The Dark is Rising

by Susan Cooper, published 1973

“Will clenched his fist as he listened, yearning towards the sweet beckoning sound that was the space between waking and dreaming, yesterday and tomorrow, memory and imagining.”

Community Review by Ellen

Dark is Rising Children's bookThe Dark is Rising is the second of five books in the Dark is Rising Sequence. (Written back when writing a series was driven from the author rather than the publisher!) It’s an exciting, somewhat complex fantasy about the battle of the dark vs. the light with references to Arthurian legend, as well as Celtic and Norse mythology.

Like many of the best children’s books, it doesn’t write down to children. The main character, Will, faces difficult, sometimes frightening decisions and events and must draw on his abilities both from the real world as well as newly-found powers to face them. I loved this whole series as a kid.

Additional Review by Laura/LitKidz

When Ellen recommended and reviewed this book, I was intrigued. I really want to stand behind every book on, and I know and trust Ellen. But one version of the book cover caused me concern…it looked so dark. What if it was a really scary book, filled with darkness? So I got a copy from the library to see for myself what had drawn Ellen in.

And once I opened the book, I was in a timeless place. I couldn’t put it down. Lunch time passed. Dinner time passed, and the world around me dissolved. I was not in an anxious state, but a state of heightened awareness as I followed closely everything that young Will, just turned 11, was going through as the last of the Old Ones. The task was nothing short of Light vanquishing Dark..

The writing in this book is exceptional. The imaginative play between time and timelessness, between other worlds, and this world, get so intertwined that I felt I was swirling in an in-between state.

I do feel the book is more suitable for older children. Boys will especially enjoy it as the hero is just like them, ordinary, at least at first. I don’t know the rest of the series, and I’m generally not a fantasy fan, but I can highly recommend this for strong readers with good imagination. Thanks, Ellen!

Buy this children’s book at your local bookstore