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

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4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  30,642 ratings  ·  1,321 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 trou...more
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published October 11th 2005 by Listening Library (Audio) (first published 1973)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Arianna
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...more
David
Jun 28, 2013 David rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
Trin
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...more
Nikki
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...more
Lightreads
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
Jon
Jonathan

'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
...more
Stephen
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.
Kathleen
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...more
Dorothea
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Devin
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...more
Alex
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...more
Ron
3.8 . . . 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...more
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
Robert
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
Nikki
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...more
Lisa Jenn Bigelow
This is my favorite Christmastime read. Atmospheric, adventurous, and full of the Celtic mythology that underlies the shortest days of the year but now is largely forgotten.
notyourmonkey
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...more
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...more
Jeannette
The second book in the series is much better than the first. We are introduced to Will Stanton, and the Old Ones, and learn something of their quest. Don't be fooled by the film "loosely" based on this book; this is not about an unwilling hero granted super-powers. This is about a young man who comes into his gift, and willingly joins the Old Ones to fight an ancient evil. Great series for fans of Arthurian legends and Celtic mythology.
Julia
When our librarian and I were discussing the Percy Jackson books, she recommended this one to me. I had heard of the movie (which got awful reviews), but not this book. In a polar opposite reaction to the Percy Jackson set, I found myself caught up in the WRITING more than the characters or plot. Cooper's writing style is mesmerizing, woven into a style which reminded me of Poe in points.

The only reason I gave the book 3 stars is that, again unlike Riorden, the characters were more old-fashioned...more
Jill
Upon rereading as an adult, I'm finding this book (and series) difficult to categorize. Although on one level I enjoy the lyrical writing, the English mythology, and the fascinating world-building--I find the incongruities distracting. No wonder I didn't care much for this series as a young teen. The book itself doesn't quite know what it has to say.

The battle of Light and Dark, of good against evil, is central to good fiction, and especially to epic fantasy. The major problem I found with this...more
Barb Middleton
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
Chris
This is the second book in the Dark Is Rising series. Unlike Over Sea, Under Stone, this book is much more supernatural/magical. In fact, the jump from the first book to the second almost feels like a jump to a different series, except for the continuity of themes and some characters. Like the first book, this one is very well-written and passes the audiobook test, which in my experience tends to expose sloppy writing. This book, like the first, was brilliantly read by Alex Jennings. As for the...more
Nikki
A book which I can never be unbiased about. It's just always spoken to me, ever since I heard the radio play at the impressionable age of eight or nine or so. Funny to think I did pass it over in the library, once, aged about thirteen -- it was in an edition on its own, and I didn't want to read it like that, because I'd figured out there was an earlier book, and I hate reading things out of order.

This is where the series starts to mature a little. It's still pretty much Dark vs. Light rather th...more
Nikki
It took me a while to get round to reading this. Which I don't mind too much: reading these books is like coming home, in a way. I'll touch on that more when I review The Grey King and Silver on the Tree, I think. Anyway, again, this is a bit of an on-the-spot overview of how I felt reading this book just this time. My longer review, which really covers how I've felt about the book over the course of many rereads, is here.

The second book of the series is probably the most familiar, to me. I didn...more
Lake Oz Fic Chick
Jun 20, 2007 Lake Oz Fic Chick rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: folks who like good vs. evil fantasies
Shelves: bests-wow
"The Walker is abroad." Will Stanton hears these words on the eve of his eleventh birthday, and from the time he hears them, everything is changed. He soon learns that he is an Old One, a warrior for the Light. It is his mission to search for the six magical signs that will be needed for the world-shaking battle between the evil forces of the Dark and the Light, chronicled in this and the other four books in Cooper's The Dark is Rising series. Because you'll find these books in the children's se...more
Phoebe
There's something beautifully mysterious about the book. Perhaps intentionally, readers without an extensive knowledge of Arthurian and Welsh legend are sometimes left in the dark (pun not intended, but noted!), though this puts us in the same initial position as our young hero Will--largely clueless, but nonetheless spellbound. The Dark is Rising is beautifully written; the prose is sophisticated and rich, very descriptive. Some people on here complained that Will is a passive sort of hero, not...more
Alex Sarll
Though I remembered this as a Christmas story, it runs through to Twelfth Night, so I was going to pause for a while...except that Christmas Day ends with the nation beset by unnaturally terrible weather, transport systems paralysed, and leaving matters there when I've a train to catch today seemed most unwise. It's a far stranger book than Over Sea, Under Stone; hunting one magic item while away on holiday is standard, but for all the six ancient and powerful Signs to be located in Will Stanton...more
Dan
I think one or more of these have won Newberry Medals and are somewhat iconic in their genre. I've always intended to read them to see if they were worth it.

I was enjoying the book until she brought the "Christian" God into it and lumped Him up with every other "god," looking kindly but condescendingly on a Christian priest for his poor ignorant, narrow minded doctrines that could not see that there is a "greater" good vs evil, light vs dark that existed long before and far outside the sphere of...more
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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
More about Susan Cooper...
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) The Dark is Rising Sequence (The Dark is Rising, #1-5)

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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.” 13 likes
“Too many!' James shouted, and slammed the door behind him.” 8 likes
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