For those of you who still haven’t come to terms with the fact that the Harry Potter franchise has ended, might I suggest Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising series? In the wake of the success of the Harry Potter films, the second book in the series, The Dark Is Rising has been made into a motion picture, with a release date in early October.
Although the poster and initial information regarding the movie don’t look particularly promising (if low production values and child actors don’t give you pause, the preview’s dialogue certainly will), the books themselves are excellent and should provide succor for young (and young at heart) Potterites interested in continuing their journey into the realms of fantasy.
The story follows a boy, Will Stanton, who learns he is the last of a magical race known as the Old Ones. This revelation is soon followed by the realization that he must use his newfound powers to battle an evil force known only as “The Dark” (it’s rising, don’t you know.) Of course, in the grand tradition of young adult fiction, it’s not enough that Will has to deal with the nefarious powers of some ancient evil, he also has to overcome the trials of “growing up.” The books are set in Great Britain in the sixties and seventies and Cooper combines a winning look into British life at the time with extensive use of Arthurian legend and Welsh mythology to tell a story that, although somewhat lacking the light touch Rowling brought to Potter, never fails to entertain.
As for the movie, for better or worse, I fully plan to spend ten dollars and two hours of my life this fall reliving the many hours of my childhood spent engrossed in the saga. Here’s hoping it delivers.
Bonus Link: A review from the book’s release in 1973