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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 2014-05-01 02:49
Review of A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle
A Wind in the Door (Time, #2) - Madeleine L'Engle

A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle is the sequel to A Wrinkle in Time. In this story there is an evil that is wreaking havoc on both a cosmic and a microscopic level. On the cosmic level stars seem to be disappearing and on the microscopic level people are getting sick with a strange disease affecting the mitochondria in their cells which causes fatigue and respiratory distress. Charles Wallace has come down come down with this condition. His sister Meg and her friend Calvin are called upon by some strange extra-terrestrials to help both save his life and to help fight the evil running rampant throughout the universe.


Like A Wrinkle in Time, this story has both elements of science fiction and fantasy. It also has some strong spiritual themes, but I feel that they are less religion specific than they were in the last book, so it bugs me less. This book is one of my childhood favorites, and as anyone who has read the book can see, it is very special to me considering that I took my screen name from one of the concepts described in the book. It was very strange reading the book again after all these years because my screen name feels very much a part of me and it was so odd seeing it constantly in a book despite the fact that this book is where it came from. Other than that, I really did enjoy reading it again very much and I would highly recommend it to others of all ages.

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review 2012-09-15 00:00
An Acceptable Time - Madeleine L'Engle I enjoyed the first three books in this series when I was younger. The fourth book, Many Waters, I read more recently, and it was good, if not with the same spark as the earlier ones. The fifth book, unfortunately, doesn't stand up.

An Acceptable Time is about Polly, a teenager staying with her grandparents. For reasons that are hinted at but never really explained, a gate opens to a time 3,000 years before, where Polly and her neighbour the bishop interact with the natives (who are led by a wise European).

It's a pleasant enough read in some ways, but much of it seems haphazard. The plot seems more of a sketch than a final product, full of inconsistencies and lucky coincidences. The science is decorative but vague and not very logical. Religion obtrudes more awkwardly than in the previous books. Characters are black or white, and fairly flat. At the same time, the tone is light and fun, and some of the animal characters are nice companions.

All in all, a disappointing book. Fans of L'Engle and her various interconnected series will no doubt want to read this. For others, I advise stopping after A Swiftly Tilting Planet.
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review 2011-05-20 00:00
An Acceptable Time (Time Quartet, Bk. 5)
An Acceptable Time - Madeleine L'Engle Although I'm long past the age where I should be reading Madeleine L'Engle's books for young adults, a few years ago I happened upon a copy of An Acceptable Time in a bookstore and snapped it up. I've read everything of Madeleine L'Engle's that I've been able to find in print, and wasn't about to let my age stop me from reading more about one of my favorite L'Engle families.::: An Acceptable Plot :::An Acceptable Time brings us back to Poly (now Polly) O'Keefe, the daughter of Meg and Calvin from A Wrinkle in Time and other L'Engle novels for young adults. Polly has been sent to stay with her grandparents after the death of her friend Max, allegedly to provide her with more science education than she was getting at her high school. Once she is there, Polly once again meets up with Zachary Grey, a spoiled rich kid who seems to have no redeeming qualities yet L'Engle's teen heroines (first Vicky Austin and now Polly) are inexplicably drawn to him.Polly, Zak, and the brother of Polly's grandparents' friend Dr. Louise Colubra get drawn into a tesseract (where two circles of time meet and can be crossed) involving a tribe of Native Americans, including Druids. While Dr. Louise and Polly's grandparents try to keep Polly safe, some of the Native Americans from the other time circle believe that a blood sacrifice is needed to bring rain to their drought-affected land. Is Polly meant to be their sacrifice?::: An Acceptable Sermon? :::One of the things that I always loved about L'Engle's works as a teenager was that they addressed issues of spirituality without being overtly preachy. While many of her novels have had characters who are clergy (Canon Tallis, the Austin grandfather), they have never been as preachy as Bishop Nason Colubra. What begins as an interesting story about simple times and how some of these Native American Druids may have had a simple spirituality that our time would be lucky to have turns into a sermon about Christianity and Christ's sacrifice for mankind.The first half of the book is very involving, and hints at another reason for Polly to have come to stay with her grandparents than just enhancing her science curriculum. However, the second half gets so involved with the concept of the blood sacrifice and Bishop Colubra's sermons every five minutes that it seems L'Engle forgot to tell us why Polly is there with her grandparents. If I hadn't read A House Like a Lotus I would have had no idea what experiences Polly might need to recover from at all.Worst of all is the pat ending, which feels hurriedly rushed. Not only is there no surprise ending, but the conclusion feels as if L'Engle tired of writing the book and just wanted it over with.::: An Acceptable Rating :::For any fan of L'Engle's novels, An Acceptable Time is most likely a must-read, if for no other reason than to hear even a little more about characters who feel almost like family when you've spent as much time with them during your young adult years as I did. However, this is far from L'Engle's best work, and can be rated only average, at best.This review previously published at Epinions: http://www.epinions.com/review/An_Acceptable_Time_by_Madeleine_L_Engle/content_162157203076
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review 2010-01-10 00:00
Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quartet Box Set (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters)
The Time Quartet Box Set - Madeleine L'Engle,Peter Sís I've got no memory at all of this, though I could have sworn I read it. I liked seeing Sandy and Dennys away from the rest of the Murry clan, and I really enjoyed what can only be called a Biblically-inspired romp in the desert. I found L'Engle's take on the supernatural beings interesting, and I'd love one of those pocket mammoths.And yet there wasn't any blood here. No juice. No essence. No matter the faults of the other Murry books, they are juicy and full of life. This one struck me as extraordinarily dry. Also, what's with all the rosy breasts? Every single breast in this book was rosy.
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