The Weirdstone Of Brisingamen
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The Weirdstone Of Brisingamen (Tales of Alderley #1)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  3,067 ratings  ·  212 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 140 knights.
Hardcover, 50th anniversary edition , 320 pages
Published 2010 by HarperCollins Children's Books (first published 1960)
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Robyn
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...more
Sandy
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
S.
This book suffered from my being so very familiar with Lord of the Rings, because the writing style is so similar as to teeter on the brink of rip-off.

I did really get into it though, some of the descriptions are excruciatingly vivid.
There is a whole section where our heroes have to worm themselves through narrow underground passageways with hardly any room to turn and it was unbelievably claustrophobic.

The writing does soar most in these descriptions and descriptions of nature: The writer was b...more
Bill Bridges
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...more
Caroline Foster
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...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
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...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...more
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
Brenda Clough
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
Jesse Owen
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
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
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 "Ma...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,...more
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
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
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
Veronica
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
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
Michele
I loved this book as a child and still re-read it regularly, but oh don't I wish I had ANY other edition than this cheesy Star Wars knock-off cover. I mean really, what were they thinking? Anything farther from Star Wars it would be hard to imagine. Hiss boo on the lemming art director at Ace Books who said, "Shoot yeah, why not make Cadellin's brother look like Darth Vader?" Because of course the space-age Sith have sooo much in common with the Yorkshire moors.

That aside, it's still an awesome...more
Nadine
I loved the beginning. It was enchanting, the language, the idea, the mystery, the ... everything. I even came to understand that one of my favorite books, Eragon, didn't just take ideas from Lord of the Rings but definitely this book, too. And I was ok with it, because this book was sooo good. But then I had finished half of it [SPOILER] and I realized that the last half of the book will be the journey. And the journey was boring. There were interesting highlights, like the lady of the lake or...more
Laura
I read this as a child and had very fond but fuzzy memories of it. I saw it in my local library last week and decided to give it a re-read.

This is widely regarded as a classic of children's fantasy fiction, and while it will feel very familiar to readers of Tolkien (elves, dwarves, wizards etc) it is also grounded in the English county of 1950s when it is set. The two children make for engaging enough leads, and I was especially pleased with Susan's boldness.

There are some 50 pages of so entirel...more
Sharon Kennedy
I treated myself to the 50th anniversary edition of this just before Christmas. It's a book I've always loved, and re-reading it brought back all the thrill of reading it for the first time. There are two children, a wizard, dwarves, elves, svarts, a mysterious stone and sleeping knights - wonderful!!!
Highly recommended for children of all ages.
Robert Day
The author was 23 when he started writing this book in 1957. Lord of the Rings had been published a couple of years before; publishers were on the look-out for something similar; this book was unleashed onto the paying public shortly afterwards.
Decades later, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are (several) blockbuster movies and I see this book on a list of audiobooks available to listen as I walk to work in the dark.
Ring becomes stone, hobbits become small children, evil becomes evil, and wizard...more
Cooper Renner
I don't know when I first read this--in high school maybe, after reading Tolkien and becoming interested in fantasy instead of, or in addition to, science fiction. This is ostensibly for children, though, and as such it might be even a 5-star book. Removed, though, from its time period (first published in 1960!) and its intended audience, it seems "less," perhaps because so many later books have used similar themes and modes. But Garner is almost sui generis. By 1967 he was publishing The Owl Se...more
Will Williams
Much to recommend in this book, but for this reader it is a novel let down by a lack of characterisation. It has an incredible sense of place and the way the fantasy elements are drawn into such a real landscape meant the action is never less than tense and real. However, I failed to really ever care, due mainly to the cardboard cut out characters, particularly with regard to the children. The storytelling is very linear, with little explanation of character motivation or of why the fantasy and...more
M.A. Kropp
I picked this up after seeing Neil Gaiman mention it in a blog post, or some other online posting. It was published originally in 1960, and is, I suppose, a children's book. It is not a simple book, written to be read quickly and forgotten.

The story centers on Colin and Susan, who are sent to the village of Alderley in rural Cheshire, to stay with Gowther and Bess Mossock while their parents are abroad. The Mossock's farm is old-fashioned, as is the village and its population. While exploring th...more
Sam
Finally finished this one.

I have got to be honest, I didn't enjoy all of it, and found it quite easy to put down in parts, although it was rather engaging in other parts.

The narrative didn't flow at a steady peace throughout but varied from slow and stumbling to quick-quick-oh-no-I-am-not-quite-sure-that-I-can-keep-up!

I don't think that the whole thing was explained very well either, why had the children's mother sent them away? What happened after the end which was rush, battle, Argh, and sto...more
Christine
As an English graduate and Tolkien fanatic, I'm embarrassed not to have known about this book and author until recently. This is deservedly a classic.
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Radio 6 31 Feb 16, 2013 03:48PM  
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47991
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
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