'The Dark is Rising' is children's fantasy at its very best. This is an absolute classic and one that I will return to again and again.
To be clear, this is the second installment in 'The Dark Is Rising Sequence'. I will add other reviews of the other books on this site. Needless to say, this one is often revered, which is not to devalue the others at all. In my opinion the whole sequence should be made available in every bookshop across the land, in the way that you expect 'The Chronicles of Narnia' to be. It is a shame that Cooper is presently overlooked. She deserves her place at the top.
A low-fantasy, Susan Cooper's 'The Dark Is Rising' is full of atmosphere, menace and magic; set in a snowy Berkshire. Will senses that not all is right around the house, in the countryside. Strange things are happening. Soon he will discover he is an Old One, responsible for fighting against the Dark with the Light.
This is the most terrifying Christmas story for children. I don't think the cover shown here does justice to the tone of the book. 'The Dark Is Rising' is not cartoony in anyway; children need to know this. There is a warmth to the story, but also a growing danger which grows more unsettling as the story progresses. Like Alan Garner, Susan Cooper has a powerful ability to infuse the very ordinary with a sense of unease and magic. For me, low-fantasy is the superior genre in this regard. To bring magic into our real world is more disturbing and, perhaps, more magical in-itself.