Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Reads: The Grey King

I was introduced to Susan Cooper in school.  We read The Dark Is Rising in class, and I was hooked.  That book won the Newbery Honor in 1974, and rightly so.  Two years later, the fourth book in the sequence, The Grey King, won the Newbery Medal, also rightly so. It's my favorite in the sequence, so it's the one I chose for this week's Friday Reads.  (Note: It may be wise to start at the beginning of the sequence and work your way to this book.  You'll get the full impact that way.  However, if you must, this book can be read as a stand-alone, too.)

The Grey King  (Book 4 in The Dark is Rising Sequence)
by Susan Cooper

For: 8-12yos

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

Published: 1975

Description: There is a Welsh legend about a harp of gold, hidden within a certain hill, that will be found by a boy and a white dog with silver eyes--a dog that can see the wind.  Will Stanton knew nothing of this when he came to Wales to recover from a severe illness.  But when he met Bran, a strange boy who owned a white dog, he began to remember.  For Will is the last-born of the Old Ones, immortals dedicated to saving the world from the forces of evil, the Dark.  And it is Will's task to wake--with the golden harp--the six who must be roused from their long slumber in the Welsh hills to prepare for the last battle between the Dark and the Light.

Why I liked it: I love how Susan Cooper brings Wales alive (in each of her books in the sequence, really).  This one, in particular, is as beautiful as it is powerful.  The green mountains, the hilly fields, the idylllic Mlyn Mwyngil (the Welsh name for the lake in this book), all buzz with the unseen power of Light and Dark.  And the climax is as wrapped up in the setting as I was.  Truly, this entire sequence is a must-read for fantasy lovers.  

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