Quirky Books: The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

The emphasis on everyone having blue eyes and traditional typecast of good guys wear white and bad guys wear black was redundant even before the book was published in 1973. However, it is interesting because of the cultural portrayal of main characters who settle on the Thames. Common sense parables are laced throughout the book. It is also great how the heroes don't shoot everything in sight.

An intriguing point is how Merriman, the guide, realizes he made a mistake when placing his adopted son's life in danger. This action created a betrayal when Hawkin felt disposable. The interaction endangered the success of the mission, though in the end, Hawkin was also disposable to the antagonists.

Made for children it is found in the juvenile section. Completely appropriate for children Cooper doesn't rely on curse words or violence to progress the story. Instead, characters and scenery are well depicted. Excitement is generated when between protagonists and antagonists.

One problem is in how the main object's image is diluted. Will, the hero and also seeker, is often finding, "the circle, up and down the inner cross that quartered it." It could also be called, "A circle with a cross in the middle." There is a half sphere on two of the signs and then it is linked together. The movie entitled, "the Seeker," released in 2007 should have the object. I cannot clearly imagine the object based on phrasing.

It is difficult to assess who is truly good or evil in the plotline. Frankly, "the Light" plays an odd game to keep "the Dark" away from what they feel is their territory, the whole planet. The Dark is aggressively rebelling and growing in numbers and refuse to become extinct. In this story the Light is rebounding after losing power for a long time. The Dark verifies they are not friends. They seek the extinction of the Light.

Lack of characters with greater virtue in similar stories is a concern. However, compared to the modern stories; wherein, the hero could be a vigilante serial killer, this is a preferred story.

A likable story, it is completely appropriate for children and incorporates ancient traditions from the Isles. Susan Cooper was married to Hume Cronyn, so even the back story is socially acceptable. The plot and characters reach a large audience. Those interested in England, Northern Mythology and common sense parables will enjoy the book. It is slightly more dramatic than many current children books. I haven't read the entire five book series. I hope the Light and Dark become friends and float off happily into the heavens.

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