Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

Posted: November 21, 2015 in Book Review
Tags: , , ,

About: On holiday in Cornwall, the three Drew siblings discover an ancient treasure map. But as they decipher the clues, they find  that they aren’t the only ones looking for King Arthur’s treasure… Classic Children’s Fantasy. First in The Dark is Rising sequence. Published 1965.

A gripping tale for child and young adult alike. I wish I had read this when I was younger because I would have loved it then. (As it was, still made for great bedtime reading!) It will appeal quite a bit to young fans of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries. Seriously, doesn’t every kid dream of finding an ancient treasure?

What I Liked: (1) The book has an “old-fashioned” period charm that feels nostalgic, today, similar to what can be found in some of Madeleine L’Engle’s and Elizabeth Enright’s books. It’s really a treat. I mean, the parents are together, the siblings apologize to each other (occasionally), etc. Every kid can use a comforting book like that, I think, to glimpse the past and view their own time through a new lens. (2) And it’s just that innocence that makes the tale so gripping: not every adult is trustworthy, in this book, even though the rule of the day says that they should be.

Other Notes: Someone mentioned that this book has some Christian mythology thrown in. To which I say, “Read book II and you’ll retract that statement.” Not that books I & II (the only two I’ve read, thus far) are anti-Christian—they are respectful toward the church. But their mythology, from what I can tell, is more what I would hesitantly label as “dualism”: two equal, “uncreated, antagonistic Powers, one good and the other bad” in which there is not “right” or “wrong,” but only “light” and “dark,” so pick a side. (The description of dualism is from page 4 of C. S. Lewis’s God in the Dock.) Even though the author harkens to the noble king Arthur of Christendom, this epic fight between good and evil dates back to a more pagan struggle. However, I do basically adore the good vs. evil theme in epic fantasies, whether the portrayal is “Christian” or not, and it is definitely one of the things I enjoyed about the first two books. I love to explore an author’s take on this theme.

Audiobook: Very good. I enjoyed both the audio and physical editions.

****4/5 Stars


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