TBT Mini Reviews – Over Sea, Under Stone & The Dark Is Rising

Hello, everyone! Today I’m doing something a bit different. I’m reviewing books from my childhood that I’ve recently re-read. I’m sure we all have those books that are special to us because of nostalgia. The Dark Is Rising series is definitely that series for me as it was one of the first fantasy series I read and the series that got me hooked on Arthurian tales. I’ve been wanting to re-read it to see if it remains as good as younger me thought, and the Trope-ical Readathon last month was the perfect time to start. I read the first two books in the series during the readathon; although, I read them in backwards order just as I did as a kid. It was, all in all, an enjoyable experience to go back to them, but I definitely have some thoughts.

I read The Dark Is Rising first to mimic my reading experience as a child. When I was younger, the title caught my eye in the school library, and I didn’t know it was part of a series. This book was filled with beautiful imagery and complex, abstract ideas (good vs. evil, free will vs. destiny, etc.). The Old Ones were just as fascinating now as they were when I was a kid. However, current me was a little more annoyed by the lack of explanations and coherent world-building than younger me was. I also thought the book felt a little disjointed at times. The foreboding and tense atmosphere of the book kept it engaging, though, and I loved the use of waking up as an Old One as a metaphor for the increasing cognitive complexity and maturity that happens in adolescence as one learns how to be an adult. I also enjoyed the Walker’s role in the story and the lessons it imparted about personal choices and their consequences while also implying that some choices are heavily influenced by the system in which they are made. Overall, the re-read was as captivating as the first time I read the book even though some of the flaws were more noticeable now.

I enjoyed re-reading this book a lot. It was such a simple story, especially compared to The Dark Is Rising, but the adventure was a fun one to read. The three children in this book go on a big treasure hunt while needing to overcome obstacles from other nefarious parties interested in the treasure. The book hints at a larger narrative while also working incredibly well as a self-contained story. The ties to King Arthur were fascinating, and I just enjoyed the child-like wonder the characters displayed throughout the entire journey. The author really did nail conveying how a group of children would act in this situation. The language was a bit dated, but that makes sense given the age of the book.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed re-reading these books. I definitely plan to finish re-reading the rest of the series in the not too distant future. Have you read The Dark Is Rising sequence? If so, what did you think?

5 thoughts on “TBT Mini Reviews – Over Sea, Under Stone & The Dark Is Rising

  1. The Dark Is Rising is one of my favorite books of all time. I actually only read Over Sea, Under Stone much later and not nearly as many times as the others. I should read it again because my memory is foggy. Glad you’re enjoying your reread!

    • They really are such great books! They were some of my favorites from childhood. So, it has been fun to revisit them. I loved the 4th book the most as a child and am looking forward to getting to it to see what I think now.

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