This year Marshmallow has reviewed the first four books of Susan Cooper’s classic The Dark Is Rising series. Today she is finally ready to discuss the fifth and last book, Silver on the Tree, for the book bunnies blog. Sprinkles, who has also read the series recently, is taking notes and asking questions.
You can see Marshmallow’s reviews of the first four books here: Over Sea, Under Stone, The Dark is Rising, Greenwitch, and The Grey King.
Sprinkles: So Marshmallow, tell me about this book.
Marshmallow: Silver on the Tree is the fifth and the last book in the series The Dark Is Rising. The series is about the ultimate battle between the Light and the Dark. The Light represents good and the Dark is evil.
S: So what happens in this fifth book?
M: Bran and Will, two of the characters we met in some of the earlier books, go to a different realm, the Lost Land, to obtain the last magic item the Light needs in its war against the Dark. The magical item is a sword made by the king of the Lost Land, and after some challenges, they manage to get it. Eventually though, the Dark does rise, and things look pretty bad for a while. There is an unexpected villain, someone we trust who turns out to be one of the Dark Lords. Pretty strange turn of events, and kind of confusing at times…
S: I know you had some difficulty following some of the plot at times, and you did not always enjoy the book.
M: Yes, I found it a little difficult sometimes, but overall the plot is actually quite interesting. One of the main issues I had with this book was that the style of writing felt unfamiliar to me.
S: What do you mean? Do you think the language was a bit old fashioned?
M: No, not that, but somehow the story-telling was very fluid, going from one location and time to another, and it was not always clear who was doing what. Some of the plot occasionally went over my head until a bit later, when something else happened and I had to go back to reread.
S: You are a very good and experienced reader, so this is interesting to hear. So I can say for myself that I really enjoyed reading each of the books in this series, but I can also see how sometimes things got a bit confusing. There were spots where the transitions between different times and actors were hinted at and not made very explicit, and the actual extent and implications of the threat of the Dark rising were vague, to say the least.
M: Yes, that is exactly what I think. It was not always clear what the Dark rising actually meant because the Dark was evil, but evil in humans was not always caused by the Dark. But I think it meant that once the Dark rose, there would be no more hope of good. Though they could never destroy the other side, so there would always be the Light, and some chance of good, but if the Dark did rise and win it all, humanity would be lost. They would be all slaves to evil. Which sounds kind of vague, honestly, but definitely also pretty terrifying.
S: But you were not really scared reading the books themselves right?
M: No, that was not what I meant. I was only really a bit scared while reading the first book Over Sea, Under Stone. But the Dark rising is a serious threat, I could get that.
S: I see.
S: So overall, now that you are done with the whole series, what would you like to say to our readers about it?
M: I would recommend this book to people who like myths, because it blends Welsh mythology with King Arthur stories, and then adds some. There is magic, there is a big scary war between good and evil, and some quite ordinary kids having a role to play.
S: That sounds about right to me. If you could talk to the author, what would you say?
M: Well, I would say that the plots of all the books were very interesting though a bit confusing. I did love how she brought together different mythologies. But I really wished that she would have added some more female characters. The ones in the books were alright, I mean, Jane turned out to be useful in Greenwitch. And the Lady was one of the most powerful among those who fought for the Light, but more women and more girls could have made this story more captivating for me as a female bunny.
S: I cannot disagree with that! And I think you were quite disappointed by what happened to the main characters at the very end.
M: I think that is fair to say.
S: I know. But it also makes sense, no? That humans now have to make their own decisions, they cannot depend on the Light to save them nor can they blame the Dark for things that go wrong?
M: Hmm, I think you are now in spoiler territory!
S: You are right, I’m sorry. Let us stop here then. But in the end, I’d say that these are interesting books and this last one wraps things up in an overall satisfactory way…
M: Sure, I am happy to agree with that.
S: Okay, then how would you like to end the review?
M: I’ll adapt Caramel’s famous closing line to myself and say: “Stay tuned for more amazing reviews from the book bunnies!”
2 thoughts on “Marshmallow reviews Silver on the Tree by Susan Cooper”
Ahh, the never ending battle between good and evil always makes for good reading. I understand Marshmallow’s dissatisfaction with abrupt transitions in time and place. Some authors don’t do a good job in leading the reader through these transitions and therefore makes the story hard to follow.
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Good vs. evil is always a good subject for adventure. It seems that all cultures have stories along these lines., even real life has this conflict.
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