Ever since I read Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising, and the sequence of which it is part I have loved Susan Cooper’s books and she she has remained one of my favoured authors. Probably my next favourite of her books was the less well-known (I think) Seaward, but these were all books of my childhood and she releases new books only occasionally. I was therefore really looking forward with great anticipation, reading this, her latest. So much so that I went down to my local bookshop on the day of publication to buy it…
I was not disappointed. The narrative is delicious. Through Susan Cooper’s words you really get a feel for the landscape and the language of the native American people at the the time when the first English settlers were arriving. Throughout Book One, I really felt that I was living Little Hawk’s life as he experienced his coming of age adventures on his own, and I was shocked and surprised at how Part One ends… although I’m not sure why considering the title of the book!
The tale of John is also convincing, but I feel that I was let down by the story as a whole for the same reason that, much as I love The Dark is Rising Sequence, I feel a little unfulfilled by it. The main characters seem to be following some predermined destiny that they must follow and so in the end, whatever they might decide to do or not do its not actually going to make any difference. In The Dark Is Rising Will is an Old One who has no choice but to do what has been foretold. Here, Ghost Hawk too, must wait on his island for John to come to him – they can’t do their own thing.
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