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.