Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Review - Greenwitch by Susan Cooper

Short review: Jane Drew participates in a village festival and makes a compassionate wish.

Village festival
A wish-granting effigy
A wish for a witch

Full review: Greenwitch is the third book in Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising sequence. It is an odd book in some ways, and is both the shortest, and in my opinion, the weakest book in the series. The book is so short, in some ways, that it feels like it should have just been part of one of the other four books in the series. The book takes place between The Dark Is Rising and The Grey King, bringing Will Stanton and the Drew children together for the first time. The story revolves around a local folk festival in Cornwall, and the decisions made by Jane Drew.

As the book focuses on Jane Drew, and a folk festival that only women can participate in, this is the only book in the series that is told primarily from the perspective of a female character. Consequently, the fact that the folk festival is so obscure, and the book is so short is somewhat disappointing. Whereas the other books in the series are full of references to the myths and legends of the British Isles and have interesting storylines, this book seems to be very thin in comparison. The central myth dealt with in the book is, when you really look at it, quite small, especially since it is surrounded by the key elements of Arthurian, English, and Welsh national mythology. Even though the story is short, it doesn't feel rushed, just short, like there just wasn't much to say, and Jane just didn't have anything more to offer as a character.

Of all the books in the series, this one left me feeling the most disappointed. I felt like Cooper should have been able to give a more extensive story, but just couldn't come up anything more than a brief and linear tale to fill the gap between her other books. Though the writing is good, the plot is somewhat predictable and not really all that interesting. Fortunately, it is short, and as a bridge between the first and second halves of the series, it serves decently.

Previous book in the series: The Dark Is Rising
Subsequent book in the series: The Grey King

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