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3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,778 ratings  ·  80 reviews
His name is West. Her name is Cally. They speak different languages and come from different countries thousands of miles apart, but they do not know that. What they do know are the tragedies that took their parents, then wrenched the two of them out of reality, into a strange and perilous world through which they must travel together, knowing only that they must reach the ...more
Paperback, 167 pages
Published April 30th 1987 by Simon Pulse (first published September 1st 1983)
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3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,778 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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Feb 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short, subdued novel which packs an astonishing amount of emotional punch. With its fantastic journey toward growth and (self-)discovery, Seaward feels like a sister of The Neverending Story: sometimes younger, sometimes older.

I loved the way it skips between the grave and the grinning:

"I don't remember my father," he said. "Maybe he's alive, somewhere. My mother said they kept him on an island. They took him away when I was a baby."
Cally stared. "They?"
"The army," Westerly said. "They run thi
Dec 31, 2014 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
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
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
2017 update: still a very good read.


"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.

Feb 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Pop Bop
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Sneaky, Sneaky Cooper

This is a little known Cooper gem that has undoubtedly been overshadowed by Cooper's classic "Dark is Rising" sequence. So, appropriately enough given its themes and structure, it lurks in the shadows waiting to be discovered by Cooper completists. Cooper has written other books as well, including her successful Boggart books for younger readers, so "Seaward" keeps drifting lower and lower on the Cooper search return list. Congratulations on finding this book. And what have
When two children find themselves carried away from a set of catastrophes too haunting to accept, into a world just as complicated as perilous they each are filled with a desire to find the answer to their being there and set off Seaward. Both Cally and West begin their journeys alone and the land they cross is full of a magic and people beyond the realm of their understanding yet there is something about the reality which they are unquestionably a part of.
The more I reflect on Seaward, the mor
Raven Stromdans
This pretty different from the way I remembered it from reading in my childhood. That said, all I could really remember from this book was a reference to "the girl with the selkie hands". This is a very different form of prose than I what I more commonly read now; much more description and long passages of narrative flow compared to more contemporary fiction that I find tends to read a lot faster because it's so often broken up with more dialogue and more centered on action than description.

In t
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another charmer from Susan Cooper. West and Cally both arrive in a strange country by different means, after their parents leave them. They both feel they must go to the sea. But as they struggle through the country, they are blocked by some inimical figures: Taranis, the Stonecutter, and the desert itself. But they are also helped by others: Rhiannon and her birds, Lugan, Peth and Snake. When they reach the seashore, they have to make a decision - to go home or to stay.
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
I love Susan Cooper's fantasy worlds, and The Dark is Rising is a masterpiece. This one not so much in my opinion. I found the Celtic world forced, the developing relationship between the two protagonists a bit too contrived, and the plot a bit too wandering to hold me. She does create an interesting world (as always), but this is more of a "leave it under the bed" novel to me.
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Another unique fantasy novel. Picked in up as a YA book, but once again it deals with adult type ideas. At first it seems to be the typical "on a journey" fantasy novel, but it throws several twist in that make it anything but typical.
Anna Konneker
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoy Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising sequence, so I wanted to try another of her books. Very good story, good pacing, and good writing. If you like Cooper's style, this is a must read.
Strange, beautiful, somewhat frustrating.

I really do wonder if this had any influence on Will and Lyra.
Sujuvasti luettu matkakertomus fantasiamaailmassa. Kirjan alkupuoli tuntui paremmalta - kiinnostus hieman hiipui loppupuolelle mentäessä, mutta ihan Ok kaiken kaikkiaan, vaikka en ihan kuulukaan kohderyhmään.
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know that I read this at some point after I devoured The Dark is Rising series. I couldn't remember the plot or anything, though, making this perfect "rereads" material. (I absolutely love The Dark Is Rising and Silver on the Tree. If you haven't read them, run to your local library and check out a copy because they are fabulous.) Basically, Seaward is a lovely fantasy novel with a lot of Welsh mythology references. I really liked Callie and her girl power attitude. West was pretty sweet, too. ...more
Marian Mayuga
Jun 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Nila Duggan
Jan 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-fantasy, favorites
I first read this book in middle school, I am pretty sure I ended up "borrowing" it from the teacher indefinitely. I read it over and over, and it was definitely one of my favorite books from that time period in my life.

Curious, I decided to read it again at 32, wondering if it would still hold the same meaning as it did when I was a child. It did, does, and will continue to remain one of my favorite books.

Reading it as an adult vs a child, I was definitely more able to see the lessons and all
Nov 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
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 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 06, 2011 rated it liked it
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 rated it liked it
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
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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
“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.”
More quotes…