Wednesday, November 21, 2012
The Dark Is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
And the series is fantastic! I really do love English fantasy. I'll be reviewing all five books at a go, so while I'll try to avoid the spoilers, well, I'm only human.
So let's start with the first book Over Sea, Under Stone. I'm very sure this wasn't the book I read. For one thing, I don't remember Simon, Jane and Barney. I didn't like them much either. I think it was because they were too ordinary, which meant the plot seemed to be a series of coincidences. Plus, Simon was quite annoying. Barney and Jane weren't too bad, but my favourite character here was Merriman.
The second book was The Dark Is Rising. This is possibly the book I read, because Will was really familiar, but I don't think so. Will is really my favourite character in the series though. He's still a kid, but since he's an Old One, he's got the right to say deep deep things. It fits in with the whole fantasy idea, which is needed because this is set in modern England.
And of course, Will and Jane, Simon and Barney meet in the third book, Greenwitch. And the three siblings just annoyed me. They were too self-important, which made them condescending towards Will. I understand they feel special and all, but you really should be nice to others no matter what. But of course, everything is resolved in the end, although the three still know very little (but they know Will is part of the Light). Apart from Will and Merriman, Jane is the next most likable character.
The fourth books has Will again! I really thing this is the one that I read. In The Grey King, Will meets a mysterious boy (ok, his past and nature is mysterious, the boy himself is normal) called Bran while he's sent to Wales to recover. I love the use of the Welsh words, even though I couldn't understand it or pronounce it. It's probably the strongest book of the series, and I can see why it won the Newberry Medal.
In the finale, Silver on the Tree, Will, Bran and the three siblings are brought together in Wales. Simon managed to sound like an ignorant but proud child the first time he meets Will in the book. But there's a rather clear division, that Will and Bran have a role to play (and they know their role) while the three must flounder around without knowing much. I really don't see their role, except they make up the numbers. But it's great to see the friendship between Will and Bran in The Grey King develop further. To me, the book ended at The Challenge (over Bran), because I couldn't understand what happened after that.
If you love fantasy, you have to pick up this book. It's published quite some time ago (about 50 years ago), but it's far superior to many books I've read.