Alex's Reviews > The Dark is Rising

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
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's review
Jan 08, 08

bookshelves: for-children
Read in December, 2007

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 Wrinkle In Time, which I read immediately preceding this.) The forces of the Dark are unfortunately kept pretty vague, and Will's quest seemed too easy throughout, as if it were merely happening to him, but I enjoyed the careful placement of details and the large number of important supporting characters, including 8 siblings.

I need to mention here that the book uses much Christian imagery, has several crucial scenes take place in a church, and is set almost entirely during Christmas time, but I was impressed by how little this bothered me -- it has hardly the blatant Christian overtones of C.S. Lewis or Madeleine L'Engle. (Again, another favorable comparison with A Wrinkle In Time.) Furthermore, one character makes the point that the traditions involved predate Christianity, and indeed this book should appeal to anyone interested in the Pagan origins of Christmas.
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Megan Wow, I never even thought of the similarities between Will and Harry Potter! Interesting. I did think of A Wrinkle in Time, which is one of my favorite books ever.

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