Find the treasure, said the note I read on a birthday party. I knew it was only a game, but I reveled in finding the clues. While the other kids were wondering when it was time to eat fries or what the prize at the end would be, I felt important and adventurous. Although I have to admit I was a bit dissapointed when I found out what the chest at the end of the treasure hunt contained. I don’t know what was inside of it anymore, but I do remember the excitement of the journey.
Over Sea, Under Stone continuously reminded me of that experience. It had the excitement of a treasure hunt designed for kid’s birthday parties. While fun and enjoyable, the clues are not hard to crack. Our heroes never have too much trouble with it. And when they think they do you quickly learn that as a reader you don’t have to worry for them too long. It only takes a couple of pages before luck strikes. It’s not clever deductions that help them on this quest. It’s more that magical moment when people happen to be at the right place in the right time. Call it coincidence, call it faith or destiny.
The book is even a little cheesy. The evil guys are so obviously the bad guy that they might as well run around with signs around their neck that tell us so. This first novel in the Darkness is Rising trilogy gives off a warm and nostalgic feeling. Once more I felt like I was that kid going on a treasure hunt, but this time the prize did matter. What didn’t was the villains nor the attempts to make this scary. Sometimes I loved the nostalgic and warm feeling I got during this read, but at other times I wished for something more. I wanted this book to surprise me after all. To reveal a mystery or show me an unexpected turn of events. I hoped Bill might help the heroes in the end or that Gumerry was actually not an ally of the children at all. I found myself looking for a darker turn of events, but all I found was the light. Some of my thirst for an actual mystery did get quenched when Gumerry’s secret was hinted at. I hope to see more of this in the series.
A treasure hunt is well and all, but what I want to see in the other books is an actual heroic quest. I want Simon, Jane and Barney to turn into the heroes that would be worthy enough to sit at the round table. I want more elements of why the Arthurian legends is still being passed on from generation to generation to seep into the story. Thankfully Susan Cooper decided this novel couldn’t be a standalone after all. Because this truly does read like a prologue that’s leading up to the real thing. The birthday bash is over, it’s time for a true adventure.
Over Sea, Under Stone is a novel by Susan Cooper. It’s part of the The Dark is Rising sequence.