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Seaward [Hardcover]

Susan Cooper
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, Oct 1983 --  
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Book Description

Oct 1983
West and Cally, who speak different languages and come from different countries thousands of miles apart, are wrenched by catastrophe out of reality into a perilous world through which they must travel toward the sea.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Bodley Head Children's Books; First Edition edition (Oct 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0370309952
  • ISBN-13: 978-0370309958
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,932,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! 23 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Even if this one is not the best known of Susan Cooper's books I thnik it deserves five stars and more. I can't really do credit to this book. But I will say that the language is beautiful, the charecters amazingly life like, and the book is not to preachy, as this sort of book might be. Amazing, that about sums it up!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book 21 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love this book. I first read it as a teenager and over 20 years later it is still excellent
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3.0 out of 5 stars poor quality 12 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Book fell apart whilst reading it.had to put back together.other than that story was a very good read thoroughly enjoyed
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely 20 Oct 2000
By ReaderFromAK - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is one of the most beautiful love stories ever crafted. I think Susan Cooper is a genius of description and this story about two young people dealing with loss shows her skill admirably. West and Cally experience deep, true love being born in them out of trust and shared experience. This book has all the fantasy and detailed dreamlike settings you come to expect from Susan Cooper, and the only problem with this book is that the peripheral characters, even the main antagonists, are pale in comparison with Cally and West. S.C. has created such strong, rich, personalities for the two of them that the others can't match up. This fact, however, does not really detract from the book, because this really is a story of what happens inside West's and Cally's minds and hearts after their great losses. The other characters are there to personify traits and abstracts; good, evil, loyalty, etc. If you are looking for a smart, deep fantasy story with a dash of powerful romance thrown in (the description of West watching Cally wash her hair is one of the most heartstopping bits I've ever read), read Seaward. You won't be disappointed.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is my favourite 21 Jun 2000
By Lenora Heikkinen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am twenty-three years old, and I have loved this book since I was in my very early teens.
Susan Cooper is a classic children's author, and her Dark is Rising sequence regularly gets praised as her best, or at least most popular work.
This book, although very different from her previous and following works, blows even the best of that whole series away.
It is the journey of West and Cally, two teens both suffering from grief, through a strange country, where life and death are living beings. All they know is that they must travel to the sea; neither is entirely certain why. This journey allows both teens to come to terms with their own pain, and their different losses.
The landscape is strange and dreamlike; it is known from her comments in essays that Susan Cooper literally uses dreams to inspire scenes in her stories, and this story more than any other seems to me filled with that drifting feeling. The two main characters are well dsrawn, and some of the supporting cast are very memorable. It also makes excellent use of the selkies, a piece of old folklore of which I am particularly fond.
Best of all, Susan Cooper does NOT do here the thing which made Silver on the Tree such a huge disappointment to me; she does not cheat at the end.
(Warning for those who haven't read the book; spoiler ahead)
Where in Silver on the Tree, the characters risk life and limb in the ultimate battle, only to be made to forget all that they have accomplished through the whole Dark is Rising series (thus making the series itself pointless), in Seaward, the characters are made to forget - for a while only , with a promise that they will remember again when they need to. This ending satisfies, where the similar clossing to Silver on the Tree only disappoints.
(spoiler done)
There are some stories which stay in one's mind for one's lifetime. I knew the moment I was done this story that this would be one of those books. It was my favourite when I was younger, and now that I have met more grief of my own, it has become a much deeper part of me. I only wish it were a little better known behind her more popular works.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars fun but predictable 5 Oct 2001
By Julie Clawson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As a Dark is Rising fan, I had to read Seaward. I found that it fits the typical fantasy motif of the journey, but that the journey is the only plot that there is in the novel.
The book tells the story of Cally and West who, both having recently lost parents, stumble into a fantasy world where they meet up and brave the journey to the sea where they believe they will find their parents. Along the way, they must face the challenges imposed on them by the Lady Tarnis who wants to imprison them in her land, as well as the natural hardships of the land (desert, mountains, rivers, snow). As they travel they learn how to trust others, know themselves, and possibly fall in love. While the journey is long and enlightening, the end comes abruptly and is resolved quickly. While I was satisfied with the ending, it was a hollow satisfaction.
I liked the characters that I met in the book, but I wish that they had been developed more. While I understand that the depth level was created for younger readers, I wanted the emotions and psychological musings to be developed further. Since there was not much of a plot, the effects of the journey on the characters was the main element of the book and I just think more could have been done with it.
While the book does have its problems, it is still a really fun book. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy stories about journeys.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting tale 30 Dec 2002
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Susan Cooper is best known for her epic "Dark is Rising Sequence," but "Seaward" is not as well-known, while also drawing on the same Celtic legends. It's a little darker, a little differently-written, but a great read for people with enough patience.
Westerly's mother was killed by gunmen, and he escaped through a door into a strange land, with three magical bones. Calliope, a girl with strange thick skin on her hands, watches her parents waste away with a strange illness and leave her alone,and she slips through a mirror to the same land. When Cally encounters West, he is trying to escape from the ruthless, cold-hearted Lady Taranis.
A kindly stranger named Lugan seems to be their best hope for escaping Taranis. As the two travellers cross the world that is an echo of our own, they encounter strange creatures such as the sealpeople (selkies), a talking insect that guides them over a desert, creatures made of stone, and the haunting specters of their own pasts and destinies...
"Seaward" seems like a pretty simple story at first, but in that simple storyline Cooper tackles questions about death and life, about grief, about good and evil. Westerly's guilt over his mother's death and Cally's opportunity to be with the selkies are beautifully drawn. Her writing is dreamy, lush, but thankfully never becomes overwrought.
Cally and West are very alike, very confused and lacking in understanding, but drawn "seaward" and both dealing with grief. Taranis comes across as very childlike and petulant, while Lugan is paternal and kindly. There aren't many supporting characters, but the Stonecutter is pretty unnerving, and Peth is endearing and sad.
Probably the biggest stumbling block in "Seaward" is the slightly dreamy tone of it all. Unlike the "Dark is Rising" books, there is no grounded "homey" base -- it's all like a legend right from the beginning. As a result, it takes awhile for the story to really get going, and there are long stretches where the characters are just walking. There's no cursing or violence, although there is one scene where Cally and West experience some pretty strong physical attraction (though nothing happens). Their romance is a little abrupt as well, although hardly unexpected; in fact, it's pretty sweet.
"Seaward" is a fantastic story, with likeable characters and a deceptively simple storyline. Fans of Cooper and Celtic legends will eat this right up.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book, it will change you. 24 May 2005
By Laura Anne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
At the risk of sounding overblown, this is one of the most heartstoppingly, breathtakingly beautiful pieces of literature I've ever experienced. I've had a long and fruitful acquaintance with Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series, but I didn't read Seaward until my sophomore year of college, which is a great shame.

This book will just suck you in, and if you're at all inclined to cry at what you read in books, this will have you in tears. The relationship between Cally and Westerly is touching and very believable - the way it unfolds is fascinating.

The interplay between Lugan and Taranis provides a thought-provoking counterpoint to their relationship, as do the other relationships seen in the book. This story also includes Cooper's own favourite character, Peth, who has to be seen (or read) to be believed.

The setting of the book is also wonderful - it incorporates elements of the Britanno-Celtic myths and legends that permeate so much of Cooper's work, as well as other recurring themes to do with light and dark, and things not being what they seem. The books also incorporates some elements that show Cooper's fascination with time, and also includes a fantastical dreamlike setting that is at times reminiscent of Lewis Carroll's work.

This books is truly amazing, read it without preconceptions and with an open heart and mind and I will be astonished if you find it disappointing. Even if the lessons and discoveries of Cally and Westerly aren't new to you, they are so beautifully described in this book that I can't imagine anyone being unmoved by them.
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