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  • Writer's pictureBailey Smith

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

★★★★☆ 4/5

Synopsis: "On the Midwinter Day that is his eleventh birthday, Will Stanton discovers a special gift-- that he is the last of the Old Ones, immortals dedicated to keeping the world from domination by the forces of evil, the Dark. At once, he is plunged into a quest for the six magical Signs that will one day aid the Old Ones in the final battle between the Dark and the Light. And for the twelve days of Christmas, while the Dark is rising, life for Will is full of wonder, terror, and delight."

Review: This year for a little holiday spirit, I chose to read "The Dark is Rising" in real-time, and I'm grateful I did. Susan Cooper's prose is nothing short of gorgeous and kept me thoroughly engaged throughout. The story's immersion was particularly fitting for the season, creating a timeless atmosphere that resonated with the very essence of the time of year. It is a short book that is manageable to read a bit a day from Solstice to Twelfth Night. I will attach the schedule that I read it on at the bottom of this review.

Overall, this novel exudes a cozy charm that makes it an ideal seasonal read. It captures the spirit of the season, making it a delightful and comforting experience. While it didn't necessarily grip me as a page-turner, I found it very enjoyable overall. It's the kind of book that I might revisit next year, perhaps when I need an easy comfort read, even though it didn't fully enthrall me. "The Dark is Rising" may not be a pulse-pounding adventure, but its charm and engaging narrative make it a worthwhile addition to the seasonal reading list.

Reading The Dark is Rising in “Real Time"

20th Dec - Midwinter’s Eve

21st Dec - Midwinter’s Day, The Sign-Seeker

23rd - The Walker on the Way

24th Dec - Christmas Eve, The Book of Gramarye, Betrayal

25th Dec - Christmas Day

Dec 31st - The Coming Cold

Jan 1st - The Hawk in the Dark

5th Jan (Twelfth Night Eve) - The King of Fire and water, The Hunt Rides

6th Jan (Twelfth Night) - The Joining of the Signs

Favorite Quotes

Any great gift or power or talent is a burden the ending of pain, like discord changing to harmony; like the lightening of the spirits that you may feel suddenly in the middle of a grey dull day, unaccountable until you realise that the sun has begun to shine

The name simply tells you what the road is, as the names of roads and places in old lands very often do, if only men would pay them more attention.

He will have a sweet picture of the Dark to attract him, as men so often do, and beside it he will set all the demands of the Light, which are heavy and always will be.

Ah, said Will the Old One unhappily, any church of any religion is vulnerable to their attack, for places like this are where men give thought to matters of the Light and the Dark.

But Will saw the cruelty now as the fierce inevitability of nature. It was not from malice that the Light and the servants of the Light would ever hound the Dark, but from the nature of things.


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