Title: The Dark is Rising (The Dark is Rising sequence book 2)
Author: Susan Cooper
Length: 218 pages
Plot Basics: Will Stanton just wants snow for his 11th birthday, but what he gets is far more adult and dangerous. Will discovers that he is the last of the Old Ones, a group of people withheld from Time who are the guardians of the Light and in constant struggle against the Dark. But as Christmas approaches, and the darkest time of the year, the powers of the Dark are growing stronger and Will is given a mission to collect and join the six Signs of Power as a weapon against the Dark. As Will comes into his power, he has a collection of mentors, including Merriman Lyon.
Banter Points: Word Nerd got interested in this series first after reading an interview with Cooper and then seeing the trailers for "The Seeker: The Dark is Rising" movie. (The movie is based on this book.) But, what she has found is a great kids' fantasy series that's good reading for adults too. High adventure and mysticism await in this book as Will learns what it means to be an Old One.
Bummer Points: Sometimes, Word Nerd really thought she needed to brush up on English mythology. There were a few references that she thought she should have known to stuff that was likely legend from Celtic/British mythology.
Word Nerd Recommendation: Though you don't have to read "Over Sea, Under Stone" to understand the action in this book, it's still good to start with that one first.