The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper
Will Stanton is the seventh son of the seventh son, unaware that his life is about to change forever. As the snow falls, and Christmas approaches, Will begins to notice that the world around him is shifting – animals react to him in fear, and a strange man is lurking on the fringes of his family’s farm. On the eve of his eleventh birthday, Will wakes to a silent house. Unable to rouse his still-sleeping family, Will ventures out into the snow, where he enters the world of the Rider and the Old Ones. His destiny, as the last of the Old Ones and the Sign seeker, has awoken. But the Dark is rising, the Walker is abroad, and Will must learn his powers quickly, not only to save his family, but to ensure that the Light is not banished forever.
Susan Cooper’s fantasy saga holds its own alongside contemporary superstars like Harry Potter and Nevermoor. A gentle entry into the world of magic, quest and adventure, the book is a perfect starting point for readers who might be interested in longer epics like Lord of the Rings, but are intimidated by their complexity. I fell easily back into Will’s story, and was immediately charmed by the serious, complex child, old before his time, just as I had been on my first read of the book, some years ago. The Dark Is Rising stands the test of time and will delight readers looking for a magical tale to help them find their way through an uncertain world. For ages 9+.