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The Dark is Rising: Author Amie Kaufman on why Susan Cooper’s classic is her favourite book of all time

March 8, 2018

When New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman came to visit us at the Better Reading offices recently, we found ourselves on the topic of our favourite books of all time – Amie spoke about her favourite with such passion and conviction that we asked her if she would write the review down and send it it us.  

Below is Amie’s review of Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising, a former Newbery Medal honour winner and absolute classic from the Children’s Literature canon. 


Words || Amie Kaufman

9780590433198_mresWhen I was in grade six, my school librarian told me that her ‘desert island book’ — the one she’d want to take if she was being shipwrecked — was The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper. The next week I got my first ever gift voucher for my birthday, and I went straight to my local bookshop and bought an omnibus edition of all five books in the series. And wow, was she ever right. The Dark Is Rising is the story of Will, a completely ordinary boy who learns on his eleventh birthday that he is the last of the Old Ones, and must help the Light keep the Dark from rising. Of course, his family knows nothing about this, and he has to find a way to fit this epic quest in around his ordinary life. In secret, he’s fighting for the survival of everything he loves. To the rest of the world, he’s just a boy.

I still re-read this book every year in the days leading up to and after Christmas, which is when it’s set. And just like the first time I read it, I’m completely drawn into this hidden world, and caught up in the story of this boy who has to rise to a challenge he never imagined even existed. In my own stories, I love writing about ordinary people who end up in extraordinary situations. My newest book, Ice Wolves, is about a completely ordinary boy who ends up responsible for saving the person he loves most in the world — and I love exploring the idea that you don’t need to be a Chosen One to save the world. Anyone can be a hero, no matter how ordinary they think they are… and I think that’s pretty magical.

Amie Kaufman

You can buy a copy of The Dark is Rising here.

About Elementals: Ice Wolves

Elementals Cover BOWEveryone in Vallen knows that ice wolves and scorch dragons are sworn enemies who live deeply separate lives.

So when twelve-year-old orphan Anders takes one elemental form and his twin sister, Rayna, takes another, he wonders whether they are even related. Still, whether or not they’re family, Rayna is Anders’s only true friend. She’s nothing like the brutal, cruel dragons who claimed her as one of their own and stole her away.

In order to rescue her, Anders must enlist at the foreboding Ulfar Academy, a school for young wolves that values loyalty to the pack above all else. But for Anders, loyalty is more complicated than obedience, and friendship is the most powerful shapeshifting force of all.

New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman delivers heart-pounding adventure and breathtaking magical inventions in this unforgettable story about finding one’s place in a sharply divided world.

Buy a copy of Elementals: Ice Wolves here.

AmieAbout the Author:

Amie Kaufman is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of young adult and middle grade fiction, including Unearthed and the Starbound trilogy with Meagan Spooner and the Illuminae Files with Jay Kristoff. Ice Wolves is her first solo novel, and her favourite part of the writing process was taking howling lessons from a wolf expert.

Her multi-award-winning work has been described as “a game-changer” (Shelf Awareness) and “out-of-this-world awesome” (Kirkus Reviews). Amie lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, their rescue dog, and an extremely large personal library.


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