Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Book Review: The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper.

Publisher:  The Folio Society
ISBN: not available for this edition
Format:  Quarter-bound in buckram with Modigliani paper sides, illustrated by Laura Carlin.

Well, after Over Sea, Under Stone there was nothing else to do with myself but grab the second book with both hands.  I wasn't disappointed, man that woman can write!!  You may have seen the film and thought it was OK, as I did, or that it wasn't OK and you won't bother with the book.  You'd be wrong on both counts.  When compared to the book the film is pretty dire and there are some pretty major differences in the story.

Will Stanton is the seventh son of a seventh son, and is the last of the Old Ones, a special group of people destined to fight for the side of the Light in the eternal battle between the forces of light (good) and dark (evil).  On the eve of his Eleventh birthday Will starts to experience strange phenomenon that others don't see or experience.  Guided by various characters like Merriman Lyon (Uncle Gumery from Over Sea, Under Stone), Will's task is to gather the six Things of Power and strengthen the power of the light against The Rider and other characters who've come to the fight.

Though there were eight years between the first and second books Cooper doesn't fail to deliver and her panache at storytelling is ever present. This is a brilliant book, though I think having seen the film I was spending a fair amount of time trying to recall the film and how it compares to the book.  Had I not seen the film first I think I would have had a similar reaction to Over Sea, Under Stone.  When you see a film first and then read the book the film version can help your mind process the familiar images, but when the book and the film deviate from each other so much it becomes a distraction rather than an aid.

At the time of writing this review I am reading the third book in the series, though will probably have finished it by the time this review gets published.  What I've read so far just goes to show Cooper has staying power when it comes to these books.

What I liked most:  Excellent sense of threat, the swarming rooks were quite disturbing.  There were also terribly sad moments with Hawkin and Merriman Lyon.

What I liked least:  The film was a constant source of comparison in the back of my mind, and not in a good way.  

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you are enjoying these! I have such a soft spot for them :)