Trin's Reviews > The Dark is Rising

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
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it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy, childrens, english-lit

Reread. I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie—and more importantly, I saw Darcy's furious reaction to the trailer for the upcoming movie, and I realized that I didn't remember these books well enough to be properly furious myself. I read the first two in the series, in the wrong order, when I was much younger, but didn't recall being particularly engaged by them, which was why I never continued. I figured that, rereading them as an adult, I'd see the error of my ways.

Sadly, I didn't. I still don't find these books very engaging. Over Sea Under Stone is, as even Darcy admits, only so-so: the setting is great (the rambling old Cornish house, the standing stones perched on their cliffs, the sea-cave), and at least one of the siblings (Barney) is spunky and entertaining, yet the treasure hunt-plot is oddly slow, and the conclusion completely unsatisfying in my mind. (They give the grail to a museum and get 100 quid? Barney has his "Dude! Merlin!" revelation? Yawn.) I thought The Dark Is Rising would be better, but it didn't do much for me, either. There's a lot of portentous stuff, but I felt that every scrape Will gets into he gets out of either through the intervention of an adult or thanks to a deus ex machina. Meanwhile, the Dark Rider and the Dark in general seemed oddly unthreatening to me, while being an agent of the Light did not seem particularly exciting or pleasurable. I never wished I was there: with, say, the Narnia books, I wanted SO BADLY to go through a wardrobe or a painting of my own, even if it was dangerous; but being an Old One mostly seems dull and chanty to me, to the point that if the position were offered on craigslist, I think I might pass. What is wrong with me?

Because I really do feel, having this reaction, that there must be something wrong with me and not the books: so many people—and people whose opinions I trust—love them. Oh well. I suppose I didn't like The Lord of the Rings, either.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
August 1, 2007 – Finished Reading
August 14, 2007 – Shelved
August 14, 2007 – Shelved as: fantasy
August 26, 2007 – Shelved as: childrens
November 26, 2008 – Shelved as: english-lit

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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Rachel Thank you for this review! I'm just finishing this book myself and I'm having the exact same reaction as you did: "What is wrong with me that I don't adore this book?!" Knowing that there's another person out there that feels the same way I do helps me not feel guilty for not finishing the series...;)

Brian I have attempted to read these series several times. At least once as a kid, once as a teen, once as a college student and once as an adult. I have never been, as you said, "engaged" by them either. I read The Grey King as part a book report in and I liked elements of it, but also realized it was the second book in the series and so years later I tried to read Over Sea, Under Stone and after several hours had only finished 30 pages, but took a few good naps...It is nice to know that I am not the only one who has wanted to like this series and just can't get on-board with them.

Robert Spot on review. Regarding your desire to crawl into Narnia, you should check out The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman.

Kris I HATED Narnia but I so wanted to go to Oz. And like you, I loved these books as a child but as an adult I'm wondering if I should have had my head examined. the characters are two dimensional at best and Merriman would have sent the child me RUNNING for the other end of the island. What an unlikable and un endearing man he is.

message 5: by Edda (new) - added it

Edda I couldn't get into this book either. I didn't find it engaging at all. And when after every other paragraph you find your mind wandering to other things it's time to move on to the next book!

message 6: by Edda (new) - added it

Edda And I want to add that I really wanted to like this book and I do love some fantasy works (including LOTR). :(

Gary Walker Totally agree, I was very bored with this and the first book.

Gary Walker Totally agree, I was very bored with this and the first book.

Gary Walker Totally agree, I was very bored with this and the first book.

Esteli thank god i can know i am not alone in disliking this book because of goodreads. hurray!

Lucia I have listened to the books and that somehow, makes them better.

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