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Tanglewreck Hardcover – June 27, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-10–A Time Tornado drops ancient horsemen and chariots into present-day London and causes a busload of school children to disappear into thin air. A mysterious, self-proclaimed scientist known as Regalia Mason secretly seeks to profit from this event and other disturbances so that she can harvest spare time and sell it through her company. Meanwhile, a sinister alchemist named Abel Darkwater seeks a clock known as the Timekeeper in order to become even more powerful than Mason. At the center of this struggle is an orphan named Silver and her 500-year-old house, Tanglewreck, where she lives with her aunt as the prophesied Keeper of the Clock. She embarks on a prophecy-fulfilling interstellar journey to locate the Timekeeper and guarantee the safety of time as we know it. Winterson masterfully weaves together an imaginative array of settings and characters to bring the story to its exhilarating fulfillment. Silver's varied relationships add even more depth, encapsulating family, friendship, deceit, and abuse. Some explanations of futuristic technology, concepts of time and space, and even humor will likely be too challenging for most children younger than the book's 11-year-old protagonist, but this time-bending sci-fi adventure will be a fine addition to young adult collections.–Emily Rodriguez, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Time has become unpredictable; "time tornadoes" are picking up school buses and depositing wooly mammoths on the banks of the Thames. Eleven-year-old Silver lives in a sprawling manse, Tanglewreck, with her greedy guardian. One day evil Abel Darkwater visits Tanglewreck in search of a timekeeper that he insists belonged to Silver's father, who, with his wife and other daughter, has disappeared. Silver has no idea what he's talking about, but Darkwater isn't convinced. He imprisons her in his clock-filled London home, where he plans to keep her until she tells him what he wants to know. She's rescued by Gabriel, a strange boy from a clan that has made its home beneath London for more than a century. Together, Silver and Gabriel search for the timekeeper and foil the villain. Winterson seamlessly combines rousing adventure with time warps, quantum physics, and a few wonderfully hapless flunkies. Her clever science will draw fans of Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, and her dastardly villains and resourceful youngsters will remind readers of Lemony Snicket's books about the hapless Baudelaires. Diana Herald
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 414 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens; First Edition edition (June 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582349193
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582349190
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #697,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Karusichan on July 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Silver is a young red haired, green-eyed eleven year old living in a vast house that dates back to the 1500's. Her parents and her sister, Buddleia, have been dead (or as Silver believes it missing) for four years. This means that Silver has to be taken care of by her Aunt Mrs. Rokabye, a woman who looks after her own interests. One day a man named Abel Darkwater comes into their lives, searching for an item called the timekeeper. Whatever this device does Silver is unaware, but it is plain that Darkwater wants it and will do anything to get it.

After a trip to London and bizarre occurrences with Darkwater forces Silver to flee she is aided by a young man, more precisely a young man belonging to a race of underground dwelling people called the Throwbacks. As Silver stays with them she learns they were once all patients at an asylum called Bedlam where Darkwater performed nefarious experiments on them. Into the mix is also mentioned a woman named Maria Prophetessa , who has an unusual connection to a woman named Regalia Mason, an executive at a corporation called Quanta, who has succeeded in the manufacturing of extracting time from people who have far too much of it and the selling it off to people who have too little. Also on Silver's trail is a couple of questionable men named Thugger and Fisty, who also seem as if they are interested in the fabled timekeeper.

Silver and Gabriel, the throwback, are now in a race with all of these people to find the legendary timekeeper. Unaware that Mrs. Rokabye has managed to acquire a piece of it from Silver's duffel bag they set of on a quest to secure the device, skirting Time Tornadoes, one-dimensional travel, black holes, starvation, and temptation from those who are their friends to ally themselves to the dark side.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on February 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Time is not behaving itself. Trains stall in time, then rush ahead as if to catch up, pyramids appear in London, a school bus gets sucked into a Time Tornado and vanishes, and there have been woolly mammoth sightings in the park. Most people can't make any sense of it, and it's getting worse. And the people who do understand it, well, they might be the most dangerous of all.

Silver is an eleven-year-old orphan, alone in the world. Well, not completely alone. She has Mrs. Rockabye, the aunt who mysteriously appeared after the death (or maybe disappearance) of Silver's family. Silver thinks that she'd rather be alone than with Mrs. Rockabye, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen any time soon. For now Silver's greatest comfort is her house, Tanglewreck. It comforts her, soothes her, and even speaks to her. She knows about the strangeness of time, but as long as she can stay at Tanglewreck, she doesn't seem to be too concerned.

Abel Darkwater knows about time, and he understands why it's behaving strangely. Abel is sure that time can be controlled, and that whoever controls time will control the universe. Abel intends to be that person. He's sure that all he needs is the Timekeeper. And he's positive that Silver knows where it is. After all, Silver's dad was bringing it to Abel on the day the family died.

Silver is in a race against time, literally, to keep the Timekeeper safe. If only she knew where it was. Or what it was. With the help of her strange, new, old friend, Gabriel, Silver will have to travel to unknown places and times on a quest for something she's never seen.

I've always loved time travel stories, and this one is no exception.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Erin Kissane on October 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Tanglewreck seemed like a perfect combination of two of my great loves -- Jeanette Winterson's work and children's books -- until I actually read it. Silver's a wonderful heroine, and the plot had heaps of potential, but Winterson seems to have entered a new genre without bothering to learn much about the way children's books work. Winterson seems to be writing for children from a great distance, as though her own early childhood isn't quite real to her; it doesn't work. Her settings never came to life and after the first quarter of the book, the tone became increasingly sentimental and condescending...a fatal flaw in a book written for children.

Those seeking compelling, multilayered fiction for children would do better to try THE GOLDEN COMPASS (Philip Pullman) or the less famous but completely delightful FLY BY NIGHT (Frances Hardinge). Winterson fans who'd like to read luminous, literary prose applied to fantasy-genre tropes could do no better than to try LUD IN THE MIST, by Hope Mirrlees (a contemporary and acquaintance of Virginia Woolf).
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Earl Carrender on June 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is a real treat for Winterson fans. Very different from her other work and yet retains all of the elements of Winterson's unique style. Characters from or very similar to her adult novel "Lighthousekeeping" reappear (Silver, Abel Darkwater; and Mrs. Rockabye bears a striking resemblance to Miss Pinch) and many of Winterson's usual themes (the place of science (or reason) and religion (or mnagic) in our world; the healing/rescuing power of love; the families we create vs. the one we are born in to)as well as her usual dazzling use of language/storytelling (stories within stories) and a great adventure to boot! Many may feel that it's a bit much for children to take in but don't sell them short. There are important lessons to be learned and those lessons are taught well here. It's a provocative book and a fun read! For Winterson fans it shows real growth for the author who admits "A beginning, a middle and end is the proper way to tell a story. But I have problems with that method;" Winterson succedes admirably with this plot-driven page turner! And the cast of characters (the ones mentioned before; the loveable Gabriel the Throwback and friend Toby; the hilarious Thugger and Fisty; the deceptive and despicable Regalia Mason; the pirate Roger Rover)are some of the most well-developed of Winterson's career (characterization is another of Winterson's weaknesses). Obviously, once she's dispensed with the desire to impress with her cleverness, Winterson can still amaze.Read more ›
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