Every year I compete with my siblings to read the most books, and re-reading books we’ve already read won’t add to our official book-counts for the year. Still, some books are just made to be re-read every so often. For me, the Dark Is Rising series (also referred to as the Dark Is Rising Sequence), by Susan Cooper, is one I am drawn to re-read every decade or so.
The second book in the series (which many people pick up first), The Dark Is Rising, introduces a boy who finds himself at the center of a world of strange powers and ancient lore. He is the seventh son of a seventh son, and has a vital destiny to follow and deeds he must perform to preserve his family and community and all of mankind. I actually didn’t read this series again last time I wanted to, choosing instead to strive towards my goal of reading over 200 books in one year, so the last time I really read the whole 5-book series was way back in the 90’s, while I was in 10th grade. Reading The Dark Is Rising again now, in my 30’s, I love it just as much as I remembered before, only in the intervening decades I have studied Celtic cultures, histories and languages, and I understand the historical sources Cooper draws on in constructing her fantasy. The mark of a good young-adult fantasy novel, I think, is in its ability to offer as much to adult readers as it does to teenage readers, and Cooper’s series passes this test so far.
If you have already had the pleasure of reading this series, I can recommend it as one worth reading again, when you are ready, of course. If you have not read these books yet and were thinking you missed your window, having not picked them up when you were younger, I highly recommend picking up the first book in this series and diving in. The books in this series are fast reads, but full of Celtic history and culture, with well-paced stories and nicely crafted characters.