinkle in Time cough*). Most of my reactions to reading these are based on my previous experiences, so it's g...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
After hearing a lot about this series, I was very disappointed in how pedestrian it was. Perhaps the rest of the series is better, but this one was very formulaic and not especially exciting. Following along with C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, it all starts on a rainy day with a bunch of British kids bored and playing in a big house. They start their adventure by finding an attic behind a wardrobe rather than actually in it. At one point, the dark side attempts to seduce one...more
Maria
Long before there was Harry Potter, there was Will Stanton.

Again, my aunt Michele (who is probably barely talking to me just now, apologies again) was the wonderful person who gave me this book. She gave it to me for my 11th birthday, and someone else gave me scented pillows, and I can still smell those pillows everytime I opened the book. Sadly, my copy has finally disintegrated, so I shall have to replace it again before Christmas of this year.

This book is wonderful - magic, mystery, great bad...more
Eric Feldhusen
While classified as a young reader's book, it's still am entertaining and well written story for any age interested in fantasy. The movie was a so-so adaptation of the book, so don't gauge the book in any way on the movie
Wealhtheow
Jun 28, 2007 Wealhtheow rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone and anyone
Shelves: fantasy
This is literally my favorite fantasy book in the entire world.
Shmarya
I first read these books about twenty years ago, when I was just 9 years old. I subsequently forgot about them, although certain images and scenes have been rumbling around in my head for the better part of a decade. These scenes had managed to imprint themselves very deeply, so that long after the name of the author and the titles of the books were forgotten, I kept coming back to these flashes.

Recently I managed to get someone to identify the story on the scifi stackexchange. I immediately pu...more
Debbie
My copy of this book (with one of the worst cover illustrations EVER) contains all 5 books in The Dark is Rising series. I've never read it, and am interested, since one of the books one a Newbery Award and one a Newbery Honor. I finished the first book, Over Sea, Under Stone in early April. Since it's an enormous hardback, and I was traveling, I put it down for a while, and am picking it back up for the second book, The Dark is Rising, now.

Over Sea, Under Stone (c1965) I would give about 3 star...more
Tessa
It was Silver on the Tree that made my finishing of this Omnibus Edition go on for so long. I'm not sure if I got around to reading the last book on my first reading of the series, so either that made me slow down or the quick pace of the action made me take more pauses.

10 things I thought about while rereading:
1. I want the editions with illustrations.
2. It's hard to read a 1000+ page flimsy paperback with one hand while a cat sits on your chest
3. I like re-reading and it's too bad I won't make...more
John
Will Stanton has a strange eleventh birthday. Let's just say ordinary time (chronos, to borrow a term from M. L'Engle) stops -- and that isn't the most fantastic thing. As the story unfolds, Arthur makes an appearance...but I can't say more without giving away the plot.

I'm captivated each time I read this series. (digression: don't read them in the order listed on goodreads.) Especially memorable is Cooper's portrayal of Light and Dark interactions with "ordinary people:" the servants of the Dar...more
Brenda ╰☆╮
A series I have enjoyed for many years. It is a children's book, so not for everyone.
To understand the whole you obviously need to read all the books. However, I would suggest starting with the second book The Dark is Rising (same name as the whole).
My favorite in the series, and the first I read, was The Grey King. I did not feel that I suffered for doing so, in fact maybe it was why I liked the entire series.
Enjoy...in you dare..
Duffy Batzer
If this series had come out in 2000, it would have been on the best seller list for young adult. However it came out twenty years before its time. The copy I read was put into a new edition with all the books in one, I assume to coattail on the Potter craze. I think the size was probably daunting to many
I remember reading it as a kid and being engrossed. I wanted to read it as an adult to see if it stuck. It did. It is imaginative and subtle. Great for any fantasy fan, especially those with an...more
Bradley Kelly
I read this entire series in Middle School back in the early '90s. It was absolutely fantastic. It's hands down, an amazing series to read at that age.

I remember being really excited to read each book in the series and remembered having to wait for someone to check the last two books of the Series back into the library so I could read them.

They were captivating, contained very little unnecessary "lull points", and contained great imagery that allowed me to see the whole thing in my head as I rea...more
Josiah-f Friesen
I recently read the first book. It is the story of a young boy named Will Stanton. On his 11th birthday he discovers that he is the last of an ancient race, called the old ones. They have the ability to make most things happen simply by willing them to. The old ones dedicated themselves to defeating and holding back the Dark. It is an evil force, with many evil minions. Will needs to find the six signs of power, and connect them, in order to defeat the dark. The sign of fire, water, iron, bronz...more
Mari Chase
Maybe if I was 7 years younger this book would have been more captivating. The plot line in every single book is so simplistic. They spend the majority dealing with seemingly ordinary events that they know is tied to the dark. In the end they do confront the dark but it's brief and not exciting. Cooper tells you the dark is evil but never gives it an obvious motive for their "evil deeds" which also don't exist. Cooper uses beautiful imagery but that's the only redemption I can think of. I forced...more
Matt
I was given these as a christmas present by a friend who knew I had a penchant for things that evoked the feeling of old English winters. There's something about the mythology that drives these books that conjures the sense of hiding indoors by a roaring fire while the winter winds blow cold outside. It's like Lloyd Alexander transposed to the modern day, or a reflection of Alan Garner. Easy reads, definitely written with kids in mind, but the stories are timeless.
Kelli Stephenson
One of my absolute favorite series of ALL time!!! In fact, i am going to go reread it, and I RARELY ever do that. It will make it the 3rd time through. Awesome depiction of good versus evil. In fact, I had my student read the series one year and we wrote papers on the parallels between the series and Star Wars----the theme, not the actual Star Wars movie (as I am not a fan!!!)
Winddancer
My all time favorite fantasy series. I make a point to re-read this series every year to drink in Cooper's enlivening of old Celtic myths twined through an eleven-year-old protagonist. Her prose is seamless, her story compelling. If you like fantasy that's about the characters yet still gives you an aura of magic, I dare you to put this series down.
Jane Williams
One of the classics that introduced me to fantasy and mythology as a kid, and I still re-read and enjoy now.
The writing is simple, elegant and vivid, the characterisation much more detailed and complex than one might expect from books aimed at children, and the descriptions of settings are always spot on, so real that you can smell them.

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love this series! 15 48 Dec 17, 2013 02:47PM  
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7308
Susan Cooper's latest book is the YA novel "Ghost Hawk" (2013)

Susan Cooper was born in 1935, and grew up in England's Buckinghamshire, an area that was green countryside then but has since become part of Greater London. As a child, she loved to read, as did her younger brother, who also became a writer. After attending Oxford, where she became the first woman to ever edit that university's newspap...more
More about Susan Cooper...
The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising, #2) Over Sea, Under Stone (The Dark is Rising, #1) The Grey King (The Dark is Rising, #4) Silver on the Tree (The Dark is Rising, #5) Greenwitch (The Dark is Rising, #3)

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“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 old.
Power from the Green Witch, lost beneath the sea.
All shall find the Light at last, silver on the tree.”
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“On the day of the dead, when the year too dies,
Must the youngest open the oldest hills
Through the door of the birds, where the breeze breaks.
There fire shall fly from the raven boy,
And the silver eyes that see the wind,
And the light shall have the harp of gold.

By the pleasant lake the Sleepers lie,
On Cadfan’s Way where the kestrels call;
Though grim from the Grey King shadows fall,
Yet singing the golden harp shall guide
To break their sleep and bid them ride.

When light from the lost land shall return,
Six Sleepers shall ride, six Signs shall burn,
And where the midsummer tree grows tall
By Pendragon’s sword the Dark shall fall.

Y maent yr mynyddoedd yn canu,
ac y mae’r arglwyddes yn dod.”
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