Silver on the Tree

This was a disappointing end to a disappointing series It s all too vague says Jane at one point at the start of yet another random adventure a sentiment that unfortunately applies to the who

This was a disappointing end to a disappointing series. "It's all too... vague," says Jane at one point, at the start of yet another random adventure, a sentiment that unfortunately applies to the whole of The Dark Is Rising sequence.I don't even know where to begin, so I'll start with the same criticisms I had with the other four books: no explanation about how all the magic works and overuse of capitalized words that signify nothing. Now, there is a little speech Will gives at the beginning of this book about how there are the Old Magic, Wild Magic, and High Magic, and how there are two "poles" (the Light and the Dark) and how the Old Ones are there to keep the Dark at bay, etc. But this is a summing up of rather than an out and out explanation. There's no exploration of the myriad things they can or cannot do, seemingly dictated by what is needed by the plot. There doesn't seem to be any set rules by which all this magic is governed, and any new magic is introduced to fit the plot and isn't really revisited again.Questions! I have so many questions that I know now will never be answered, such as:-What does it mean when Will's scar burns?-Why do Will and Merriman shout at each other in loud situations when they can easily use their telepathy?-Why does Will have trouble learning Welsh in "The Grey King" when in "Silver on the Tree" it says that learning a new language (in this case Latin) "came without effort to an Old One, as did any language of the world..." (Chapter 3: The Calling).-Why do bunches of twigs from 7 different trees make magic grenades?-If the Drew kids are so important to the whole saving the world adventure, why are they continually kept in the dark about what's going on?-You must do what I say or something bad will happen.-Okay, what do I have to do?-I can't tell you that.-Why?-Can't tell you that either.-Why is the Lady so weak throughout the whole series, and yet when the Dark issues a challenge to the High Magic court of law (I KID YOU NOT!) she appears as if nothing were wrong with her and helps officiate?-Why would there be a freaking courtroom scene right in the middle of the buildup to the end battle? As in, both sides are racing to the battlefield and boom! court scene?-Why do the Dark and the Light follow what the High Magic court says when Will himself earlier said "No other power orders them"?-Why was there a slight rewrite about what happened when the six Signs were joined? What Will remembers here is different that what happened in the 2nd book.-Why would the revealing of a "mole" be shocking here when the character was really barely introduced in this volume and exists only for a few pages of the whole saga?-Why would anyone think this is as good or better than Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Narnia, or His Dark Materials?I could go on, but my point is made. The writing and descriptions are well done, the story imaginative, but it's all for naught if the details are lacking and the plot is weak. Even the philosophical underpinnings are contradictory and muddled. I don't recommend this for anyone above the age of 12. There are far better thought out and sophisticated books and series out there than the Dark Is Rising's simplistic approach to everything.-So, what's my job as an Old One?-You, and only you, can find the objects needed to vanquish the enemy.-Okay, where is the first one?-Everywhere and nowhere. Here and there. In This Time and Out of Time.-....-(pointing) It's over there.-Oh, there it is. That was easy.-You did have to get a chair to reach up there.-I guess.-Okay, so the Five of us are here.-Shouldn't there be Six of us?-Shut up, that doesn't matter right now.-You don't have to be rude.-That's the way it is with us Old Ones.-So where's this thing we're supposed to find?-I haven't said that part yet!-Sorry. Go ahead.-I'll say it when I want to, not when you tell me. (pause) Okay, so we have to find this hidden object.-Where?-I dunno. All I have is this mysterious riddle. "Find the thing you're looking for somewhere that isn't here."-What kind of riddle is that? Everywhere else is somewhere that isn't here.-Well lets start looking then. (pointing) Let's start over there.-Omigod, it's right there!-Whew! That was really hard.-No it wasn't. We found it in the first place we looked.-You know, it's a good thing you won't remember any of this when we're done.-Okay, so I'm a normal human child. What do I have to do to defeat the Dark?-Tsk child, there's no such thing.-But you just told me there was. There's a Dark and a Light, and the Light is good and the Dark is bad.-(waving his hand in the air) Forget everything child, you are just a human who can't handle knowing these things.-Who the eff are you? Obi Wan?-I said forget!!-Forget what?-Good. Now, we have a very important thing to do.-What?-We must find... a hidden object.-Why?-Because if We don't find it... They will.-Who's they?-They! With a capital T!-Okay... who are They?-They are the Dark. We are the Light.-I thought I wasn't supposed to know that.-When it's convenient for me. Now go find it!-So, the end battle, is it gonna be totally rad and violent and epic?-It sure is!-There's six of us. Well, actually seven, maybe eight, but whatever. What's our role? What's gonna make us beat the Dark? The magic sword? The six magic signs? The albino kid? Merlin? The old broad?-No. Well yes, but not really.-So... what?-Well, we're gonna pick a flower.-Say what?-It's a totally magical flower though. On a totally magic tree.-We need seven people and a magical lady to do this?-Yes.-Really?-Yes.-Really really?-Yes! We need the sword to cut the flower.-So, any one of us could do this.-No, only the albino kid can use the sword. The rest of us have to help keep the Dark away.-How?-We'll stand around the tree holding the Signs.-Oh. We can't just put them around the tree?-No.-We have to hold them? One per Sign?-Yup.-Why?-....because. Good Silver on the Tree By Susan Cooper Viral Books The Dark is rising in its last and greatest bid to control the world And Will Stanton last born of the immortal Old Ones, dedicated to keeping the world free must join forces with this ageless master Merriman and Bran, the Welsh boy whose destiny ties him to the Light Drawn in with them are the three Drew children, who are mortal, but have their own vital part in tThe Dark is rising in its last and greatest bid to control the world And Will Stanton last born of the immortal Old Ones, dedicated to keeping the world free must join forces with this ageless master Merriman and Bran, the Welsh boy whose destiny ties him to the Light Drawn in with them are the three Drew children, who are mortal, but have their own vital part in the story These six fight fear and death in the darkly brooding Welsh hills, in a quest through time and space that touches the most ancient myths of the British Isles, and that brings Susan Cooper s masterful sequence of novels to a satisfying close.. Susan Cooper s latest book is the YA novel Ghost Hawk 2013 Susan Cooper was born in 1935, and grew up in England s Buckinghamshire, an area that was green countryside then but has since become part of Greater London As a child, she loved to read, as did her younger brother, who also became a writer After attending Oxford, where she became the first woman to ever edit that university s newspaper, Cooper worked as a reporter and feature writer for London s Sunday Times her first boss was James Bond creator Ian Fleming.Cooper wrote her first book for young readers in response to a publishing house competition Over Sea, Under Stone would later form the basis for her critically acclaimed five book fantasy sequence, The Dark Is Rising The fourth book in the series, The Grey King, won the Newbery Medal in 1976 By that time, Susan Cooper had been living in America for 13 years, having moved to marry her first husband, an American professor, and was stepmother to three children and the mother of two.Cooper went on to write other well received novels, including The Boggart and its sequel The Boggart and the Monster , King of Shadows , and Victory, as well as several picture books for young readers with illustrators such as Ashley Bryan and Warwick Hutton She has also written books for adults, as well as plays and Emmy nominated screenplays, many in collaboration with the actor Hume Cronyn, whom she married in 1996 Hume Cronyn died in 2003 and Ms Cooper now lives in Marshfield MA When Cooper is not working, she enjoys playing piano, gardening, and traveling.Recent books include the collaborative project The Exquisite Corpse Adventure and her biography of Jack Langstaff titled The Magic Maker Her newest book is Ghost Hawk Visit her Facebook pages facebook SusanCooperFanPagefacebook GhostHawkBySusanCooper. Good Ebook Silver on the Tree Fire on the mountain shall find the harp of goldPlayed to wake the Sleepers, oldest of the old;Power from the green witch, lost beneath the sea;All shall find the Light at last, silver on the tree.This was my Harry Potter, you kids.It is still magic.September 2013 rereadI still remember the day in fifth grade, many, many years ago, when the school librarian told me that the book I'd been waiting for was in. Silver on the Tree, the fifth and final volume in Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising sequence.It was this cover:I had torn through the first four books. (I think I read the first one, Over Sea, Under Stone, out of order the first time, which was okay because it's kind of a prequel to the rest of the series.) With the second one, The Dark is Rising, I was hooked. For some reason I had to wait for the fifth book, though. When the librarian handed it to me, I was thrilled... but also sad. I remember that distinctly. I was sad, because I was about to read the last book and then it would be over.I remember loving this concluding volume, but also feeling such sadness when I was finished because the series was over.I haven't felt anything like that since, until a few years ago when I read the entire Harry Potter series in a month. While the feelings were not as strong because I'm older and more jaded, and while I can certainly recognize Rowling's flaws as a writer, the fact that Harry and his friends in their silly boy wizard fantasy world managed to conjure some of the same emotions I once felt as a ten-year-old is the reason why I credit Rowling with having created something truly timeless and special, even if I can point to a dozen fantasy series that are objectively better-written. I don't know what that "special sauce" is in a children's book series that makes it transcend plot and prose and curl literary fingers around your heart, but Rowling had it, and Susan Cooper had it.Now, I am not much of a rereader. I almost never reread books. I understand a lot of people reread their favorite books often. There are people who boast of reading the entire Harry Potter series a dozen times. (I read them each once. That's it.) It's a habit I just don't get, even if I realize I am the unusual one. To my way of thinking, there are thousands of books I'd like to read and will never get to before I die, so why waste one of the finite "reading slots" allotted to me in my lifetime to a book I've already read?Still, now and then I do reread something, usually something I read so long ago I've forgotten it. Maybe in twenty or thirty years I will reread Harry Potter.Over the past year, I cautiously and with some trepidation approached my favorite childhood series once again. Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising. I was afraid the series I loved so much as a child would be a pale, childish shadow when read as an adult who's read thousands of books since. I've read the Chronicles of Narnia and the Lord of the Rings (well, I lie, I have never read the LotR all the way through, I need to do that one of these days) and lots of other fantasy, MG and YA and adult and grimdark. So nothing can be as new and fresh for me as Susan Cooper's books were when I first read them, nor as tragic.I didn't want to find out that they just weren't that special, though.To be honest, I enjoyed them on my reread, but yes, I'm an adult now and these books are written for children, so they just didn't enthrall me the way they did when I was ten. A fine series, and great, descriptive, evocative writing — Susan Cooper is so much better than J.K. Rowling when it comes to putting words on the page and imagery in your head.But until the last book, it was a pleasant nostalgia trip, but as I expected, they have aged perfectly well but they have aged.Then I got to the last few chapters of Silver on the Tree. And... it wasn't quite the same. Not quite. But I felt it again. That ten-year-old inside me remembers.Silver on the Tree relates the final battle between the Dark and the Light. It brings together all the characters who have been serving the cause of the Light throughout the first four books, sometimes together and sometimes separately: the Drew children, Jane, Simon, and Barney; Will Stanton, the last of the Old Ones, simultaneously a pre-adolescent boy and an immortal wizard with all the magical knowledge of the ages at his command; Bran, the albino boy taken out of time to fulfill a destiny set for him a thousand years earlier; and Merriman, of course.The Dark Rider returns too, along with a White Rider, and all the other forces of the Dark. Susan Cooper didn't write a plot so full of crafty easter eggs as Rowling did, but like Rowling, she will make use in the last book of things mentioned in all the preceding ones. Will and Bran have to go on a quest that resounds with Celto-Arthurian mythology, and the Drew children have their own mortal part to play. All that was fun and splendid and rich, that alone would have made this the best book of the series.But the ending — in which there is love and loss and sacrifice on a scale that probably only J.R.R. Tolkien or CS Lewis have approached in children's literature. Definitely not Rowling. I'm sorry, killing an owl and a Weasley or two is cheap tear-jerking. But the part that John Rowlands plays in the final confrontation, even after learning the truth about his wife, was about as intense as a ten-year-old reader could probably have grasped, when conveying adult feelings of grief and loss. Followed by the arrival of the King, and Bran's decision, and then... Will, left alone with the Drews, and what they lose as well.It's a happy ending - the good guys win, of course. And Susan Cooper's finale is more bloodless than Rowling's. There's hardly any actual bloodshed throughout the series; for all that the Dark is the manifestation of everything evil and selfish in the human heart, the child protagonists are always protected by "rules" that limit when the forces at war can do direct harm.But it's a very bittersweet victory. You can see them walking off into the sunset, and know that it's over.5 stars for the child in everyone's heart.

  1. Susan Cooper s latest book is the YA novel Ghost Hawk 2013 Susan Cooper was born in 1935, and grew up in England s Buckinghamshire, an area that was green countryside then but has since become part of Greater London As a child, she loved to read, as did her younger brother, who also became a writer After attending Oxford, where she became the first woman to ever edit that university s newspaper, Cooper worked as a reporter and feature writer for London s Sunday Times her first boss was James Bond creator Ian Fleming.Cooper wrote her first book for young readers in response to a publishing house competition Over Sea, Under Stone would later form the basis for her critically acclaimed five book fantasy sequence, The Dark Is Rising The fourth book in the series, The Grey King, won the Newbery Medal in 1976 By that time, Susan Cooper had been living in America for 13 years, having moved to marry her first husband, an American professor, and was stepmother to three children and the mother of two.Cooper went on to write other well received novels, including The Boggart and its sequel The Boggart and the Monster , King of Shadows , and Victory, as well as several picture books for young readers with illustrators such as Ashley Bryan and Warwick Hutton She has also written books for adults, as well as plays and Emmy nominated screenplays, many in collaboration with the actor Hume Cronyn, whom she married in 1996 Hume Cronyn died in 2003 and Ms Cooper now lives in Marshfield MA When Cooper is not working, she enjoys playing piano, gardening, and traveling.Recent books include the collaborative project The Exquisite Corpse Adventure and her biography of Jack Langstaff titled The Magic Maker Her newest book is Ghost Hawk Visit her Facebook pages facebook SusanCooperFanPagefacebook GhostHawkBySusanCooper

846 Reply to “Silver on the Tree”

  1. Fire on the mountain shall find the harp of goldPlayed to wake the Sleepers, oldest of the old Power from the green witch, lost beneath the sea All shall find the Light at last, silver on the tree.This was my Harry Potter, you kids.It is still magic.September 2013 rereadI still remember the day in fifth grade, many, many years ago, when the school librarian told me that the book I d been waiting for was in Silver on the Tree, the fifth and final volume in Susan Cooper s Dark is Rising sequence.I [...]


  2. I remember loving these books as a child but I had forgotten how much I skipped over Re reading childhood favorites is dangerous, but in the case of the Dark Is Rising books, you really should not do it.What I loved was the Drew children, because Stone Over Sea is a wonderful book and I kept reading to get of them But everything having to do with Will Stanton was so outrageously irritating, I nearly didn t finish the fifth book, Silver on the Tree Good lord He magically gets all these outrageou [...]


  3. This was a disappointing end to a disappointing series It s all too vague, says Jane at one point, at the start of yet another random adventure, a sentiment that unfortunately applies to the whole of The Dark Is Rising sequence.I don t even know where to begin, so I ll start with the same criticisms I had with the other four books no explanation about how all the magic works and overuse of capitalized words that signify nothing Now, there is a little speech Will gives at the beginning of this bo [...]


  4. Some authors treat magic in a somehow mechanistic way, although perhaps no explanation is offered for how the magic works.The magic user says a spell, flames light up.The magic user says a spell, he levitates.The magic user says a spell, somebody dies.As easy as that.But there are other authors who can do than that they create worlds in which magic feels like air filling the atmosphere there, seeping through the words that we read so that we feel magical ourselves One of the authors with such a [...]


  5. Well, this was exceedingly disappointing.Silver on the Tree encapsulates and highlights every single thing that was frustrating about the series as a whole the vagueness of the plot, the lack of any real sense of danger considering that the Dark is Rising , the quests that are not really quests and are like stumbling unto Things, the overwhelming sense that everything is pre ordained even though everybody talks about free will, the lack of any character development, the romantic obsession with [...]


  6. In this last book, everything comes together All the characters, all the plots and threads, all the separate pieces of mythology Again, it s a beautiful book, and again, as always, there is some amazing characterisation The things that catch my eye especially in this book are the initial awe resentment of Bran from the Drews, Gwion s loyalty to and grief for Gwddyno, and John s grief when Blodwen betrays him There s a lot of complex emotion going on here beneath the actual plot, and parts of it [...]


  7. Finally finished my yearly ish reread with this book The conclusion to the sequence is full of its own magic and beauty, but because of the ending, it just can t be my favourite Perhaps in a similar way that The Farthest Shore doesn t work for me I don t like it when the magic comes to an end The whole sequence in the Lost Land is gorgeous, and probably my favourite thing about this book Then, of course, there s the interactions between the group such disparate kids, and brought together for a q [...]


  8. And now we have to talk about The Thing Spoilers abound, for once, because I ve really just gotta get my teeth straight into this Before that, though, the rest of the book It s honestly, I m not crazy about it I remember that this was never one I reread much as a child Well, that s not true I reread the first third all the time, but I d stop whenever the magic started coming thick and heavy There is something so wrenching about Will and his brother by the river, about Stephen caring enough to a [...]


  9. I ve read this entire series by audiobook, and while I enjoyed it, I really think I need to go back and read them as books Sometimes I would have gaps of days in between my listening within a book, and gaps of weeks or even months between the books themselves, so I got a little confused The whole series seems a bit un explained, to me, and I m really kind of perplexed that I couldn t get as into it as so many other people I didn t like the way the point of view jumped back and forth between the [...]


  10. I never read these as a kid, though I was aware of them I read them as an adult, and I remember the entire series as a whole I think I d like to read them aloud to my kids, once we finish Harry Potter.


  11. What breaks my heart a little bit every time is that they have to forget it happened.Sometimes I think the best ends to stories like this are the bittersweet ones The adventure happened, you changed the world, but then you must forget and become ordinary once .


  12. I really don t know what it is about this series that leaves me less than enthusiastic about reading it I barely managed to finish this, the final book In fact I ended up skimming most of the second half and tuning back in only for the final battle Throughout the whole series the story suffered from a removed and distant point of view, so I never felt anxious or sad of happy about anything that happened The bad guys weren t really that bad they followed all the rules There was even a point in th [...]


  13. The 5th of an amazing children s series I d read so many times over that the spine creases combined into one, big, obscuring curl I m saddened by the previews of the upcoming movie where it appears the lilting beauty of Cooper s story has been fed steroids and enhanced with explosions What s this about an American protagonist rather than English, and no mention of the Arthurian connection The horrors


  14. A satisfying conclusion to the series I realized, listening to the books, that they re not so much about what happens as about the tone, the sense of place, and the way that good and evil work themselves out in the world I couldn t really tell you the plot of this one the Dark is rising again and Will and the others are trying to stop it But that scarcely mattered, because I was interested in how Bran would decide his own fate, and how John Rowlands would respond to an unexpected twist in his li [...]


  15. Squeaked this in just before 2013 began There s little I can say about this book I don t understand people who don t like it, who can t see the layers of ambiguity in it, the way there s always to discover Mind you, I m sure it s partly me that brings that to this most loved story.I love that Susan Cooper s people are people, most of them neither Dark nor Light but people, trying to live I ve needed a Stephen Stanton in the past, and Susan Cooper reminds me as Will is reminded by his family th [...]


  16. SO a five book series comes down to a three page climax in which the main character can t really call him a protagonist because of how little he actually does is little than an observer He s never in danger, never emotionally challenged, and does not grow or change He does what he s supposed to do, like everybody else in the series, but there s never really any reason to feel anything for him, about him, or with him.The writing is sometimes beautiful, and the world is interesting, with a someti [...]


  17. Well, here we are, at the end of a very long journey I can see now why The Dark is Rising sequence is packaged, well, as a sequence The individual novels are quite short some of them closer to novellas than anything else The five book stories are in fact a single story, but packaged together, they take up nearly 800 pages of very small print It s an adult sized story aimed at young adults and children, and I imagine the omnibus edition is intimidating I found it intimidating, which is why I ve b [...]


  18. I have now completed my re read of this series.I want this book to be so much better than it is It s not as weak as The Dark Is Rising was, but it s not much better Susan Cooper describes things and people and scenery endlessly, and continues to drop chunks of convenient exposition all over the place that haven t even been hinted at in the foregoing series, but there is minimal character development of the protagonists, and sometimes minimal interaction It is almost as if Cooper suddenly realize [...]


  19. I wanted to like this book The Drew kids were back, as was Bran, so they were supposed to outweigh Will Stanton s Will Stantonness Ironically, Will Stanton actually has human moments in this book than he s had in a while, so to balance it out, Bran basically loses all sense of self and sleepwalks through his destiny And the Drew kids BARELY DO ANYTHING Susan Cooper s poor pacing continues, as we begin with random racism that s supposed to represent the Dark s hold on humanity or something, and [...]


  20. This book brings together the rest of the sequence, and brings the struggle of the Light and the Dark to its conclusion It s mostly set in Wales, with all the characters reuniting there It has a lot of the stunning passages of prose that I ve praised before, and as with The Grey King, it s a bit subtle in terms of the Light Dark divide Not quite as much as I d really like to see, I think the White Rider is a pretty troubling figure I d want ambiguity there, of a hint that she had feelings as [...]


  21. This book was slightly better than the 3rd or 4th book in the series, but I just couldn t get through it I think one reason that I don t really like these books is that there is no climax It follows the characters down a fairly straight forward path There is no tension everything just falls into place and is easy.


  22. As I finish this series I m filled with a lot of mixed feelings There were a great deal of things I enjoyed about these books but other things that were disappointing or bafflingBut in terms of this book, I found this an underwhelming and overly long finale Too often the text devolved into descriptions of things The entire first part of the book was 100% unnecessary When you can cut an entire large section of your book without it messing up the plot you have a very serious problem And I can t ev [...]


  23. Well, that s that At last.When these books first came out I gulped them, without a belch or even coming up for air I loved them, but my life changed radically in about 18 mos time and I left the small town where I grew up, its library, and indeed its continent for a new home I thought about this series fondly from time to time, so when I had the chance to re read it, I was eager to do so.Oh dear Those who follow my reviews will know it s been just one disappointment after the other 80% of that i [...]


  24. Cooper brings us to a fine conclusion in the battle between good and evil, the light and the dark The ending in this is packed with emotion and heartbreak I thought this was a superb series if I had read it as a child I would have loved it even .


  25. Silver on the Tree combines all the best of the other books of the sequence the magic, the genuine moments of terror and alarm, the weaving of legends and the everyday, the mysteries that leave you to wonder, the sense of place And than any of the others it combines both sadness and joy in that, it s the most adult of the sequence.I especially enjoy little touches like Bran getting to meet Owain Glynd r one thing I did miss was Barney not having of a reaction to actually meeting King Arthur wh [...]


  26. My full, overview like review of this book is here this review is just about my most recent reading It was unfortunately swift, really, since my poor girlfriend needs to sleep and I was only halfway through by sometime past midnight So I hurried up, and didn t have as much time as I d like to savour the images and the taste of the words Not that it isn t, in a way, appropriate to read it as a race against time, since that s what this book is From the sleepiness, the slow start of Over Sea Under [...]


  27. Concluding my seasonal reread of The Dark is Rising, the series last and longest book Also, somehow, the hardest to read You know how sometimes, a book isn t bad or boring you, but you still find your eye sort of sliding off the text And yet the story is definitely making it through to you, albeit in a fractured form The whole series has had an aspect of dream to it waking in the middle of the night to find oneself back in time, and so forth but it s a deeper dream this time, with much of the ac [...]


  28. Loved the ending Best of the series.I would have enjoyed all of the books if the details of the plot had been precise It s all a mystical world, so the author gets to make up the rules but they seemed very blurred and haphazard As the reader, you know The Light will win in the end, but the eventual triumph seemingly rests on lots of vague circumstances taking place and things happening just so Arbitrary laws seem to be the basis for everything, which partly increases the mystery of the world o [...]


  29. My favorite book in the Dark is Rising sequence is the first one, Over Sea, Under Stone All the others are just not as good.I listened to these books and probably would not have finished all of them if I had been reading them instead This one had the same long winded descriptions of this and that, so much so that the reader gets kind of lost in what the actual action is, that is to say what s important to the story line The ending got way too preachy for my taste, but I suppose that could be att [...]


  30. The last book in the quintet series of The Dark Is Rising.This concludes the tale of Will the sign seeker and the Drew children and Bran Pendragon It races across Buckinghamshire, Wales and the Chiltern Hills towards the last battle of the Dark against the Light.There are some unforgettable characters with this series and although aimed at young people initially, it is timeless and ageless in it s appeal With it s mix of Arthurian and Old English and Welsh mythology it has a magical feel to it.I [...]


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