The Dark Is Rising

Book review by
Tara L. Rivera, Common Sense Media
The Dark Is Rising Book Poster Image
Parents recommend
Classic fantasy is a bit slow, but enthralling.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 20 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

A young man turns against his benefactor and follows the forces of the Dark.


A sign is burnt into a young boy's hand, but the scar later disappears. A mother breaks her leg when she is forced to throw herself down a flight of stairs. A flock of birds attack people. Multiple encounters between agents of the Dark and the Light.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the author's powerful narrative vision will draw young readers into this exciting tale. There is some fantasy violence and a young man turns against his benefactor and follows the forces of the Dark. This is the second book in a five-book series and actually the best one to start with.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8 and 10-year-old Written byVicsBM July 5, 2018

E xcellent series

I loved these books when I was young and can't wait for my kids to read them. Arthurian themes, evocative landscapes and cosy villages, interesting charact... Continue reading
Adult Written byjjules March 10, 2021

Great book

I read this book at university when studying children's literature.
Just loved all the celtic mythology.
I recommended it to a ten year old I knew just rec... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written by600kw0rm March 9, 2021

The BEST Fantasy type novel

I love this book! It is a little bit confusing, but if you read the rest of the series, it is absolutely the best.
I actually read it first before Over Sea, Und... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 16, 2018

An captivating book for fantasy lovers - One in a series of five

The dark is rising may seem confusing at first but as you read on it will grow on you. It is great for people with lots of experience in reading books in which... Continue reading

What's the story?

Will Stanton meets his destiny on his 11th birthday. He is the Sign-Seeker, last of the immortal Old Ones, who must find and guard the six great Signs of the Light that will overcome the ancient evil that is overpowering the land. This classic fantasy is a bit slow, but enthralling.

Is it any good?

This second book in the series of five invites readers into an intricate fantasy world. Susan Cooper convincingly combines fantasy elements with folklore and mythology. At times, however, the time-traveling sequences are subtle and hard to follow.

The characters in THE DARK IS RISING are more fully developed than those in the first book in the series, and many readers skip the first book entirely. Will struggles with his new identity, and readers see him mature: "Will was instantly a furious Old One, so furious that he did not pause to think what he should do." Both Merriman and Will are relentless in their shared quest, and Hawkin, the tragic Walker, whose Judas-like behavior sentences him to walk the earth for centuries, painfully shows how he is a casualty of the struggle between good and evil.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about great fantasies. What are your favorite fantasy reads and why? Do they have characteristics in common? Why is the struggle of good vs. evil such a common theme?

Book details

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