on 10 November 2003
I have been a fan of the Dark is Rising sequence for many years. These books have stood the test of time with their engrossing stories, well thought out plots, depth of historical knowledge and complex characters.
The plot in this new non-sequential book has good intentions but it lacks depth compared with the Dark is Rising series. The visual pictures that Susan Cooper paints of the Bahamas and of grass roots activism to save a pristine cay from development are as always excellent. However, the parallel overpopulated and polluted Otherworld on the brink of ecological disaster seems even more lifeless and drab than intended. The characterisations of Lou, Trey and their grandparents and their life in the Bahamas are genuine and engaging, the Otherworld characters are sadly two-dimensional and barely memorable. The mystical element that pervades her other books is still present but sits uncomfortably with the eco-theme. A little disconcerting is that the Chief Seattle speech is "quoted" not only in the text but also on the cover, when the attribution of this famous eco-speech has been hotly debated.
An interesting eco-fable and indeed an important message but possibly, this book won’t stand the test of time like its forebears.
on 22 July 2011
Twelve year old Trey has a younger brother Lou. Lou does not speak and has epilpesy. They live in the idyllic Bahamas on a small island, which is under threat of a large development. A parallel world called Pangaia has been destroyed ny overdevelopment and pollution. Lou has been chosen by the people of the underworld to restore it back to a its former glory.
This is a good eco-tale, but for those of us brought up on the double Newberry award winning "Dark is Rising" sequence, this book will be a disappointment. There is still a small celtic element in the folk of Pangaia, and a strong mystical thread to the story. Nevertheless the world creation did not really seem to work form me. I loved the writing about the Bahamas, but I can barely bring Pangaia to mind at all. In any case it felt a little over-contrived. A cautionary tale that was simply not subtle enough
The ending of the story was pleasant, and I did enjoy this book. Nevertheless if I wanted to sell Susan Cooper as a writer to someone I would give them "The Dark is Rising" or her newer "Victory" or "The Boggart" in preference to this book.