The Grey King and its companion volumes resulted from Cooper's deep convictions about the nature of the world. Young Will Stanton, the novel's main character, is a worker of magic, armed with the special powers of an Old One. Not every twelve-year-old can face the evil in the world and master his own darker instincts. But everybody, whether children or adults, must cope with these forces to the best of their abilities. In her acceptance speech for the Newbery Medal, Cooper states that she hopes her books help children confront the darker aspects of life.
Few present-day writers surpass Cooper's ability to produce exactly the right emotional effects, whether for young or older readers. For example, when the forces of evil appear in The Grey King and an awesome grey eminence takes shape before Will Stanton's startled eyes, the reader shares Will's fascinated horror.
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