Monday, May 23, 2022

May 23: Susan Cooper, English YA author


Susan Cooper (1935 - ) is an English author of Young Adult literature. In the past 15 years or so I've had the pleasure of reading a number of excellent series of YA fantasy literature, and few stand out in my mind like Cooper's The Dark is Rising pentalogy. Like Narnia, it features the adventures of a group of siblings, here Simon, Jane, and Barnabas (Barney) Drew. In the second novel, they meet Will Stanton, the seventh son of a seventh son; on his 11th birthday he undergoes a magical awakening and a rise to power as the last of the Old Ones--not unlike Harry Potter, a "chosen one." Cooper draws upon Arthurian legends, Celtic mythology, Norse mythology, and English folklore for the adventures of these young people, as did Lloyd Alexander in his The Chronicles of Prydain. The five books are Over Sea, Under StoneThe Dark Is Rising (which lent the series its name); GreenwitchThe Grey King; and Silver on the Tree. I may as well mention here the two books by Alan Garner, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen: A Tale of Alderley and its sequel, The Moon of Gomrath, as being of the same ilk. These five (Cooper's, Narnia, Potter, Prydain, and the two Alderley books) would make a terrific summer reading spate. They all give Tolkien a run for his money.


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