By Susan Cooper
They dreamed of adventure, and discovered a quest.
Simon, Jane, and Barney; three children spending a week in a seaside village. One day they go exploring, and discover an ancient map. What a marvelous adventure, until strange people begin asking questions, and someone breaks into the house at night. The children turn to the only person who might believe them, Great Uncle Merry. He tells them a story, about the coming of the Dark, and those who oppose it.
This may sound familiar, and on the whole the Dark is Rising series is very magical, but this particular volume focuses on the power of perspective. Throughout the story the children wrestle with mundane threats, but through their imagination they fill the story with vivid images, making a simple town seem magical. Sometimes descriptions become excessive, but fresh twists help keep the suspense up, though not for long.
The story fails to ever create any real sense of danger, beyond failing to find the treasure. Powerful figures offer vague glimpses into the other world, but always keep both children and readers safely unaware. In spite of that this remains a fun story, particularly for any young readers.
Dark is Rising-DiR 02