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3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  1,476 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
West and Cally, who speak different languages and come from different countries thousands of miles apart, are wrenched by catastrophe out of reality into a perilous world through which they must travel toward the sea.
Hardcover, 167 pages
Published September 1st 1983 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Feb 19, 2010 Angie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was in sixth grade I had a teacher who was a real fantasy reader. And the man could do the most excellent voices for every character. We sat enthralled at his feet as he read aloud to the entire class each day. No mean feat to keep a mess of eleven and twelve year olds' attention like that day after day. He's a huge part of the reason I love the genre and he is responsible for introducing me to so many of my all-time favorites, including (and perhaps most memorably) the incomparable Lloyd ...more
Dec 31, 2014 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I’ve been meaning to reread this one for a while. It was lovely to go back to it. It’s a bit more mature than The Dark is Rising, I think; certainly, there’s a physicality between Cally and West that isn’t even hinted at in The Dark is Rising. The first time I read it I said that this book ends perfectly, “neither too early nor too late”, and I still feel that way. It’s enough to have the promise of Cally and West’s future, at the end of the book; I don’t need to read about it, and that would ta ...more
Dec 07, 2015 Magali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Whatever happens, believe that the journey is worth taking, and then you will reach its end."

I initially picked this up because when Catherynne M. Valente tells you a book was "formative," you pick that book up. It was brilliant and I devoured it in under three hours.

So. Seaward. Seaward is what happens when Irish mythology invites Diana Wynne Jones, J.M. Barrie, the Brothers Grimm and every bit of magic left on earth over for tea and philosophy.

Cally's sick parents have gone away to a hospita
Sep 03, 2010 Wealhtheow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Madeleine L'engle, CS Lewis, Philip Pulman
Cally pushes herself through a mirror to escape an endless, unearthly voice. Westerly escapes his pursuers through a hidden doorway. They each find themselves in another world, where magic and thought have power beyond their imagining. This is very much a coming of age adventure story, full of chases and near-escapes, but it is told in such beautiful language that I found myself re-reading the descriptions of the countryside.
Dec 31, 2008 Magda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what it is about this book, but even the first time I read it, I had the feeling I'd read it before, as though it were a very old story, retold in such a way that I can't figure out what the original is.
Oct 17, 2010 Bitsy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was one of those rare children that came to Seward before I came to The Dark is Rising. So, years later, when I did an internet search with a few vague keywords during the dark hours of a read-a-thon to try and re-find this childhood novel that I half remembered I was shocked (no, seriously, shocked) to discover that it was by none other than Susan Cooper. And then… I wasn’t shocked at all.

In a lot of ways Seaward is a short story version of all the things that made The Dark is Rising so incre
This is a lovely, lovely book. The tone and quality of the writing reminds me very much of Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising sequence, although it seems in some ways more mature than that sequence. It's the first book in a while that I just couldn't put down once I got started -- I stayed up late to finish reading it. Fortunately, it's quite a quick read, so that didn't matter too much. It's also the first book in a long, long while to make me think that I couldn't actually go to Cardiff without ...more
Julia Muldoon
Dec 03, 2012 Julia Muldoon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I beleive I read this sometime in highschool when I thought reading lists where romantic and wanted summer reading. I read a lot of fiction that indicated that sutdents received summer reading lists and I was jealous and therefore hunted one down (yeah I was that kind of book nerd - English was by far my favorite subject as I adored the creativity).

Anyways, I am pretty sure this was a book I had read that summer. And I was completely captivated by it. It is one of those alternative worlds, slip
Aug 03, 2016 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, the writing itself was beautiful! This is good if you like metaphorical journeys along the lines of Narnia or Labyrinth (I couldn't stop thinking of Callie as Sarah). There's a hint of Earthsea, too, in the worldbuilding and the philosophical life and death stuff.

It wasn't the greatest read ever, a little wanting in character development and believability and.... the presence of weirdly sexual acid trip.... it's the 80's I guess? I was skeptical of how almost everyone they meet wants to he
Jan 15, 2016 Kimikimi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew of Susan Cooper because of the Dark is Rising series but I never thought to look for any of her other books. That is until a co-worker gifted it to me as a Christmas present, it was her favourite growing up which is quite an honour. I was really glad she did, it's been an incredibly long time since I've read a book that's just this...Joyful. Cooper does a really good job of blending mythology into her stories in a way that is both true to the source and also kind of new. I would recommend ...more
Janise Dava
Feb 23, 2011 Janise Dava rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I wish I had read this when I was younger, or maybe not right in the middle of a reading frenzy. I kept waiting and reading on for when the action and excitement would finally begin, but it was only until the last chapter that I felt anything substantial. I focused too much on reading into the lines because I was so desperate to connect with the characters (which never happened, disappointingly). I don't think I'll read this one again. Maybe when I'm super old or something, if it's still floatin ...more
Jan 02, 2017 Maggie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pleasure to find this writer did not stop after "The Dark is Rising " sequence. Cally and West make their way through turmoil to an uncertain future.
Marian Mayuga
I have a lot of issues with this book, but let me start with the good points. The relationship between Cally and West was a nice read, and it drove the story forward. The story seemed like some kind of metaphor for how teenagers handle grief, and I absolutely loved the advice they received on this from one of the older characters near the end. And, as a sucker for myths and fairy tales, I liked the allusions to Welsh mythology.

However, I did not like the writing style. It wanted to sound poetic
Nov 07, 2011 Cliff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is interesting because I tried very hard to enjoy the story. But in the end, it is Susan Cooper's mastery of the language and her amazing ability to write eloquent phrasing that resonates with just about any reader.

But unfortunately, I cannot look past the fact that the events of this novel are disjointed and the reader will likely find himself trying to determine what exactly is going on through the first 2/3rd of the book.

If anything, I think it was my fond memories of the Dark Is Ri
Kristen Smith
Jul 27, 2016 Kristen Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5, not 4. The summary I read said that the main characters were the heirs from two different warring kingdoms. Had this been the case, the story would have had more to it and could have garnered a solid 4 or even a 5. As it is, the main characters are just random strangers in a strange land by accident (yes, their parents had some distant magical roots, but that only serves to get our characters into this strange land). The novel is full of metaphor and probably allegory, so don't expect a typ ...more
Jens Walter
Eigentlich hat dieses Buch alles, was ich mir von ihm wünschte: Sympathische Charaktere, ein fantastische Welt, geheimnisvoll mit unserer verbunden, und viele schöne Ideen, Orte und Wesen.
Und trotzdem will der Funke nicht so richtig überspringen. Sobald eine Idee sich andeutet und sich die Bilder vor dem inneren Auge entfalten, hetzt das Buch bereits weiter. Dem Leser bleibt nie Zeit, sich alles genau anzusehen. Ich bin kein Freund von Tolkiens endlosem Redefluss. Aber wo er durch endlose Beschr
Jul 29, 2016 Tirzah rated it it was ok
Shelves: juvenile-fantasy
Like many other readers, I first heard of Susan Cooper through her wonderful The Dark is Rising sequence and then went on to read two other of her works. I decided to read Seaward because it was of course by Susan Cooper and the plot seemed interesting. The first few chapters intrigued me and then I started losing interest a little before halfway. I became sick at that time, so I do not know if I was too distracted to fully appreciate the story and its subtle metaphors and morals, but I just cou ...more
My best friend in junior high and high school had me read this probably almost two decades ago now. I always remembered it fondly, because I loved it when I read it. I didn't quite get everything then (I know more about mythology and whatnot now), but it stayed with me. And I've looked for it for years. And then, last year, Ann C. bestowed upon me the copy she'd found in WA. And I just now reread it. It was very satisfying. I still enjoyed it, and it's such a peculiar little book. I still love P ...more
May 29, 2012 Anne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: youth-mg-ya
In this odd little book Cooper fuzzes up the details of the story to present less of a fantasy novel and more of a fable or an allegory, with a generic boy and generic girl traveling to an unspecified dream reality to be told life truths by brother life and sister death. The writing is strong, and many of the Big Ideas told to the children by their guides through this dream reality are well put and just right for a young teen. My personal preference however is for the immersive specificity of a ...more
Maya Chhabra
I read this on the recommendation of the same friend as The Winter Prince, but this one wasn't as much of a success. I really liked the first half, with its mysterious urgency and perils, as we struggle, like Callie and West, to understand the rules of this new world and the reason for their journey. Everything through the mysterious castle was marvelous and all of a piece, but once we got to Callie and West's journey through the desert, the tension dropped, and the allegorical ending was a bit ...more
Apr 16, 2014 Rachel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few months ago, something reminded me of this book. I couldn't remember the name of the book or the author, just that one of the character's names was "Westerly". After some googling, I found it, and bought it for my Kindle. I definitely enjoyed re-reading a book that was an absolute favorite of mine when I was about 11 or 12. The story was shorter and a bit shallower than I remembered, but this makes sense, given that I was a young adult when I read it the first time. Cally and West are inter ...more
Feb 28, 2012 Marsha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This engaging story by Susan Cooper, The Dark Rising series, is filled with myth, legend and mystery as Westerly and Cally find themselves thrust into an unknown world. Westerly and Cally have suffered family loss. Both have come into this new, mysterious world alone. As their paths cross, Westerly and Cally continue together on their quest for the sea facing dangers as they travel through forests, deserts and high mountain peaks.

Guided by Lugan, tested by Taranis and befriended by the loyal Pet
Susanne E
Mar 21, 2014 Susanne E rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I remember reading this book a million years ago and LOVING it, but I couldn't remember what it was called for the longest time. Today it popped up at work so I can read it again!

Someone on FB said she had the same experience with this book and wondered why it was so memorable yet so forgettable. After reading it for the second time, I kind of see why. The writing is beautiful and there are some classic life/death, good/evil, sun/moon things going on, but in the end I'm not really sure what it's
Miss Clark
Susan Cooper is a master at atmosphere, but I rarely connect with her characters. This was again my largest difficulty with enjoying this story, as I wanted to know so much more about West and Cally. About their families, where they come from and what their lives are. But we get thrown into the story even as they are thrust from our world into a separate dimension that together they traverse as they head seaward, encountering figures of myth and legend.

It has an otherworldly tone and feel to it
Kevin Fanning
I waffled between 2 & 3 stars. Read this at the beach as primer for reach the The Dark is Rising Sequence, because I hadn't read any Susan Cooper before.

This was a good yarn in the "2 kids thrown together on a journey, beset by a different trouble each chapter" vein. Well written, quick read. Didn't blow me away but it was fun. Wish I'd read it when I was younger, I guess.

It was kind of admirable that she glossed over some really interesting details that more boring writers would have writ
Alison MacAdam
Oct 11, 2007 Alison MacAdam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SEAWARD is a less-known novel of Susan Cooper's, and one which bears out her claim that she doesn't explicitly write for kids. She writes; her editors tell her what age her books are meant for. It combines a child's (or teenager's) fantastic adventure tale with some adult themes - everything from sex to the saddest sort of loss. Very strange reading this book again for the first time since I was a kid. While it's not such a captivating page-turner as the books in The Dark is Rising sequence, it' ...more
Dec 31, 2010 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 29, 2009 Erika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure what to expect when my roommate in college had me read this, but I was so glad she did. It has become one of my favorite books. Watching the relationship between West and Cally develop is beautiful as they try to figure out each other and the unexplainable world they wake up to one morning. The symbolism in their journey is phenomenal and the characters they meet from the caring Peth to the frighteningly powerful Lady Taranis are richly developed. I highly recommend this book.
Oct 23, 2011 mstan rated it liked it
I found this story a bit strange, more an allegory than a fantasy. Two children's parents have died, and they find themselves in a strange land, having to head 'seaward', and in the process, having to overcome several monster. There is a touch of Alice in Wonderland here, with a lot more sadness. There is also a budding romance between the young ones, which seems rather out of place in the narrative.

Now that I've offered a synopsis, nothing seems really odd about this book - but the way it's tol
Again, Cooper at her best. This book is a metaphor, taken in its entirety. Broken up, it's a compelling love story that makes you think you're not quite in your own world--that there's something veiled over you that you can't quite grab. Celtic mythology is woven into this book as well, more subtly than Dark is Rising, yet still tangible enough to give you a sense of the fantastic overlaying the realistic.
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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...

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“They had nothing to eat but Ryan's food, and they ate little of that because it was so dry, but it seemed to sustain them. Their greatest worry was water. Though they drank only a little each day, Westerly's flask was empty and the bottle in Cally's pack now only half-full.

"I wish I was a camel," Cally said.

Westerly said, "I wouldn't want
to spend this much time with a girl who looked like a camel."

She tried to laugh, but her tongue felt thick in her mouth, and her mind full of hopelessness. "When this is gone, we shall just die of thirst."

"We'll be out of the dunes by then," Westerly said encouragingly. But he knew that the mountains, though nearer now on the hazy horizon, were far more than a day's walk away.”
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