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I actually started this series, although I didn't know it was such at the time, back in 1993 whenI was in Junior High, with the fourth volume. It wasn't until about ten years later that I got the proper skinny on it and read the series in proper order. Over Sea, Under Stone opens with the Drew family, Dick, Ellen and their three young children, arriving in Cornwall for a summer vacation, which they'll be spending with their Great Uncle Merry, a mysterious professor who often appears unexpectedly on the Drews' doorstep to vanish just as quickly in the night. While exploring the massive house that Uncle Merry, Meriman Lyon to the wider world, the three Drew children, Simon, Jane and Barney, discover an ancient manuscript which they believe to be a map showing the location of what they believe to be an ancient treasure. Though a game to the three Drews, the importance of the manuscript begins to surface, first when a mysterious man and a woman claiming to be his sister appear and ask the Drews about secret passages and maps, then even more so later when the house is burglarized while the Drews sleep. Realizing what the thieves must have been after, the childen show the manuscript, which they managed to keep safe, to Uncle Merry, who reveals that the treasure is in fact an ancient grail from the time of King Arthur. Thus begins a dangerous race as the Drews attempt to decipher the clues of the map and reach the grail before their myysterious enemies do. But it quickly becomes apparent that their foes, though relatively few in number, are extremely resourceful, and the outcome of the race is continually in doubt.
As usual with audiobooks, the narrator can sometimes ruin the experience even if the story itself is good. Fortunately that wasn't the case here. British actor Alex Jennings not only has a good voice for storytelling but also a talent for accents and dialects that lend personality to the characters he portrays, from the Cornish accents of the village locals to Uncle Merry's deep, commanding tones. This is definitely a listen I wuld recommend to others. It's not an entirely traditional fantasy with swords, dragons and wizards but it's a gripping tale all the same.
17 of 18 people found this review helpful
This is a solid adventure story; a good start to the series and much less surreal than the stories to follow. I found, revisiting this as an adult, that the 'voices' of the children seemed to be just a little off- they kept saying things in a way that were much older than the characters themselves were (but that could just be a culture difference I guess, as I'm American and not British). Also, the peril wasn't very believeable this time around. I do remember that when I first read the books at around 10 years old I was completely enthralled, but now the conflict seems fabricated with no real power. Still, I'd recommend it for the 6-11 crowd.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to The Dark Is Rising Sequence, Book One the most enjoyable?
This is the audiobook version of a novel I read and reread as a child. It was lovely to be able to revisit it as an adult and find that it was just as good as I remembered!
Any additional comments?
The narration was clear and unintrusive, the story still a cracking good yarn of Arthurian fantasy brought to modern day Cornwall. My only criticism is that the second book in the series doesn't seem to be available on audible, even though the later ones in the series are!
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up The Dark Is Rising Sequence, Book One in three words, what would they be?
Exciting, absorbing, adventurous.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Jane - pretty positive girl character for the age of the book, adventurous, imaginative and brave.
Which character – as performed by Alex Jennings – was your favourite?
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Any additional comments?
We listened to this on a couple of long car journeys as a family (mum & dad, 12 year old and 9 year old girls) and found it really good for making the hours pass by - in fact at one point we arrived at our destination (grandparents' house) and none of us wanted to get out of the car and stop listening! We've downloaded books 3,4 and 5 of the series now and are looking forward to continuing book 4 later in the summer - we have a pact that we can't listen unless we're all together! Alex Jennings reads it in a really accessible and absorbing way and his range of voices is such that you can always tell who is speaking. Just a shame book 2 isn't available on Audible - we've read it at home but it would be nice to have the full set of recordings.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up Over Sea, Under Stone in three words, what would they be?
Growing sense of menace
Any additional comments?
I really enjoyed this first book of the series. It reminds me of Famous Five - but with delightfully sinister and magical elements. It really hooked me in and I eagerly searched for the second book in the series on Audible and found all the others in the sequence but not book no. 2 "The Dark is Rising".... Poo.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I was given this book for my 40th birthday so am ranking it a 3/5 as I prefer young adult or adult books. If you are a child or teenager then I suspect you will enjoy this story and narration!