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review 2018-04-22 20:45
A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Time Quintet, #3) by Madeleine L'Engle
A Swiftly Tilting Planet - Madeleine L'Engle

The further I progress into this series, the further downhill it goes. I had so many issues with this book. Not a single thing I read made it redeemable in the least. I know this is a beloved series for many people and if you really like this book, that's great. I'm authentically happy you enjoy this book. However, I found so many problems with it that I just can't overlook them.

 

Let's start off with Meg. Her only purpose in this book was to be "Calvin's wife" and "pregnant." That's it. Whilst her parents were off being cool scientists, her father being the president's new best friend, her brothers off to medical school and law school, all she was doing was... well, she kythe with Charles Wallace whilst he was off trying to save the planet from nuclear devastation... and that's pretty much it. Meg did absolutely nothing throughout the whole book except complain that she missed her husband and ask her brothers for help because she can't be bothered to open a book.

 

In fact, that was one of the biggest problems I had with this book. The women were only there to be plot devices for the men. The women were only there to be beautiful, to be desired after, to "take care" of the men, to fall for abusive men, to marry abusive men, to get pregnant by the abusive men. Even when it was shown that these men were clearly abusive, one of these abusive men even killed a puppy, these women found them "alluring." Are you bloody kidding me? Who sees a puppy killer and then go "mmm, yeah, I want that in my bed"? No one in their right mind, that's who! Oh, and don't get me started on Mortmain! He was truly the lowest of the low! He beat on his partner, then sexually harassed his partner's daughter, then went to strike that young girl's grandmother only to hit her brother instead to where he fell down the stairs and ended up with brain damage... only for the mother of these kids to marry and get pregnant from this man because it made their lives easier to have a man in the house!!! What!? After all that, you're going to still stay with this man!? He should be in jail!

 

Also, let's add that once this boy is out of the hospital, they call him stupid and put him in an insane asylum because "no one" wants him to hurt this brand new baby. This other guy, named Paddy, wanted to lock him up because he just didn't like dealing with someone with brain damage. I know... these people are horrible. The issue of mental health is handle so poorly. This boy, Chuck, had a sister, Beezie, and she kept telling him to stop acting and pretending about his condition... Hello!!! He fell down a flight of stairs! He fractured his skull! He is suffering from brain damage! He can't control that! How are you going to tell him to stop pretending!? Moron. Oh, and that guy, Paddy? Yeah, after he helps put her brother away in the insane asylum, she goes and marries the guy, have a bunch of kids with him... but it's okay because she doesn't fall in love with him or the kids she gives birth to... WHERE'S THE LOGIC IN THAT!? 

 

The women in this book only serve to further the plot for the men. And it's so infuriating.

 

And you think the bullshit ends there. Oh no. As if the sexism and ableism isn't enough, let's add racism, too! The depiction of Native Americans is troubling. They are called the People of the Wind and it is said within the text that they are peace-loving people. But the moment two white guys enter the picture, these "peace-loving people" want to fight "like savages." (And, yes, the white guys call the Native Americans "savages." I cringed, too.) It was the white guy with blond hair and blue eyes (because anyone with blue eyes is a pure, loving soul) who brought peace among the "peace-loving" nation. Not only are there moments that play into the "white savior" trope, there's "white worshiping" too. How their "legend" talks of someone with white skin and blue eyes will come to save the Native Americans in their time of need. I just... I can't. 

 

And the last thing I want to mention was how dull everything in this book is. We follow Charles Wallace and his role is to go Within the many white dudes in this story to try and influence them to change the threat of nuclear war in the present. Aside from the first guy we go into, everything else just kinda happens... without Charles Wallace doing anything. In fact, he does pretty much nothing throughout the story besides travelling with the unicorn, Gaudior (which is still more than what Meg is doing but I digress). Charles Wallace was mostly there to let things happen to him. Not to mention he never put a stop to the abusive talk that went on (Charles, how are you going to hear someone say "he kept him from dying, and that may not have been a kindness" only because he now has to live with brain damage, and not question it in the slightest?) but did question it when it came to his own intelligence. Because, remember, all the men are intelligent in this book. Only the women are stupid.

 

Ugh, I hate this book. There's nothing that happened in this book that I find the least enjoyable. Where the other two books had some interesting concepts when it comes to the sci-fi elements, this one reuses the one good thing that was made in book two. Kything. Everything else? Boring. We were travelling through time on a unicorn, and I was bored and infuriated throughout the entire journey. It's such a shame.

 

I only have two more books in the series left to read. I really hope they improve with its storytelling and themes. Otherwise, I'm going to find this quite a struggle to get through.

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review 2018-01-02 15:22
A Swiftly Tilting Planet - Madeleine L'Engle

Wasn't expecting to like this one, but I did. It was a bit episodic, but a pretty complex woven-together plotline. Not as didactic and trippy-for-the-sake-of-trippiness as A Wind in the Door.

 

In fact, the story was so compelling, I found the Murry family and the present-day conflict to be the weakest part of the story. The layered past/genealogy/archetype thing was cool.

 

Also: I love me some 'corns.

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review 2017-12-19 03:27
Revisiting an old favorite + the movie is coming out next year
Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quartet Box Set (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters) by Madeleine L'Engle (2001-09-11) - Madeleine L'Engle

For many years, when people would ask me about my favorite book I would promptly say that it was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. Recently, I started to wonder if my love for the novel had stood the test of time so I picked up the 4 book series entitled the Time Quartet (I have the box set that I got years ago) from my shelf and dove in headfirst. Reading the first book in the series, A Wrinkle in Time, completely transported me back to middle school when I first discovered the delightful writing of L'Engle. The book was just as fantastic as I remembered but with the passing of time I see more clearly the overt references to Christianity which were lost on me as a child. (She's a bit like C.S. Lewis in the way that she writes for children about Christianity but instead of fantasy devices she uses science fiction and fantasy.) This literary device would increase as the series continued and in a lot of ways it took away some of the enjoyment of the books for me. One of the bonuses of L'Engle's writing is that it is never 'dumbed down' for her child audience. She uses technical terminology and speaks of scientific endeavors as if the reader should already be aware of them. When I first read that book, this was a foreign concept to me as I didn't think I was any good at the sciences when I was in school. (Now look at how many scientific books I've read and reviewed!)

 

The main character in the first book is Meg, eldest sister of the Murry clan, and we see everything from her point of view. A large portion of why I loved this book was that Meg wasn't a typical girl of her age and I strongly identified with her (and I had a crush on Calvin).  A Wrinkle in Time focuses on Meg's relationship with herself, her family, and her peers (especially Calvin). She sees herself as 'other' except when she's with Charles Wallace or her mother (or Calvin...yes, I'm enjoying myself). It doesn't help that their father has been missing for so long that the postman in town has started asking impertinent questions. (The whole town is gossiping or so it seems.) While Meg plays a large role in A Wind in the Door, the main part of the plot is written with Charles Wallace (youngest Murry son) as the main character. Both books are full of adventure and self-discovery. Both Murry children come into their own and use their unique strengths to help them accomplish their goals. The stakes are always set extremely high and the pace is alternately rushed no-holds-barred action and so lackadaisical as to seem stagnant. (Note: If you don't enjoy books with a lot of descriptions and copious amounts of symbolism then I'm afraid this isn't the series for you.) By A Swiftly Tilting Planet, I felt almost overwhelmed by the underlying religious messages and the conclusion, Many Waters, which focuses on the twins, Sandy and Dennis, was so far-fetched as to be ridiculous. (Books 3 and 4 are so convoluted that I don't feel like I can talk about them in detail other than to say they are out there.) Part of me wishes that I had stopped reading at A Wrinkle in Time (as I had done for so many years) so as to not shatter the illusion of what this series meant to me but part of the reason I started this blog was to explore new books and to give as honest a review as possible. The hope is that even if I don't enjoy a book it might interest someone else. With that being said, A Wrinkle in Time remains in my top 50 all-time faves but the others...not so much. 9/10 for book 1 and a 3/10 for the series overall.

 

A/N: I just did a little Google search and discovered that although I have the box set which is called the Time Quartet there was actually a fifth book written called An Acceptable Time and which called for a new set to be created, the Time Quintet. I feel like I've been hoodwinked! Does this mean I need to find a copy of this book to complete the experience?! (Spoiler alert: I am probably not going to do this.)

 

Here's the complete set. [Source: Barnes & Noble]

 

 

What's Up Next: Grendel by John Gardner

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Scythe by Neal Shusterman (been reading it for weeks because I've reached the end-of-year reading slowdown)

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-03-27 21:24
A Swiftly Tilting Planet
A Swiftly Tilting Planet - Madeleine L'Engle

I had planned on reading this entire series, but I’m done after this one. I admit defeat. You have defeated me, children’s books. You win.

 

A Swiftly Tilting Planet takes place about nine years after the events of the previous book. A South American dictator is threatening to blow up the world for some reason. It’s up to fifteen-year-old Charles Wallace and a time-traveling unicorn to stop him. They do this by going back in time and altering history to keep the dictator from existing.

 

This book has a lot of the same issues for me as the first two books. It’s tediously repetitive, full of plot holes, and largely consists of an oversimplified battle between good and evil. I don’t like good vs evil stories because the world is more complicated than that. People have complex beliefs and motives. I don’t think it’s fair to reduce a person to something as simple as “good” or “evil.” The good-defeating-evil themes are the biggest reason why I lost patience with this book.

 

A Swiftly Tilting Planet undoes everything that I liked about the first book. Meg was a plain-looking nerdy girl who loved math. In this book, her brothers and husband are successfully becoming doctors and lawyers. Meg is . . . pregnant. Seriously, all we learn about her in this story is that she’s pregnant and beautiful. What has she been doing for the past nine years? Her brothers have obviously been doing things. We don’t hear about Meg’s accomplishments, and then she spends the entire book lying in bed, psychically eavesdropping on Charles Wallace’s adventure. It’s disappointing.

 

Charles Wallace doesn’t fare much better. He definitely gets the short end of the stick in the first two books. He’s mind-controlled by an evil communist monster, and then he almost dies from a disease. I was excited to see what he’d do in this book now that he’s older. Unfortunately, he doesn’t really do anything. He hops on his bubble-blowing unicorn, flies through time, and watches history happen. Watching is pretty much all he does. Sometimes he says a rune/prayer/poem thing that somehow makes bad situations better. The book doesn’t give a good explanation of how the magic rune works. It just does.

 

I found Charles Wallace’s mission in history to be vaguely creepy. Basically, a bunch of Welsh guys have been inbreeding with a tribe of Noble Savage women for generations. They start out breeding in the US, then somehow end up in South America. Charles’s job is to make sure that the “good” Welsh guys procreate instead of the “evil” ones. The author makes this easy for him by giving all the “good” people blue eyes. This seems weird to me. Is the author saying that “evil” is genetic, like eye color? That’s a terrible message to give young readers. Just because someone in your family is a jerk doesn’t mean that you’ll grow up and start a nuclear holocaust.

 

Also, I’m not sure how many children will be able to follow this story. The characters have very similar names, and it’s confusing. Even with the helpful color-coded eyes, I had a hard time keeping the characters and their relationships straight.

 

I tried my best, but I’m done with this series. There are plenty of other books in the sea.

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quote 2014-12-27 16:50
Hate hurts the hater more than the hated.
A Swiftly Tilting Planet - Madeleine L'Engle

~Madeleine L'Engle, A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Source: sinfulfolk.com
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