Read Wintersonnenwende by Susan Cooper Online


In Cornwall, wo die Mythen um König Artus wurzeln, schrecken die Kräfte der Finsternis vor nichts zurück, um die Mächte des Lichts für immer zu besiegen. Gemeinsam mit den Mächten des Lichts und ihren Gefährten Will und Bran nehmen die Geschwister Jane, Barney und Simon den Kampf gegen das Böse auf.Will Stanton erfährt an seinem elften Geburtstag, dass er zu den Uralten geIn Cornwall, wo die Mythen um König Artus wurzeln, schrecken die Kräfte der Finsternis vor nichts zurück, um die Mächte des Lichts für immer zu besiegen. Gemeinsam mit den Mächten des Lichts und ihren Gefährten Will und Bran nehmen die Geschwister Jane, Barney und Simon den Kampf gegen das Böse auf.Will Stanton erfährt an seinem elften Geburtstag, dass er zu den Uralten gehört. Als Letzter einer langen Reihe von Auserwählten muss er den entscheidenden Kampf gegen das Böse ausfechten. Ohne zu zögern stellt er sich dieser Aufgabe. In der entscheidenden Nacht, während eines Schneesturms, holen die Mächte der Dunkelheit zu ihrem finsteren Schlag aus ......

Title : Wintersonnenwende
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9783473580293
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 301 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Wintersonnenwende Reviews

  • Arianna
    2018-11-27 08:48

    Getting my brother (12) to read is liking getting a cat to take a bath, getting a high-schooler to go to school, getting a cheerleader to go to computer club.All those really difficult things in life.I read this series myself about a year or two ago, so when he needed a book to do for literature in his homeschool, I suggested that he pick this one and I'd do it with him.He moaned and groaned and hated life, that he'd have to do something so awful as reading.I just shrugged and told him to suck it up and drive on.We get started, and the first chapter goes just like I expected it to. We take turns reading out loud, 2 pages at a time, and each time his turn is over he hands the book to me like it burned him to touch it, let alone read it.But then, after we hit the end of the second chapter or so, I notice something: he starts to enjoy it.He starts sneaking in an extra page once in a while, 'accidentally' skipping my turn.Towards the end, he's reading 10, 20 pages in one sitting by himself (out loud, remember) as I sit and work on my knitting. (Because I can't just sit there, donchaknow. ^^). Now it's a fight to get him to stop reading long enough for us to discuss the questions.When we finish the book and he takes the final test, he steals my copy away and reads it again.And again.And again.I begin to lose hope of ever recovering my book, but one day I find him his own set in the thrift store.Maybe he'll actually go on to the next book in the series now. *laughs*Anyways. I love this book. I love this series.A friend of mine actually suggested it to me once many, many years ago, but I never read it. For some reason the name stuck in my mind, though.Happy I am that it did, for now I've another great series I can read and reread.As does my brother. ^^

  • David
    2018-11-26 04:56

    Originally read: 1979My absolute favorite series as a child. One of these days I need to reread it. (ETA: see below.) A bit like Harry Potter, but darker in tone (and of course, Will Stanton predates Harry Potter by decades). A shame that Hollywood's treatment of this classic book was so epically bad. It should be noted that while technically this is book two in the series, the saga really begins here, with Over Sea, Under Stone being a prequel of sorts.Reread: 2013I first read this book when I was ten years old, and though I have held it in my heart as one of my favorite books ever, I only just reread it for the first time in decades.Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising features Will Stanton, last of the Old Ones (and no, we're not talking about Lovecraft Old Ones). On his eleventh birthday, he learns that he is a being of great power who is prophecied to "bring the circle to a close," ending a cycle of battles between the Light and the Dark that has been waged for thousands of years. Mentoring him in his quest is one of the most ancient and powerful of the Old Ones, a stern yet compassionate old wizard named Merriman.Sound familiar? Yes, perhaps this series was why, many, many years later, I took to Harry Potter despite being long out of the target age range for those books.In my opinion, Susan Cooper is an enormously better writer than J.K. Rowling. Whereas Rowling's worldbuilding is a creatively zany hodge-podge of random fairy tales, mythological critters, and pun-Latin spells. Cooper's is a carefully constructed reinterpretation of English myth. There is tons of lore even in the first book, from the obvious Arthurian references to the men out of time cursed to wander the world forever, to the Wild Hunt. And on a prose level, Cooper just writes better than Rowling too. Her imagery and especially her poetry is far more artful.That said, this is ultimately a rather dark and gloomy tale, even if the good guys win; there's very little of the fun and light-heartedness of Harry Potter, no secondary characters who become best friends. Will Stanton's quest is mostly made up of tasks he must perform on his own, and his introduction to magic and the power of the Old Ones is not an entrance into a fantastic world of wizardry, but the realization that he's now an eternal warrior whether he likes it or not, and he's also been forever set apart from his family and everyone else he knows.For a book targeted at young readers, it's pretty heavy stuff. There is of course not much direct violence (though there is death), and the good guys are always good, the bad guys unambiguously bad. (Though one character, a traitor who turned to the Dark, is as tragic a figure as Gollum, and far more sympathetic.) But this isn't fun times with wands and owls. It's freezing storms blanketing all of England and sinister rooks and as much scary stuff as you can throw at a preternaturally-aged eleven-year-old boy.I really liked The Dark is Rising upon rereading it, though to be honest, I would probably rate it only 4 stars if it were my first time reading it. While in my opinion a better work of literature than most juvenile fiction, including that really famous one with the Johnny-come-lately boy wizard, it does lack that indefinable quality of joy and fun that I guess made J.K. Rowling the richest woman in England and not Susan Cooper. It's really a classic of children's fantasy literature, though.I will continue my reread of this series.Warning: A few years ago, Hollywood made a movie called Seeker: The Dark is Rising. Do not see this movie! It is awful. I cannot describe how awful it is. Even aside from the book it's supposedly based on, it's just terrible and brainless (one of my few 1-star ratings on Netflix), but when compared with Susan Cooper's book, it is truly painful to watch. Susan Cooper deserved the J.K. Rowling treatment, and what she got was a dumbed-down Americanized piece of crap that bombed, deservedly, at the box office.

  • mark monday
    2018-12-02 12:54

    The Dark Is Rising does no wrongEach word in place so perfectly;And I have loved you oh so longCherishing your company.Young Will was my delight,Merriman my heart of goldChristmas cheer my heart of joyAll thanks, my lady Cooper.You have been ready at my handTo grant me what I often crave:A wintry chill across the landVillains dark and a child brave.Black Rider was my delight,Maggie Barnes my heart of goldChristmas menace my heart of joyAnd tragic Walker to sting the soul.Thy battles betwixt Dark and LightWhere Time and Space twist madly;Thy family tender but never triteAll these I cherished gladly.Young Will was my delight,Merriman my heart of goldChristmas cheer my heart of joyAll thanks to Susan Cooper.

  • Lyn
    2018-11-27 06:02

    The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper is a young adult fantasy novel first published in 1973. The second book in the series of the same name, apparently the first book, Over Sea, Under Stone, was written for a younger audience and provides more of a prequel than a beginning point. This book tells the tale of Will Stanton, who on his eleventh birthday learns that he is an Old One, a member of a group with magical powers who represent the Light, opposed to the members of the Dark. Cooper uses colorful Celtic and Britannic legends and lore to create a world where Will must collect signs of power to be used against the forces of the dark. Cooper also uses time travel elements to further compliment this imaginative and well-written fantasy.Not bad, but definitely for the younger crowd.

  • Lightreads
    2018-11-25 07:51

    The one of my heart. But not entirely a book of childhood. Unlike the rest of the series, this one is layered all through young adulthood for me. I read it countless times as a wee thing, of course, but it was also my book on a horrible flight home from Oxford after Trinity Term, and what I read the week I retired my first guide dog, and what I read in tiny pieces in the month after I lost my eye. Looking at that list is one of those foreheadslap moments where you notice that narrative refrain isn't something that happens only in fiction. This book recurs in my life the way Greensleevves recurs in the book. This is a book of departing for me, a book of loss. Which is not surprising, since that's kind of what it's about.It's true there isn't much of a story here. It has this treasure hunt quality to it, where Will shows up somewhere and magic happens and then he gets a prize. There's this one part where Will beats back the Dark by being a coat rack. Straight up, he stands still and holds up the signs and waits. And this is textually celebrated as extraordinary, because the Old Ones have always needed their minds to beat back the Dark, but now they have things. I stopped reading there and blinked a lot, because you just don't see formulations like that in fantasy, and it was confusing because I remembered this book as being so much about the mind. That's because it's not about the quest. It's about Will. And it's all about his mind. He has this beautiful, sad, double-voiced narration. One voice is eleven and content with life, and then afraid and delighted by magic in turns. And the other is the Old One, the overnight adult who alienates Will from his family and community. Coming into power -- and into symbolic adulthood -- is a process of endless loss for Will (though of course it doesn't really ramp up until Silver on the Tree). This is the only book in the series to take place at home; all the others are on holiday. It has to be at home, because you have to be home to lose home.So of course I read it in times of loss. But not in the expected way. I loved Will as a child, fiercely and without reserve, like a totem. There was something hopeful to this sad, sad book. It's like Will reading his book of magic within this book and being granted power through reading -- that's what I wanted, and a little of what I got. That a child could be lifted out of childhood by knowing (and by reading!), that adulthood would come and take me into a new world, and even if it wasn't always a kind world, I would have power there and it would be mine and I could find my people. And hey, look, here you guys are.Anyway. There's a whole hell of a lot more going on here, with Merriman's bitter lesson (through loss, of course) that mortal men will break if trusted too well, used too hard. And the connected tidbit that I don't really have anything to say about yet, but I want to flag it for myself, because I willneed it later I think: that a person must be born to the Light to be of it, but that the Dark is a thing any man can choose.Onward to Greenwitch.

  • Nikki
    2018-12-14 09:01

    I suspect that the books of this sequence are among the most beautiful I've read. I get that feeling especially with this book. The tone here has changed already from the Blyton-esque kids-on-a-great-adventure of the first book, and the character is different accordingly. It's almost a bildungsroman, for all that we only see less than a month of an eleven year old boy's life.One of the main things I love about this sequence, particularly from this book on, is the characterisation. Where Simon, Jane and Barney were simplistic but also realistic in the first book, Will is now much more layered. Literally. There's a part of him that's a boy, and there's a part of him that's ancient and ageless, and in this book he's got to learn to balance the two, use the two, keep them separate where he can. In my opinion, this is beautifully done. One minute he's standing with the Lady and Merriman, fighting back the dark -- the next, boy like, he's making mistakes through over-enthusiasm. At first he cannot accept that he's not just an ordinary boy, and then he's playing tricks with his new-found powers. At the end, he acknowledges that sometimes he wishes he could just be an ordinary boy, but not always.It's not just Will, though. Despite it being a short book, you catch glimpses of so many characters who are worth thinking about, and yet Susan Cooper never loses focus either. The Stanton family are particularly well-drawn, in my opinion. There's so many of them that you can't get a fully-rounded picture of any of them, but you still feel as if maybe you've been to tea with them a couple of times -- or I do, anyway. I feel like I'd like to date Paul, I'd want to hit Mary, I'd antagonise James, I'd... It's wonderful how Susan Cooper shows us so many characters and makes us care about them, so briefly and succinctly.The writing, of course, I think is lovely. I whisper it aloud to myself. There are some beautiful images and scenes -- the Doors, for example, and the appearance of the ship, the signs... I love the way Susan Cooper writes.I've read reviews where people felt that nothing happened in these books. I find that hard to understand -- there's moments of real brooding menace, real magic, but I think people who are expecting swordfights and high fantasy in that sense are going to be disappointed. Ultimately, the sequence concludes that the battle against the Dark is fought in men's hearts. That, in some ways, is not a "satisfying" conclusion -- yet it's a realistic one, and that's something I like. Reread in December 2009. The bit that struck me most this time, somehow, was the dead king who carried the Sign of Water. Beautiful.

  • Trin
    2018-12-03 11:53

    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.

  • Nikki
    2018-12-16 05:36

    Slightly ahead of the ideal time to read this book — which would be veeery slowly, a chapter or two at a time, over the Twelve Days of Christmas. I never have the patience for that! As usual, I loved The Dark is Rising; the quiet moments of enchantment, the beautiful writing, the warmth of the family relationships and the reality of the bickering, protective group of siblings. There’s more adult, complicated stuff as well as simple squabbling among siblings: the whole relationship between Merriman and Hawkin is a difficult one, and foreshadows what John Rowlands says about the Light in a later book. The morality of the Light is a cold, clear justice.One thing I noticed a lot this time, though, was how Britain-centric the sequence is. Every so often it’ll make a reference to other parts of the world — the Jamaican carnival head, the darker skinned Old Ones, etc — but it talks about the battle for “this land”. As though the struggle between Light and Dark throughout history is focused on Britain. I’m not sure that’s an attitude that can really fly anymore, however simple and obvious it may have seemed when the books were originally written. I love how rooted the books are in Britain, the landscape and the people and the different histories that intertwine, the Anglo-Saxon and the Celtic, the Roman. But the focus on Britain as the whole centre of the fight against the Dark seems short-sighted.Still, that is the other thing to love: the glimpses of mythology surrounding the books. Not just the Arthurian mythology, but the mysterious king whose dead hands held the Sign of Water for Will; the lore of the smiths; the Old Ways; Herne the hunter… I wish I could read beyond the pages into all that richness.Originally posted here.

  • Jonathan Terrington
    2018-12-18 12:00

    'When the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back;Three from the circle, three from the track;Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone;Five will return, and one go alone.''Iron for the birthday, bronze carried long;Wood from the burning, stone out of song;Fire in the candle-ring, water from the thaw;Six Signs the circle, and the grail gone before.''Fire on the mountain shall find the harp of goldPlayed to wake the Sleepers, oldest of the old;Power from the green witch, lost beneath the sea;All shall find the light at last, silver on the tree.'As a child I developed my love of fantasy and superheroics. I suppose that what appeals to a child about a fantasy novel is the sense of mystery, adventure and the fact that no one in a fantasy novel need be powerless against the forces of evil let loose in the world. Haven't you ever dreamed about being able to use magic to solve the inconvenience of lacking a parking spot or being late to work? Isn't one of our greatest fears that sense of powerlessness, the frustration that we cannot control everything?I know that some people do not like this series. I suppose it is better appreciated when read as a child. Reading it again now for the fifth or so time I see the simplicity of the narrative, those few elements that don't quite make sense or seem a little shallow. I must admit that the slight dig at how religion isn't relevant in this magical world also irks me in the book. But that said this is in the end a novel and when you can see those little things you laugh at them and then ignore them to enjoy the overall story. Or at least I do. The one thing I've always appreciated about this series is the story of Dark versus Light, good versus evil, one boy discovering his supernatural powers.The three verse poem written above represents the entire sequence of this series (which I prefer to read in the order of book 2, 1, 3, 4, 5 as for me the proper story begins here in the story of Will Stanton, last of the Old Ones. On his eleventh birthday, Will discovers that he has a calling to discover six magical signs which will enable the forces of the Light to begin their battle over evil. Most of the mythology and fairytale elements of this story are taken from Celtic origins which is a fascinating set of mythology to me. But don't ever read this expecting Tolkien or Lewis I still rate them a little higher than this. But this is still a classic children's fantasy series and deserves to be read by audiences. Interestingly reading it today it still reads like the first time I read it. Only I'm an even faster reader now than I was then. Perhaps my powers are awakening like Will's...

  • Jon
    2018-11-29 09:43

    3.5 stars

  • Ron
    2018-12-18 08:33

    3.5 . . . maybe. A good story; well told. It fits neatly between The Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter. Very English; magical realm beyond the mundane; contemporary (more or less) to the time of writing; YA that should appeal to adults, but it doesn't have the--dare I use this word?--magic.William, the eleven year old protagonist, is too passive. He floats through the book's big crises more as observer than an actor. Great things happen around him, but the reader does not feel that William is engaged in them. His involvement and angst, if it exists, isn't communicated well.Also, despite his pack of brothers and sisters, I don't get the familiar interaction as among the Pervesie children or Harry and his friends.Which suggests another problem: the lack of humor. Both Lewis and Rowling had it. Cooper not. In stories, as in life, the frivolous provides contrast for the serious.Still, I'm surprised this isn't/wasn't more popular. Perhaps it was because Cooper was moving toward Rowling in her ideals while staying closer to Lewis in her prose. Perhaps she wasn't in sync with the pulse of the 1970s. And, of course, her series had neither an Aslan nor a Hogwarts. Merriman is no Aslan nor a Dumbledore. And William is no Harry, nor Peter or even Edmund.

  • Stephen
    2018-12-15 07:37

    2.5 stars. I really thought I was going to like this more than I did. It was well-written and the premise of a story was interesting. I just never really got into the story and found myself waiting for something exceptional to happen. Unfortunately, it didn't. That said, it wasn't a bad book and, being short, it didn't take too long to get through.

  • Alex
    2018-12-19 07:03

    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.

  • Dorothea
    2018-11-20 11:01

    I loved this book very much in my early teens. Unfortunately it was a disappointing re-read. The imagery is still very beautiful, but I now find the worldbuilding unsatisfying.It suffers from the unquestioning existence of Good and Evil labels. The Good are good because they are born that way. Merriman, the protagonist's teacher, places great emphasis on the burden of being for the Light, which I now find disturbing, not noble: their burden is that they have to be misunderstood by the ordinary people about them, and especially that they have to sacrifice the people about them. This includes memory-wipes to protect from what the Good deem unilaterally to be too much knowledge, and also the changing and endangering of ordinary people's lives, mandated by the rules of the magic that the Good serve. In the end, as with many fantasy stories, the Good side seems to be good based mainly on poetic associations -- light, Christmas, warmth.The Evil are said to become evil by choice. This might give some opportunity for interesting, humanizing characterization of the evil characters, but it does not in the case of the "Rider" (who is marked as evil mainly by the sinister feeling he produces in the protagonist) or of Maggie Barnes, who is the only character in the book to express any sort of sexuality, and who is referred to dismissively by the eleven-year-old protagonist as "the girl."*spoiler*The one character whose choice of evil we do get to see is the Walker. We learn that he was an orphan, Merriman's liege man who loved him like a father. Because of their bond, he was chosen to be part of a spell protecting the Book of Gramarye. Using this spell, when Merriman retrieved the Book for the protagonist, he used the Walker's life as collateral. The Walker was shocked to realize that Merriman was willing to risk his death, and decided to betray him. Even though Merriman (in godlike fashion) understood how the Walker would choose, he cursed him to continue to help the side of Light by carrying one of its symbols for hundreds of years, living as a tramp and never being allowed even to die.Besides seeing this situation as weighted against the Walker, on this reading I realized that the story is also assigning moral value to feudal loyalty. It would have best helped the Light if the Walker had accepted that it was right for Merriman to use his life for his cause. Instead he wanted to be Merriman's moral equal -- as Merriman puts it, "he loves as a man, wanting proof of love in return." But in the morality of the story, Merriman and the Light are too great to be able to relate to the Walker with equality; what they take from him is different from what they give to him, and when he protests that the taking is too much, they give him misery.Other parts of the story also promote this idea of traditional, hierarchical relations. Most explicitly is the later episode in which the Dark is assailing the village with winter storms and the local gentrywoman offers to shelter everyone in her hall. The protagonist's father's refusal to take his own family there is presented as stubborn, prejudiced pride which has to be overcome. Then, the scene of the villagers gathered around the aristocrat is one of appropriate protection, beautiful and harmonious.These things are mostly subtle, but they align the old, patriarchal social order with the Light -- another unfortunate tendency common to many fantasy stories.

  • Devin
    2018-12-04 05:51

    I saw the movie "The Seeker" which I now use as a standard to judge all movies I really dislike; but I was required by my class to read it so I did.Honestly, the book was entertaining. But I still didn't like it for multiple reasons: The beginning was really hard to follow. Susan Cooper needs to make it less work for the reader to try and figure out what's going on. The plot was good; the classic battle between the darkness and the light. But Will Stanton didn't have to make any sacrifices; seriously zero. I thought this book was going to turn around when the Dark Rider threatened to kill his sister if he didn't give up the signs of power, but she didn't even get hurt. I think any hero needs to make some great sacrifice in order to pass his testing. Basically, a character who had to pass a test, where (though the threat of a sacrifice was present) actually made no sacrifice, was never truely tested.The only reason the plot line was not unbearibly predictable was because it was so substandard I kept exspecting the author to take things to the next level. Cool concepts, but there are way better books than this that present a more through understanding into what Susan Cooper was trying to accomplish. It really reminded me of the story of The Argo, how it's all about Jason's quest to become a hero but he never even does anything; he has all the argonauts complete all his tasks for him. Definately not my style.

  • Melissa McShane
    2018-11-18 06:42

    12/15/16: More of my Christmas reading. This time, I'm struck as I never was as a teen how very bleak Cooper's universe of Light and Dark is. The Old Ones, for all they come from human families (presumably, if Will Stanton is representative) are not even a little bit human, and Light and Dark clash in ways that care nothing for individual men and women. Their battle isn't for the sake of human salvation, it's for things and forces far, far beyond human concerns. This becomes most evident in Silver on the Tree, but it comes up repeatedly through the sequence. And I'm not sure anymore that I like that. Merriman Lyon says noble things about man's gift of free will, but that comes at the end, after he's already displayed a more dismissive attitude toward the ordinary humans in the story. So this time, I'm conflicted.12/22/15: A lovely afternoon's re-read. One of the things I love about it is its depiction of a large family; I'm the oldest of nine children and this always comes off as very believable to me. The contrast between the very small concerns of an 11-year-old boy and the very large concerns of the last of the Old Ones, tasked with a great quest, makes this story come alive.Read 12/18/11: I always like to re-read this around Christmastime. It's one of my all-time favorites.

  • Kathleen
    2018-12-19 06:40

    3.75 stars. Long past childhood, I read this book for this first time. High marks for the fabulous writing (see excerpt below) and for the vivid setting (I felt I was there, during the Christmas season, in Hunterscombe, England).The plot is fairly gripping -- especially the scene in the church on Christmas Day, after everyone left, and the scene in Will's home, when a VERY unwelcome guest was invited to come in, and the scenes of the bone-biting deep-freeze that struck. Other good scenes come to mind, too.However, gradually it became a bit too easy for Will to find the Signs. All six came easily to hand, and all six were hidden right there in his own village. What are the chances? Also, Will never had to sacrifice anything in his epic quest to save the world, even though he had to make a very difficult choice to pass "the testing" later in the book. In Tolkien's The Return of the King Frodo and Samwise suffered loss. In The Chronicles of Narnia Edmund paid a price for falling afoul of the White Witch. I started to realize that NOTHNG BAD could happen to any of the protagonists in this book (not even The Lady). Nor to Will's family (unless you want to count a sprained ankle).Characterization: The portrayal of Merriman was pretty cool, but I wanted to know more about him. That's okay, though. There is an entire series to learn more. I could not quite buy into Cooper's portrayal of Will as both an ordinary little boy and an Old One, the protector of the planet. It was just odd to me, how Will moved back and forth from Old One to child.Good portrayal of The Walker. Cooper portrayed this character with some complexity. There was a reason for his choices, and even though I did not agree with them, I understood them.The weakest link in the book is Cooper's almost tautological portrayal of the villain -- this vague entity called The Dark. What is it? Who is The Rider? The Light is Good and the Dark is Bad, with no intermediate dusk. No yin-yang, either. (Cooper is also tautological in another sense -- her redundancy when discussing the Dark, which is coming, yes it's rising, yes it's gaining power).Writing: Such a pleasure to read Cooper's descriptions. I felt like I could feel the icy cold floods, hear the rooks croaking overhead, see the light blazing in the dim church. For example, I loved her opening portrayal of the dreary farmyard, just before Christmas: “The snow lay thin and apologetic over the world. That wide grey sweep was the lawn, with the straggling trees of the orchard still dark beyond; the white squares were the roofs of the garage, the old barn, the rabbit hutches, the chicken coops. Further back there were only the flat fields of Dawson's farm, dimly white-striped. All the broad sky was grey, full of more snow that refused to fall. There was no colour anywhere.”

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    2018-11-25 12:48

    Not impressed. Comparing these to Lewis and Tolkien is a BIG stretch. This is the second book in the series and I must say I was seriously disappointed. The comparison to Lewis or Tolkien probably caused me to drop my rating...I even considered a one. Decide for yourself about this but There is for me a feeling of what could have been in these books. The writing itself isn't the problem it's just (and this is my opinion) the story feels awfully flawed.I wanted this to be a better book, I really wanted to like it. And since it's been made into a movie (more or less)I'm sure some do love it. So, as I said, decide for yourself.I like an occasional YA read. Many are good regardless of the reader's age. This one just failed for me. If you like it I'm happy for you. I'd read it personally before turning it over to young readers. Just me.

  • Jessica
    2018-12-10 09:01

    Read this for the second time ever for the #DarkIsReading challenge. I had forgotten a great deal of it, like the fact that it takes place between the Winter Solstice and Twelfth Night. I remembered that it was Will's 11th birthday, but not the significance of the date/s. It has been really interesting to read it now, with a community, and see how many people were influenced by this book and series. I can also see how it has influenced modern middle grade fantasies.

  • Laura
    2018-12-12 05:56

    From BBC Radio 4:This night will be bad and tomorrow will be beyond imagining. It's Midwinter's Eve, the day before Will's eleventh birthday. But there is an atmosphere of fear in the familiar countryside around him. This will be a birthday like no other. Will discovers that he has the power of the Old Ones, and that he must embark on a quest to vanquish the terrifyingly evil magic of the Dark.This is an adaption of the second book in the series collectively entitled "The Dark is Rising" Dramatised by David Calcutt.Will - James WalmsleyMerriman - Ronald PickupWith Struan Rodger, Geoffrey Banks, Carolyn Backhouse, Leo Conville, Hilary Attenborough, Susannah Tresilian , Richard Derrington, Susan Jeffrey, Mary Wimbush, Kathryn Hunt, Gerry Hinks and Tina Gray. Music by Martin Allcock. Directed by Nigel Bryant1 - The WakingWill Stanton wishes for snow on his birthday, but has not bargained on the frightening adventures which will come with it...2 - The Learning. This is no ordinary Christmas for Will. 3 - The Betrayal.The Dark seals off the village with ice and driving snow. 4 -The Hunting. The Lords of the Dark close in for the kill, and only one power can now equal theirs.

  • Ben Babcock
    2018-12-10 09:01

    I’m trying to think of how many other books’ sequels are more notable than the books themselves. The Dark is Rising is the second book in the sequence, yet it was the one that got adapted into an apparently awful film, and it was the one that gave its title to the entire series. I suppose I can see why. Of the first two books, it more stereotypically conforms to the monomyth and has that “epic” quality one desires in “epic fantasy”. Over Sea, Under Stone is firmly a juvenile adventure, whereas the threats and dangers in The Dark is Rising are more potent and terrifying. I complained about the lack of such terror in my review of the first book, but I can’t make that complaint here.Will Stanton is turning eleven years old. He discovers he is the last Old One, a group of incredibly powerful, immortal beings who fight against the Dark in the name of Light. Much like the recent era of Doctor Who, The Dark is Rising delights in using its title as a catchphrase. We are repeatedly warned that the powers of Dark will be at their strongest soon. Will can defeat them, but only if he finds the six signs required to complete the “circle”. Merriman Lyon (Great-Uncle Merry from the first book) pops in and out to help Will and offer him some guidance, but it’s mostly Will’s show. Sort of.Gamers like to refer to some video games as having sequences “on rails”, which means an action sequence where the player has little to no control over their movement but full control over their weapons (for example, being on a moving train that takes them along a pre-determined route while they fight off bad guys). These sequences have threats, and often failure modes if the player can’t react fast enough or eliminate enough baddies within a certain time limit. Thus, rails sequences aren’t inherently bad, and they don’t necessarily squelch the enjoyment or tension in a video game. But they can be tricky to do well, and they can often be frustrating. The Dark is Rising feels like one big story on rails, for both Will and the protagonist. The threats are manifest in a way they weren’t in Over Sea, Under Stone. But the fortuitous outcome all seems so obvious, so pre-destined, that the tension is almost zero. Will seems to recover the signs without much effort on his part. I don’t mean to sell him short, because he does have moments of autonomy that make him shine. For the most part, though, Cooper doesn’t want to take off the training wheels on her hero. Will only makes the mistakes he is allowed to make, the perfect mistakes for a young, untrained hero to make. And the result is character development that feels very artificial and formulaic.If there is fulfilment to be had here, then it’s in the inevitable empathy one must have for Will. He is thrown out of his depth quite quickly, and he hits the ground running. Say what you will about Harry Potter, he had it pretty easy. He got the guided tour of Hogwarts. Will turns eleven, gets told he is an Old One, and within a few days he has to save the world from the near-infinite power of the Dark. And he can’t talk to anyone about it. Harry had Ron and Hermione. Will only has Merriman, who as inconstant presence at best. He can’t tell his siblings why the farmer’s daughter is evil; he can’t explain that the horrendous snowstorm the countryside is experiencing is a result of evil’s waxing power. Will is completely alone.Will’s adversaries, the Rider and, later, the Walker, prey upon that chink in his psychological armour. They bring to bear the age-old “you can never hope to defeat the power of the dark side” speech, and it starts to wear Will down. He perseveres every time, and he succeeds every time--and as I said above, it’s not surprising he does. But it’s still fun to watch him struggle against the emotional toll this is taking. This is particularly true at the climax of the book, when it seems that Merriman has deserted him and Will has to choose between vanquishing the Dark or saving his sister.The Dark is Rising is indubitably better than Over Sea, Under Stone, though the latter has plenty going for it. Neither, though, has convinced me it’s worth being called a classic. The story and characters have changed, but there is still an overwrought, painfully obvious quality to the writing--the disharmonious sounds of Cooper trying so very hard. Great writing isn’t effortless, by any means. But mediocre writing is usually very hard indeed.My reviews of the Dark is Rising sequence:← Over Sea, Under Stone | Greenwitch →

  • Chris
    2018-12-02 11:56

    This is the second book in the Dark Is Rising series. Unlike Over Sea, Under Stone, this book is much more supernatural/magical. In fact, the jump from the first book to the second almost feels like a jump to a different series, except for the continuity of themes and some characters. Like the first book, this one is very well-written and passes the audiobook test, which in my experience tends to expose sloppy writing. This book, like the first, was brilliantly read by Alex Jennings. As for the story itself, Cooper fills her 20th century world with British legend, mythology, and magic. Many of the images and scenes were easy to imagine, and filled me with appropriate foreboding and wonder. It's an immersive and very interesting world.The big failing is the plot, which feels increasingly uninteresting as the book goes on. It's not that interesting things don't happen--it's just that the main character, Will, around whom this titanic clash between light and dark is occurring, seems to do almost nothing himself. At every stage things just happen to him. He's called the (SPOILER ALERT!) "Seeker", but mostly he's just taken to places by other people and handed the things he's supposed to be seeking (or told exactly where to pick them up). The closest he comes to hunting one down (as I remember it) is when he happens to be somewhere and then notices it. There's little sense of really needing to solve a problem or escape a situation. This is a huge departure from the exciting first book, in which it felt like the main characters had to figure out everything, and with the imminent threat that time would run out.Additionally, while there seem to be a lot of rules to the magic and the characters which govern the story, these rules are only given to the reader as events happen. So at any given point, you, the reader, have no idea what resources the characters have at their disposal, or what they lack. Can they get out of this situation? What would they have to do? Are they in any real danger or not?. Will supposedly has all kinds of powers, but he rarely seems to be able to use them, and we don't know much about what they can do. By the end of the book I found myself just assuming that there would be some kind of surprise solution to each problem, probably coming from someone else besides Will, and I stopped caring.I remember The Grey King (book 4) being a cool story when I was a kid. Maybe the series gets better as it goes on? I might give the next book a try just to see if there's any improvement. A hybrid between the styles of books 1 and 2 would certainly have potential.

  • Nikki
    2018-11-22 04:42

    This book has maybe one of my favourite ways of looking at England, the country and people:"He saw one race after another come attacking his island country, bringing each time the malevolence of the Dark with them, wave after wave of ships rushing inexorably at the shores. Each wave of men in turn grew peaceful as it grew to know and love the land, so that the Light flourished again."It doesn't quite work, I think: there's the issue of colonialism, which was arguably wave after wave of the Dark coming out of our island (and the English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish have never yet sat perfectly comfortably together, there's still colonialism at work there). And there's, well, the BNP and the EDL, etc. But recognising that that is Britain's identity -- our genetic makeup, our language, our history -- is something a lot of people forget. We can't say "get out, foreigners"; most of us have ancestors from elsewhere, somewhere along the family tree.I've loved The Dark is Rising a long time, so I doubt there's anything new or critical I can say about it as a whole, but each time these small fragments of the narrative catch at me and make me think about them as I haven't before. That was one of them; there are other snippets, like Will's sudden understanding of the difference between a child's fear and an adult's fear (made up of understanding and care for others).The Dark is Rising is, I think, one of those books that have a number of layers, and more so through each book. There's a simple layer of plot, and then there's all sorts of other stuff about understanding feelings and fears, and if you watch for it, some moral ambivalence. We're seeing this world through Will, essentially, and he's one of the Old Ones but he's also a young boy, and in his horror at what Merriman has done to Hawkin, you can see a subtlety of dealing with the things the Light has done. And then Merriman turns around and shows his human face too, and just -- I might, to some extent, be too willing to give these books wiggle room. Too willing to bring my own needs to the table and see the book in those terms. But I think that stuff is there -- particularly as it comes up more in the person of John Rowlands in The Grey King and Silver on the Tree.

  • Sadie Slater
    2018-11-30 07:54

    The Dark is Rising has been one of my favourite books ever since I first read it aged about seven. Given its midwinter setting, it's a book I often re-read at Christmas, though I hadn't done so for a few years; the last time I tried was in 2010, when it snowed heavily the weekend before Christmas and the snow didn't melt until almost New Year, and somehow having actual snow outside and bitter cold instead of the normal damp mild greyness of December made it seem far too bleak and real, and I had to put it aside and didn't go back to it for a few years. This year, though, Robert Macfarlane is running a Twitter readalong (hashtag #theDarkisReading) and I was inspired to get out my copy and join in. Some people are reading strictly by day, but I tend not to read multiple books at the same time and decided I would read straight through (a decision I was quite pleased with when I remembered that it skips straight from Christmas Day to Twelfth Night, by which time I will be back at work and no longer in the mood for Christmas re-reads).More that 35 years after I first read it, The Dark is Rising still holds up pretty well. There is a sense of real menace in the Dark's manipulation of the weather and the way they can entice ordinary people into working for them, and the depiction of Will's family Christmas is magical, and sets the standard which my own Christmases never live up to. I really like the way that, unlike so many protagonists of children's fantasy, Will isn't an isolated child who has always felt different, and isn't thrilled to find out that he's special; until his eleventh birthday, he's a very ordinary boy from a large, loving family and his struggle to reconcile his desire for normality with being an Old One is one of the recurrent themes of the series. It isn't perfect; like so many children's books of its era, it is set very firmly in a cosy rural Home Counties England with a very clear social hierarchy - Miss Greythorne at the Manor at the top, the middle-class Stantons below her, and the farmers and farmworkers below them again. On this readthrough, I also noticed that there are things Will can do, despite being newly awakened to his powers, that the older Old Ones of the village - Farmer Dawson, Old George and John the Smith - can't, and I think it's clearly implied that the Gift of Gramarye is only given to certain Old Ones, not to all of them; presumably a middle-class grammar-school boy is better suited to this than a farmer, even an immortal farmer with supernatural powers. And even though there are women among the Old Ones (the Lady, Miss Greythorne and John Smith's wife who never even gets given a name) they play a very limited role in the story, with most of the action being given to the men. Also, the more I read it the more I am struck by the ruthlessness of the Light; just as much as the Dark, they are convinced of their rightness and happy to use ordinary people to achieve their ends. (Having watched The Last Jedi this week as well, I can't help feeling that there are more than passing similarities between the Light and the Jedi Order.)As always with a re-read, I notice new things each time. Among the things that particularly struck me this time was the description of the fear the Dark attack Will with the night before his birthday ('a dreadful darkness in his mind, a sense of looking into a great black pit'), because that's a feeling I'm increasingly familiar with myself and exactly how I describe it. I also noted a few mentions of how Time appears to the Old Ones that reminded me strongly of Four Quartets: 'For all times co-exist, and the future can sometimes affect the past, even though the past is a road that leads to the future...', and the chapter "The King of Fire and Water", set in a flooded, transfigured Thames Valley, feels like it must have been an inspiration for the second half of Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage.

  • notyourmonkey
    2018-12-02 05:45

    There is pretty much nothing I did not love about this reread, whether it was the hazy fondness of nostalgia or the sheer delight from the story in and of itself. Oh, Will Stanton. I adore him at thirty almost as much as I did at ten. I love how visceral both his fear and wonder are. I love HIS FAMILY. Sorry, Drews; the Stantons kick your ass. I love the push and pull between Will-as-Old-One and Will-as-youngest-Stanton - the contrast between Wise Magical Dude and little boy never fails to delight. This is the real introduction for this series, I find. This is the book of learning, the reveal. In some ways, I feel like Over Sea Under Stone is the Magician's Nephew of this series: sure, technically it may occur first chronologically, but I think reading it first is dumb (and that's only slightly because I started with this book first myself). This is the book that invites the reader into the realm of secret knowledge, just like Will gets. And, for me, that's kind of the heart of why I like Will (and Bran, later on) better than the Drews. For all that the Drews are the human perspective on mystical stuff, the touchstone for those of us sadly outside of the Light and Dark, that's not what I want. I - especially ten year old me - didn't want the normal kids; I wanted to identify with the boy plucked from mundanity and welcomed wholeheartedly by magic. (I suppose see also: Harry Potter, but Will had my heart first.) I wanted to know more about the kid who found he had Phenomenal Cosmic Powers but also fucked up from time to time, because, hey, he's eleven, and the magic is amazing but terrifying. "Tomorrow will be beyond imagining" still gives me shivers. Merriman and Hawkin broke my heart all over again. I'd also forgotten just how much I love the setting for the story - the small town, the mysterious manor house, the familiar (for Will; English countryside was a delightful foreign prospect for me at ten) suddenly filled with Import and Meaning, Christmas, and the snow. Makes me want to curl up under a blanket, drink something warm, and reread it all over again. And, oh! The music! Moreso than even the other Dark is Rising books, the music was a constant presence here. I think this is in part because it's set at Christmas-time, so I at least was more familiar with the songs used (and could therefore 'hear' them better in the context of the story), in addition to the Special Music Of The Light. Will and James singing together! (and Merriman's predictions about their voices!) Paul and his flute! Which just reminds me of the first of many memory-based heartbreaking moments in this series - when Will wants to confide in Paul, tries, but it doesn't work, so he has to make him forget. I'm okay with this in this book (check back with me in Silver on the Tree omg), particularly because I like how Cooper balances the distance and logic of Will-the-Old-One with the disappointment and loneliness of Will-the-little-boy who is realizing just how separate from his family he's now become. Also, Merriman is pretty much Morgan Freeman in my head. It makes his grand intonations and proclamations even! better! Just thought I'd share.

  • Nancy
    2018-12-15 11:57

    It is a long time since I last read this series, and this 2nd part of the series is very well done indeed. If reading book 1 was a throwback to an earlier time and structure (and, as noted, not a bad thing), this book is leap-years beyond. Well-written - evocative and visual descriptions that add significantly to the tone and atmosphere. Well-structured - great pacing, with tension derived from a variety of situations, not the least, Will's family. Well-built - with enough background and story to build a world that crosses into ours with significance and purpose.In comparison to... Riordan's Olympus books - like most of Riordan's books, this story takes place in a very short time-frame, the pressure created by the significance of events that have been with us longer than time. But, unlike Riordan's books, there is none of the manic racing about that, while amusing, delivers little in the way of character development.In comparison to... Wrinkle in Time - character development and world building are significantly deeper.In comparison to... typical tropes for this type of book - Will is not an orphan or away at school and his adventures are impacted by or affect his family, of whom he is aware and concerned for. He is in the midst of a warm and loving family.In comparison to... Harry Potter - it took several under-edited tomes of Harry Potter to get to a similar place tonally. This is not a cheery adventure but has a weight and a weariness, and introduces the complexity of human emotion and choices, and cost.And what I think is particularly well-done is that Will is just turned 11 and is handed quite substantial power and abilities - most books create the majority of their tension by the juxtaposition of the impetuousness of youth and either the learning to control or apply the powers, or the wisdom in wielding them. Here the author handles the learning curve in a rather novel way and infuses the weight of the Old Ones into Will, so that he is older than his years, while still a boy. This allows him to be aware, compassionate, angry, and afraid in ways that readers of all ages can empathize with.As for book 2 in the series we meet Uncle Merry again, although more formally, and we learn a bit more about this enigmatic character. We also learn there are 4 Things of Power, of which we know the Grail was found in book 1. How nice that there are 4 things and 5 books - as it suggests a bit of plot complexity to look forward to.

  • LPG
    2018-11-19 07:58

    These things are so enjoyable I'm considering hoovering up one a day before I start back at work next week.Really loved the clarity of the images Cooper paints. The carved doors in the snow. The burning log across the old lane. The palm fronds packaging the carnival mask from Jamaica.My only complaint is the persistent Potter-bashing I see in other reviews. It's as if people are angry that this series hasn't gotten the same crazed treatment and/or think that they are somehow 'better' than Potter nerds for loving it? I dunno guys. I'm willing to bet we were all pretty weird in primary school, so no need to be superior about which brand of British escapism we took. Both are valid and magical in their own way!Anyway, lovely series! Definitely another gem I'd never have found without Goodreads!

  • Robert
    2018-11-23 09:57

    I read this many years ago, and liked it. When the movie came out (not a very good movie), I wondered what my 43-year-old self would think of my hazy memory of what my 14-year-old self had thought. Turns out my 14-year-old self wasn't much of a critic. The Dark is Rising was quite disappointing, making it all the more surprising that it won awards and stuff. I guess I can kind of see why--the writing is at least meant to seem deep. The fact that it has a literary style of any kind is a novelty, for the most part, in juvenile fiction, I suppose. A book written for young people but strewn with adjectives and adverbs and multi-clause sentences must be pretty serious stuff.Anyway, the story was weak and had very little punch, and the premise, at least in how it was explained, had some troublingly racist (and heavily monarchist) overtones, what with noble white Brits having staved off waves of dark-skinned invaders for lo these many centuries, etc.It's fun to go back and see, though, which favorite books from my youth hold up and which ones don't.

  • John Jarrold
    2018-12-13 07:51

    I first read this when it was released, around 40 years ago (I was already in my late teens, but I've never seen age as a barrier to reading good books, no matter what age range they were intended for). The entire sequence is terrific, but this is the book I always come back to - often at Christmas, when the book is set. Will Stanton's 11-year-old jump from straightforward boyhood into a world of mysticism and magic is brilliantly described, and the story moves at a perfect pace. What can I say? Read it...

  • Kaye
    2018-11-21 06:33

    Okay. Wow.I should definitely have read this when I was younger. And I'm very sorry that I let my feelings for the ridiculous movie adaptation muddle my appetite for reading the actual book.