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

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  41,764 Ratings  ·  1,748 Reviews
"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.”

With these mysterious words, Will Stanton discovers on his 11th birthday that he is no mere boy. He is the Sign-Seeker, last of the immortal Old Ones, destined to battle the powers of evil that trouble
267 pages
Published (first published 1973)
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Cassandra You can rarely read the books on Goodreads here. I recommend trying your local library. Goodreads is for sorting your books and recording reading…moreYou can rarely read the books on Goodreads here. I recommend trying your local library. Goodreads is for sorting your books and recording reading history, in my opinion.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Aug 20, 2007 Arianna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites, box-3
Getting my brother (12) to read is liking getting a cat to take a bath, getting a high-schooler to go to school, getting a cheerleader to go to computer club.
All those really difficult things in life.

I read this series myself about a year or two ago, so when he needed a book to do for literature in his homeschool, I suggested that he pick this one and I'd do it with him.

He moaned and groaned and hated life, that he'd have to do something so awful as reading.
I just shrugged and told him to suck i
Moraes the Bookworm
Right after I finished Over Sea, Under Stone, I jumped into this second installment. I liked this one much more than the previous one, even though Cooper kept her writing style and ideas untouched: the incredibly well built suspense scenes, the darker tone spread all over the story. The introduction of Will Stanton and his family made the story a lot more attractive to me. Somehow, it was easier for me to picture the Stantons as a real family than the Drews. Maybe it was because the author took ...more
Apr 05, 2010 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: boy wizards, Old Ones, everyone
Originally read: 1979

My absolute favorite series as a child. One of these days I need to reread it. (ETA: see below.) A bit like Harry Potter, but darker in tone (and of course, Will Stanton predates Harry Potter by decades). A shame that Hollywood's treatment of this classic book was so epically bad. It should be noted that while technically this is book two in the series, the saga really begins here, with Over Sea, Under Stone being a prequel of sorts.

Reread: 2013

I first read this book when I
I suspect that the books of this sequence are among the most beautiful I've read. I get that feeling especially with this book. The tone here has changed already from the Blyton-esque kids-on-a-great-adventure of the first book, and the character is different accordingly. It's almost a bildungsroman, for all that we only see less than a month of an eleven year old boy's life.

One of the main things I love about this sequence, particularly from this book on, is the characterisation. Where Simon, J
Dec 28, 2008 Lightreads rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The one of my heart. But not entirely a book of childhood. Unlike the rest of the series, this one is layered all through young adulthood for me. I read it countless times as a wee thing, of course, but it was also my book on a horrible flight home from Oxford after Trinity Term, and what I read the week I retired my first guide dog, and what I read in tiny pieces in the month after I lost my eye. Looking at that list is one of those foreheadslap moments where you notice that narrative refrain i ...more
Reread. I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie—and more importantly, I saw 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 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
Dec 11, 2015 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Slightly ahead of the ideal time to read this book — which would be veeery slowly, a chapter or two at a time, over the Twelve Days of Christmas. I never have the patience for that! As usual, I loved The Dark is Rising; the quiet moments of enchantment, the beautiful writing, the warmth of the family relationships and the reality of the bickering, protective group of siblings. There’s more adult, complicated stuff as well as simple squabbling among siblings: the whole relationship between Merrim ...more
Sep 23, 2011 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: classics readers, children's fiction readers, fantasy readers

'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 the old;
Power from the green witch, lost beneath the sea;
All s
Sep 16, 2009 Ron rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
3.5 . . . maybe. A good story; well told. It fits neatly between The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter. Very English; magical realm beyond the mundane; contemporary (more or less) to the time of writing; YA that should appeal to adults, but it doesn't have the--dare I use this word?--magic.

William, the eleven year old protagonist, is too passive. He floats through the book's big crises more as observer than an actor. Great things happen around him, but the reader does not feel that William i
2.5 stars. I really thought I was going to like this more than I did. It was well-written and the premise of a story was interesting. I just never really got into the story and found myself waiting for something exceptional to happen. Unfortunately, it didn't. That said, it wasn't a bad book and, being short, it didn't take too long to get through.
Oct 28, 2007 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-children
Stop me if you've heard this one: A boy living in England discovers on his 11th birthday that he has special powers. An early encounter with an enemy leaves him with a scar. With guidance from a few mentors, he is trained and learns about the Dark, which he can vanquish by collecting several ancient objects.

Well, putting aside my increasing irritation with J.K. Rowling's lack of originality, I really enjoyed this (earlier) novel, which was surprisingly well-written. (Especially compared with A W
Melissa McShane
12/15/16: More of my Christmas reading. This time, I'm struck as I never was as a teen how very bleak Cooper's universe of Light and Dark is. The Old Ones, for all they come from human families (presumably, if Will Stanton is representative) are not even a little bit human, and Light and Dark clash in ways that care nothing for individual men and women. Their battle isn't for the sake of human salvation, it's for things and forces far, far beyond human concerns. This becomes most evident in Silv ...more
Sep 28, 2012 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper is a young adult fantasy novel first published in 1973.

The second book in the series of the same name, apparently the first book, Over Sea, Under Stone, was written for a younger audience and provides more of a prequel than a beginning point.

This book tells the tale of Will Stanton, who on his eleventh birthday learns that he is an Old One, a member of a group with magical powers who represent the Light, opposed to the members of the Dark. Cooper uses colorfu
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
3.75 stars. Long past childhood, I read this book for this first time. High marks for the fabulous writing (see excerpt below) and for the vivid setting (I felt I was there, during the Christmas season, in Hunterscombe, England).

The plot is fairly gripping -- especially the scene in the church on Christmas Day, after everyone left, and the scene in Will's home, when a VERY unwelcome guest was invited to come in, and the scenes of the bone-biting deep-freeze that struck. Other good scenes come to
I saw the movie "The Seeker" which I now use as a standard to judge all movies I really dislike; but I was required by my class to read it so I did.
Honestly, the book was entertaining. But I still didn't like it for multiple reasons:
The beginning was really hard to follow. Susan Cooper needs to make it less work for the reader to try and figure out what's going on. The plot was good; the classic battle between the darkness and the light. But Will Stanton didn't have to make any sacrifices; seri
Dec 22, 2013 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has maybe one of my favourite ways of looking at England, the country and people:

"He saw one race after another come attacking his island country, bringing each time the malevolence of the Dark with them, wave after wave of ships rushing inexorably at the shores. Each wave of men in turn grew peaceful as it grew to know and love the land, so that the Light flourished again."

It doesn't quite work, I think: there's the issue of colonialism, which was arguably wave after wave of the Dark
Mike (the Paladin)
Not impressed. Comparing these to Lewis and Tolkien is a BIG stretch. This is the second book in the series and I must say I was seriously disappointed. The comparison to Lewis or Tolkien probably caused me to drop my rating...I even considered a one. Decide for yourself about this but There is for me a feeling of what could have been in these books. The writing itself isn't the problem it's just (and this is my opinion) the story feels awfully flawed.

I wanted this to be a better book, I really
Ben Babcock
I’m trying to think of how many other books’ sequels are more notable than the books themselves. The Dark is Rising is the second book in the sequence, yet it was the one that got adapted into an apparently awful film, and it was the one that gave its title to the entire series. I suppose I can see why. Of the first two books, it more stereotypically conforms to the monomyth and has that “epic” quality one desires in “epic fantasy”. Over Sea, Under Stone is firmly a juvenile adventure, whereas t ...more
Sep 10, 2012 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 27, 2008 Robert rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this many years ago, and liked it. When the movie came out (not a very good movie), I wondered what my 43-year-old self would think of my hazy memory of what my 14-year-old self had thought. Turns out my 14-year-old self wasn't much of a critic. The Dark is Rising was quite disappointing, making it all the more surprising that it won awards and stuff. I guess I can kind of see why--the writing is at least meant to seem deep. The fact that it has a literary style of any kind is a novelty, ...more
Nov 20, 2014 Kaye rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kaye by: Cat Hellisen
Okay. Wow.

I should definitely have read this when I was younger. And I'm very sorry that I let my feelings for the ridiculous movie adaptation muddle my appetite for reading the actual book.
Feb 15, 2017 LPG rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These things are so enjoyable I'm considering hoovering up one a day before I start back at work next week.

Really loved the clarity of the images Cooper paints. The carved doors in the snow. The burning log across the old lane. The palm fronds packaging the carnival mask from Jamaica.

My only complaint is the persistent Potter-bashing I see in other reviews. It's as if people are angry that this series hasn't gotten the same crazed treatment and/or think that they are somehow 'better' than Potter
Ilana C. Myer
I decided to reread this, believe it or not, for research. I've come to realize that Cooper's utilization of Celtic myth is almost unique in literature--the way she weaves it into something new and coherent, while retaining a sense of something unspeakably old. The language is gorgeous. The atmosphere she constructs with that language so powerful, and unforgettable, that it permeated my childhood. I feel fortunate to have found this book when I did.
There is pretty much nothing I did not love about this reread, whether it was the hazy fondness of nostalgia or the sheer delight from the story in and of itself.

Oh, Will Stanton. I adore him at thirty almost as much as I did at ten. I love how visceral both his fear and wonder are. I love HIS FAMILY. Sorry, Drews; the Stantons kick your ass. I love the push and pull between Will-as-Old-One and Will-as-youngest-Stanton - the contrast between Wise Magical Dude and little boy never fails to delig
Jan 24, 2012 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely seasonal read. Don't know how I missed it growing up, I blame parents! I particularly like the fact that I finished reading on a key date.
Barb Middleton
Aug 27, 2013 Barb Middleton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Ask any Minnesotan - most will whisper that first winter snowfall is magical as it veils the world in glittering white stillness. Six months later that changes, but hey, it's a dazzling start to the winter marathon. Christmas is special too, as families feast around lighted trees nestled in warm houses. Susan Cooper not only captures the childhood magic of the first snow, Christmas, caroling, and more, but the magical alternate world Will Stanton falls into as he discovers that he is the last of ...more
Vague, wordy, and devoid of detail. A typical hero’s journey, with not much to compel the reader forward. And not many important characters actually have names.

So who’s ready for a vague plot summary!? ☺ Yay!

WARNING: Severe sarcasm ahead!

You’re a seemingly normal boy who hits puberty, and suddenly you discover that you’ve been special all along. Yay! You never knew this, but turns out you’re the only person in the entire universe who can save us all, by going on this big quest, or else the world
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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 about Susan Cooper...

Other Books in the Series

The Dark Is Rising (5 books)
  • Over Sea, Under Stone (The Dark Is Rising, #1)
  • Greenwitch (The Dark Is Rising, #3)
  • The Grey King (The Dark Is Rising, #4)
  • Silver on the Tree (The Dark is Rising, #5)

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“The snow lay thin and apologetic over the world. That wide grey sweep was the lawn, with the straggling trees of the orchard still dark beyond; the white squares were the roofs of the garage, the old barn, the rabbit hutches, the chicken coops. Further back there were only the flat fields of Dawson's farm, dimly white-striped. All the broad sky was grey, full of more snow that refused to fall. There was no colour anywhere.” 17 likes
“Too many!' James shouted, and slammed the door behind him.” 10 likes
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