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The Weirdstone of Brisingamen

(Tales of Alderley #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  6,303 ratings  ·  409 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, 288 pages
Published April 15th 1998 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1960)
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3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,303 ratings  ·  409 reviews

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Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Bill Bridges
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Susan possess a magical jewel - the Weirdstone, which puts her and her brother in danger from the followers of the High Magic.

This story is set in Alderley Edge - a place in which magic and ordinary life mix together.
They are hunted by a shape-shifting witch - the Morrigan and her band of evil creatures.

The Wizard Cadellin needs the Weirdstone to protect the world from evil.

We meet all manner of evil creatures, even ordinary humans can be bad, but when least expected the children are rescued by
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Caroline Foster
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You need to meet a book at the right age. Some authors, I think you have to experience at the right age to get the optimal experience. I read Tolkien, Lovecraft and the Beats way too late. I love these writers, but I don't carry them in my heart the way that many of my friends do. (Although I am crazily in love with the books of John Christopher) I don't think it's just that you're more receptive to stuff when you're younger. There are some writers I read as a younger person that I wasn't ready ...more
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
Jun 02, 2015 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
Laure Eve
Jul 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-stars
Such an important, underrated book. Pure, beautiful, terrifying, magical fantasy.

Oh, and the scene in the mines I'm fairly sure is responsible for my mild claustrophobia. No, really.
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
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
Probably my favourite audiobook. Philip Madoc's voice is PERFECT, as is the accompanying music. Along with the story, this audiobook is PERFECTION. In fact, I used to go to sleep listening to it. I well and truly love it.

This time around I listened to this with my kids. Unfortunately, they didn't love it like I do. My 10 year old son said he didn't really understand it, so he gave it 3 stars. My 16 year old son also gave it 3 stars. But I'm the one that counts (damnit), so I'm keeping it at 5.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A million years ago and it was awesome!
Jan 11, 2012 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
Rebecca Douglass
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, sf-fantasy
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
Arisawe Hampton
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 10, 2013 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
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
"Clothed in the featureless snow, the countryside seemed vast; limitless as a desert, and as silent as a mine, the land offered no cover." (p.246)

Originally published in 1960, this was a popular children's book when I was growing up. I didn't get around to reading it until this year, 2017. I was always curious about it and I'd read good things about Garner's writing, specifically his depictions of nature. Unfortunately, it wasn't as good as I'd imagined, but that's probably down to my reading it
Elizabeth Ducie
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I first came across Alan Garner’s debut novel, not as a book, but as a serial on the Home Service (the forerunner of BBC Radio 4) in 1963 and it had such an effect on me that even now, more than fifty years later, I still feel the urge to hide if I see a flock of crows flying in my direction – and on the one occasion I travelled to Alderly Edge for a meeting, I could hardly concentrate on the proceedings inside for staring out of the window at the scenery and noisy bird life.

In a retelling of th
Natasha Hurley-Walker
Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
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,
Stephen Curran
A pretty flimsy bit of fantasy literature for children, since disowned by its author. It begins well enough, with the young siblings Susan and Colin arriving in Alderley and picking up clues in the rural landscape about a mythic wizard. The tension builds nicely as the mystery thickens. But as soon as the wizard materialises all sense of restraint is lost, and the contemporary setting all but disappears behind a cut-and-paste cast of dwarves and elves and knights. The Weirdstone provides the uni ...more
Brenda Clough
Aug 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
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!
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
When I first read The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, I found it horribly disappointing after all the hype. Even back then, I noted that the beginning was promising and that there are some wonderfully evocative scenes of claustrophobia and fear… but the mythology, and particularly the mash-up of different mythologies without apparent meaning — someone called Grimnir appears, but he’s the twin of a wizard and did not really strike me as being intended to evoke Odin, for example — bothered me.

I have to
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little confusing at times for my 7 year old, but some lovely writing
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
High fantasy children's book. This is a strange one, at times it felt like it was doing to fantasy what 'Alien' or 'Red Dwarf' did to sci-fi. It makes things just seem very mundane, not boring, just oddly normal and unglamorous, i quite liked those parts.
It reminded me of Over Sea, Under Stone until about the 15% mark when the author just decided to give up and steal as much of The Lord of the Rings as he could get away with, which turned out to be a LOT :P .
The entire rest of the book is one l
Weirdstone is a book I read and loved as a child, teen and young adult. I've not picked it up for years, but having known that Garner had published a third part to the series which I then found at the library, I thought I ought to read Weirdstone and Moon of Gomrath to refresh my memory of the story.

I loved Garner's use of the Cheshire countryside in the book. I lived in Chester for a couple of years and have visited the Alderly Edge area a few times. Garner's description of this quintessentiall
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hard to get into, I only read this for school but I found it wonderful and in bringing true heroism into children's books it changed my view of the world.

Alan Garner instills his love of Welsh stories into the reader as his brother and sister hero and heroine battle ancient Welsh forces who have awoken.

The next in the series, The Moon of Gomrath, is perhaps Garner's last truly heroic story. The final book in the series, Boneland, was published 52 years after the first, and faithfully continues t
Jan 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: celtic-myth
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
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner 1 14 Jul 05, 2015 03:00PM  
Radio 6 34 Feb 16, 2013 03:48PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Tales of Alderley (3 books)
  • The Moon of Gomrath (Tales of Alderley, #2)
  • Boneland (Tales of Alderley, #3)
“The deed is nothing. It is the thought that breeds fear; and we achieve little by lingering.” 5 likes
“At dawn one still October day in the long ago of the world, across the hill of Alderley, a farmer from Mobberley was riding to Macclesfield fair.” 1 likes
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