Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Review - Silver on the Tree by Susan Cooper

Short review: All of the characters introduced in the previous novels return and band together to defeat the Dark one last time.

Together again
To stand up against the Dark
Give up eternity

Full review: Silver on the Tree is the fifth and final book in Susan Cooper's The Dark Is Rising sequence. In some ways, the book feels a little anti-climactic, which may have been inevitable following the mostly excellent books that preceded it. Still, the main difficulty with the book is that it tries to do two, possibly incompatible things: It tries to make the Dark a formidable and dangerous foe, and tries to keep the tone of the book firmly aimed at younger readers. One or the other of these goals needed to give way, and unfortunately, the end result is that the Dark is less ominous and threatening than one would have hoped.

The book brings back all of the main characters from the earlier books: Will, Bran, Merriman, the Drew's and others. They prepare for a final showdown against the forces of the Dark, seeking once again to decipher ancient prophecies in the form of poems and hunt down required McGuffin artifacts. The whole plot seems to have something of a rehashed feel to it, and the outcome never really seems to be in doubt. The book wraps up all the story lines and packages them neatly with a bow on top, which is probably to be expected of a young adult novel, but after the more mature tone showing through in parts of The Grey King, this book seems like somewhat of a disappointment.

The book is still quite good, and is better than most young adult fiction out there (and better than a lot of fantasy fiction written for the adult market), but it just isn't as good as the book that preceded it, which makes reading it something of a disappointment. As with all of Cooper's books, it is better written than most young adult offerings, but it just feels like a series as good as The Dark Is Rising sequence should have had a better final book. I still recommend it, just not as highly as Over Sea, Under Stone, The Dark Is Rising, and The Grey King.

Previous book in the series: The Grey King

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