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The Weirdstone Of Brisingamen (Tales of Alderley #1)

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,633 Ratings  ·  289 Reviews
When Colin and Susan are pursued by eerie creatures across Alderley Edge, they are saved by the Wizard. He takes them into the caves of Fundindelve, where he watches over the enchanted sleep of one hundred and forty knights. But the heart of the magic that binds them - Firefrost, also known as the Weirdstone of Brisingamen - has been lost. The Wizard has been searching for ...more
Paperback, 264 pages
Published July 15th 1992 by Collins (first published 1960)
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Megan Hill Absolutely! This was assigned reading for me in grade 6.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Robyn
Mar 29, 2012 Robyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book of my childhood. I remember the first few chapters of it being read to me during the library sessions at school when I was seven and it was the first fantasy book I ever checked out all by myself (I had to know what happened!).

Unlike a lot of fantasy books for children, I remember being quite genuinely frightened during parts of this which was thrilling. I still re-read this occasionally and each time am transported back to that sense of wonder and adventure I felt when I was a ve
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Bill Bridges
Jan 10, 2013 Bill Bridges rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my treasured classics. I recently re-read it in the 50th anniversary edition. I was nervous about approaching it again, since I haven't read it in years and I was afraid it might not hold up as well to adult eyes. It performed miraculously.

I first read the book when I was, oh, 12? I was home sick and read it cover to cover. I couldn't put it down and was completely swept away. It was the first book I'd ever encountered where magic and myth were still alive in the contemporary wor
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Caroline Foster
Oct 12, 2013 Caroline Foster rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whenever I’m asked to name my favourite children’s author, the answer has to be Alan Garner. I’ve recently reread all his children’s books, and read some of his adult books for the first time, but of all of them my favourite remains the first book of his I read as a child, the Weirdstone of Brisingamen.

In the introduction to the fiftieth anniversary edition of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, published in 2010, Philip Pullman said of Garner that:

‘Garner is indisputably the great originator, the mo
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Sandy
Nov 08, 2011 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Purportedly written for children but with a strong appeal for adults as well, Alan Garner's first novel, "The Weirdstone of Brisingamen," is a swashbuckling heroic fantasy set in the present day, and one that conflates elements of Welsh, Nordic and English mythology into one very effective brew. Though now deemed a classic of sorts, I probably would never have heard of this work, had it not been for Scottish author Muriel Gray's article about it in the excellent overview volume "Horror: Another ...more
Richard Waddington
Sep 15, 2015 Richard Waddington rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I have probably read this book more times than any other. It is a favourite from the later stages of my childhood, but I have read it (more than once) as an adult and still enjoyed it immensely.

My early forays into the Alderley Edge that Alan Garner writes about here, filled me with dread. The landscape itself is just as scary as the evil characters in the book. For me, Garner manages to achieve just the right tone throughout the story - eerie menace and an awareness that there are many things h
...more
proxyfish
Aug 04, 2015 proxyfish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed for the Blast from the Past feature on my blog - Books by Proxy

5 Stars

I remember my mum sitting on the edge of my bed, my hands clutching at the covers, as she told me the tale of Colin and Susan and their adventures with goblins and demon dogs, with warlocks, witches and wizards, and the forces for good and evil. I remember my heart beating faster, my eyes widening in anticipation, as the heroes started out on an adventure which was equal parts exciting, enthralling and terrifying. I w
...more
Nikki
I remember reading some of Alan Garner's books when I was much younger. I found them creepy as hell then, and he certainly does know what kinds of images to evoke to have that feeling of danger and creepiness. There's a lot of claustrophobia in this book -- tunnels and water-filled passages and being packed in tight. There are parts of the description that are just brilliant.

The mythology aspects are pretty cool, too. The references to Ragnarok, etc. I don't know whether it's that whole 'younger
...more
Leah
An odd, simple children's book that meanders somewhere quite impressive.

There are a lot of things I'd love to know about this world, especially how the magical bits fit into the everyday bits - at one stage they're on their epic journey from the farmhouse to the hill, hiding from evil enemies in the skies and the dark, and they hear cars driving past on a normal road. What do these people think? Have any of them seen the weird things going on around them? Why doesn't Alan Garner tell me these th
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Mitchell
Alan Garner is widely considered one of England’s most beloved children’s authors, so naturally I had to investigate what the fuss was about. The problem with beloved children’s authors is that a lot of people love them because they were raised on them, and if you come onto the scene decades later as an adult, you may fail to see what the appeal is, only to be met with wintry glares from everybody else, trying to enjoy their nostalgia binge.

That’s certainly how I feel about The Weirdstone of Bri
...more
Rebecca Douglass
Alan Garner's exciting--and somewhat dark--tale of a magical threat to the world blends magical and real worlds in a manner reminiscent of Narnia. However, unlike Lewis's books, where the characters travel distinctly between the worlds, in Garner's novel the worlds interact continually and the boundaries are indistinct.

Set in Cheshire (England), The Weirdstone of Brisingamen tells of Colin and Susan, brother and sister, who stumble into the magical world that exists under and around the everyda
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GaryandRuth
As a book for children it is fast-paced and full of adventure. The action centres upon Alderly Edge and introduces the legend of the Sleeping Warriors who await the call of the Once an Future King to rise and defend England once more.

As an adult reading a book written for children, I find myself enjoying the archetypal dwarves and being frustrated at the stereotypical children who are the heroes of the book.

All in all, the book had made me want to find out more about the legend of the Sleeping K
...more
Mathew
Although a little difficult to follow at times, this is nonetheless an great example of an adventure story whose pace and excitement beats many that are to be found in bookstores today. Alan is famed for stating that he thinks this, his first novel, of poor quality but I still think it stands head and shoulders above much literature for children out there. I can see his criticism when compared to Red Shift or The Owl Service yet I still have a great love for this book mainly because of Garner's ...more
Melinda Szymanik
Jan 03, 2015 Melinda Szymanik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this as a child and it formed an important part of my early reading diet that spurred me on to becoming a writer myself. I remember being somewhat frustrated by the ending back then and found the same again now. While matters come to something of a conclusion so much is unresolved and I recall the second book didn't really fix things for me. Perhaps I will give that a second go too.

This reads now as a bit LOTR lite/derivative. As a child I found the journey through the tunnels and
...more
Brenda Clough
Aug 04, 2012 Brenda Clough rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was written as a sort of answer to LORD OF THE RINGS, and my! It is thrilling. A wonderful book for people who need more high fantasy after working through Tolkien The only flaw with it is that the third volume is only this year (2012) coming out!
Nancy Ellis
After reading the other reviews praising this book, I almost feel guilty for giving it only three stars! Maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind when reading it, or maybe I was in too much of a rush, but I just didn't enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed so many other children's books. I was not able to "get into" the plot or the characters. Then again, I know I would have loved this as a child, when I couldn't get enough books with this theme, and perhaps one of these days I'll revisit it an ...more
Annie
Review of The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, 1960, by Alan Garner

Annie’s choice for Secret Gardeners September 2015 category Children / YA



Nostalgic, reassuring. A little dull.

This is a small tale of two children who hold the key to winning a battle between good and evil, played out in the lore-rich stony landscape of Alderly Edge in Cheshire.

There is an Arthurian-loaded legend of knights sleeping for generations beneath the hill, waiting to be woken ‘when England shall be in direst peril, and Engla
...more
Jesse Owen
Sep 28, 2010 Jesse Owen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-review
I’m not really sure where to start with this review, I mean from the description from Amazon it sounded interesting and the mention of the word Wizard made me think – yay! And after seeing many good reviews for the book on Amazon (mostly five star) I thought I would enjoy it. But it left me slightly dissapointed. :(

For a start the story reminded me of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (one of the only books (I only tried to read the first one) I wasn’t able to finish) – the map at the start only rei
...more
Robert
Jun 16, 2012 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, children-s
I have to admit, in recent months I sometimes felt that I may have already discovered most of the authors destined to be among my favourites. It is a strangely disappointing feeling.

And then I saw this book in a book shop, and the blurbs on the back were by Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, Michel Faber... for a book that is 50 years old and that I had never heard of. It's not even available on Kindle, so I had to break with my habits of only buying ebooks to get my hands on a copy.

And it was worth i
...more
Steve Smy
May 31, 2013 Steve Smy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner, is one of my all time favourite children's books, together with the sequel, The Moon of Gomrath . They had a profound impact on me, such that when we holidayed in the Peak District, and I was an adult, I had an overwhelming desire to visit Alderley Edge (which sadly never happened). The adventures of Colin and Susan - sometimes frightening - are told at the perfect pace for younger readers. The connections to fairy tales, legends and the ancient " ...more
Natasha Hurley-Walker
Enjoyed the start, as I used to work at Jodrell Bank so know the area pretty well! But it's all so very predictable. Heirloom passed down through generations turns out to be magical artifact? Check. Wet and personality-free children essential to facing down evil and fulfilling ancient prophecy? Check. Heroic dwarven sidekicks? Check. Annoying written regional accents? Check. Evil-but-never-explained-why baddies with unpronounceable Norse-ish and Welsh-ish names? Check.

As for the actual content,
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Courtney Johnston
This is one of those classic books - like Susan Cooper's 'The Dark is Rising' - that I didn't read as a child. My parents were not readers and although we had a wonderful school librarian, my reading was not strongly directed. I developed quite early on a sense of what one "should" read and pursued it (in 3rd form I loved Umberto Eco's 'The Name of the Rose', gave 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles' my best shot and gave up on both 'Wuthering Heights' and 'Jane Eyre', never to return) but there's a few ...more
Chris
Dec 26, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Reading this at the end of the sixties, fresh from the enjoyment of The Lord of the Rings, I felt confused and slightly underwhelmed. Despite its nod to Arthurian legend (sleeping king, Wild Hunt, sage wizard) and genuine sense of menace I missed the complexity of Tolkien’s saga, with its multiple locations, characters and interweave of plots. Nor did it share the light touch of The Hobbit despite featuring two youngsters in their early teens. Perhaps the book’s misfortune was to be of its time, ...more
Nigel
Oct 31, 2014 Nigel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I haven't read this in a long, long time, but it was very much a favourite of mine, and I think I'm beginning to really appreciate why. Actually, it's almost shocking: I was not prepared for how Tolkeiny it is. You have dwarves, you have elves (unseen), you have orcish monsters and trolls, a piece of jewelry as plot-token and a wise old wizard in a beard and robes; there are woods and mines and lakes and aid from a mysterious lady of great beauty and power. In other words, tons of Northern Europ ...more
Caroline Bennett
I think unfortunately it is a bit like Star Wars. You have to experience it as a child to truly get it. It was very original, and the structure was totally different from loads of children’s literature. But I had to keep going back trying to work out who people like Slinkveal and Lodur were. At one point I was trying to work out who Limbhewer was only to realise it was a nickname of one of the dwarves, Durathror. At least I think he was a dwarf. At one point I thought he was an elf but then I de ...more
Veronica
Feb 03, 2013 Veronica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was one of the talismanic books of my childhood -- I still have my three-and-sixpenny Puffin edition, judging by which, I must have read it for the first time when I was about nine. It doesn't stand the test of time quite as well as I'd hoped, but I still vividly remember how engrossing and terrifying Alan Garner's books were then. I loved the mythical element too. What struck me this time, which probably didn't when I originally read it, was how Susan is implicitly linked to the old (femal ...more
Susan
Feb 01, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, juvenile, 2016
Magical! This story is a cross between Tolkien's Middle Earth, Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series and Arthurian legends. Quite an adventure for the 2 children in the story who encounter their fair share of wizards, dwarfs, dark, nasty dark things and a magical stone, all wrapped up in a spooky atmosphere. Good stuff!
Jane
Jan 23, 2016 Jane rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I like a good swear every once in a while, but oh, boy, the oaths in The Weirdstone had me rolling my eyes. Did anyone, anywhere, at any time, talk like this? Or it is just fictional wizard-speak? By the ribbons of Mokuba! By the hat of Lilydache! Come. ON. As for the rest, Weirdstone veered between Tolkien on a bad day and a tedious game of underground snakes and ladders. Couldn't WAIT to put this one down.
Abigail Hilton
I started this book because I knew it had a place in the history of children's fantasy literature. I got about 80 pages into the book, then gave up and skimmed the rest. I think that, as a child, I might have enjoyed it, but it's not the kind of children's literature that stands up to an adult read. Much of the plot seemed derivative, and the characters are utterly flat. Susan, the girl, was particularly annoying - always weaker and more squeamish than her brother, always first to run away or cr ...more
Lisabet Sarai
Sep 07, 2013 Lisabet Sarai rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book held me spellbound when I was in my teens. I remember my palpable sense of dread as I followed Susan's and Colin's flight from the evil morthbrood and the disgusting svarts, the vivid images the book evoked of trudging across blank fields of snow under the surveillance of black birds in the service of the Dark One. I had nightmares for weeks.

I picked it off my shelf to reread (I've carried it with me for forty years or more), curious to see whether it would have the same impact on my a
...more
Alicia Papp
Feb 17, 2016 Alicia Papp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A re-read of one of my childhood favourites. Still a fabulous story, even after all this time!
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Alan Garner OBE (born 17 October 1934) is an English novelist who is best known for his children's fantasy novels and his retellings of traditional British folk tales. His work is firmly rooted in the landscape, history and folklore of his native county of Cheshire, North West England, being set in the region and making use of the native Cheshire dialect.

Born into a working-class family in Conglet
...more
More about Alan Garner...

Other Books in the Series

Tales of Alderley (3 books)
  • The Moon of Gomrath (Tales of Alderley, #2)
  • Boneland (Tales of Alderley, #3)

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