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The Wrinkle in Time Quintet Boxed Set (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, An Acceptable Time) Paperback – Box set, October 2, 2007
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“A Wrinkle in Time is one of my favorite books of all time. I've read it so often, I know it by heart. Meg Murry was my hero growing up. I wanted glasses and braces and my parents to stick me in an attic bedroom. And I so wanted to save Charles Wallace from IT.” ―Meg Cabot on A Wrinkle in Time
“A book that every young person should read, a book that provides a road map for seeking knowledge and compassion even at the worst of times, a book to make the world a better place.” ―Cory Doctorow on A Wrinkle in Time
“A suspenseful, life-and-death drama that is of believable cosmic significance. Complex and rich in mystical religious insights, this is breathtaking entertainment.” ―School Library Journal, starred review on A Wind in the Door
“Madeleine L'Engle mixes classical theology, contemporary family life, and futuristic science fiction to make a completely convincing tale that should put under its spell both readers familiar with the Murrys and those meeting them for the first time.” ―The New York Times Book Review on A Wind in the Door
“An intricately woven fantasy ... Theme is L'Engle's greatest forte, and once again she proves this with a compelling plot, rich in style that vibrates with provocative thoughts on universal love, individual caring, and the need for the joy in living.” ―Booklist, starred review on A Swiftly Tilting Planet
“This will be enjoyed for its suspense and humor as well as its other levels of meaning.” ―Kirkus Reviews on Many Waters
“L'Engle blends speculative fiction with biblical theology to create another provocative spellbinding tale.” ―Philadelphia Inquirer on Many Waters
“L'Engle has again achieved the award-winning style of A Wrinkle in Time ... Highly recommended.” ―VOYA on An Acceptable Time
About the Author
Madeleine L'Engle (1918–2007) was born in New York City and attended Smith College. She wrote more than 60 books, the most famous of which is A Wrinkle In Time (1962), winner of the Newbery Award in 1963. L'Engle continued the story of the Murry family from A Wrinkle In Time with seven other novels (five of which are available as A Wrinkle In Time Quintent from Square Fish). She also wrote the famous series featuring the Austin family, beginning with the novel Meet The Austins (1960). L'Engle revisited the Austins four more times over the next three decades, concluding with Troubling a Star in 1994. The story of the Austins had some autobiographical elements, mirroring Madeleine's life and the life of her family. Madeleine L'Engle's last book, The Joys of Love, is a romantic, coming-of-age story she wrote back in the 1940s, that was recently published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
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For that reason, my review will focus on the on this particular set of books (Square Fish paperback box set, 2007).
I had purchased the first four books of the series a few years back at the local used book store and was looking the complete the series. I was having trouble finding the correct edition to match my set when I saw this set for sale on Amazon. I've had it on my wish list for a while and had almost purchased it several times. I noticed that the price was at $10.99 and thought that was a great deal but I hesitated for a day or two and the next time I checked, it was up to $23 (still, technically, a decent price considering that each of these books costs over $5, individually). I was angry with myself for not jumping at the super low price, so I kept checking back. Well, a day or so later, it went back down to $10.99 and I went for it. It would be foolish NOT to, right?
So, what I got is a VERY nice set of paperbacks. Normally, I try to get hardcover but I preferred the colors and artwork on these. They really are beautiful and I love the case, which is made of sturdy, glossy cardboard and has some of the same artwork from the covers. I had this delivered to my work and all of my coworkers and boss commented on what a nice set it was. The only drawback is that the case is a little tight. I can't just pull a book out while it's sitting on my shelf. I have to take the whole case out, turn it upside down and shake it a bit to pry a book out.
(I am posting pictures to show which edition I am talking about because I've seen reviews from different editions get combined on one page. I am also including a picture of the set on my shelf to show size in relation to other books.)
It has been years since I read A Wrinkle in Time and it still holds up well on re-reading it. I care about Meg and her fierce love of her family. Calvin is there, steady and rock-fast. And Charles Wallace is so well drawn, with his intellect and his love. As I read the book as an adult, this quotation caught my mind:
“You mean you’re comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it?”
“Yes.” Mrs. Whatsit said. “You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.”
I do like the message there and the message in the book. While written for young adults, the book is worth visiting or revisiting as an adult.
A Wind in the Door had me in tears by the end. There was both sorrow and joy alike. There were many layers and messages to be explored. As is typical with this series, love is important. To that end I think this concept may be the most important: "Love isn't how you feel. It's what you do."
Older now than when I first read the book, this quotation resonated now: "The temptation for farandola or for man or for star is to stay an immature pleasure-seeker. When we seek our own pleasure as the ultimate good we place ourselves as the center of the universe. A fara or a man or a star has his place in the universe, but nothing created is the center."
There is much to enjoy and much to think about in this book.
Never think that adults cannot learn from books such as A Swiftly Tilting Planet, or be reminded of truths. The book is especially appropriate for now with so much public posturing of brother against brother, love of power, and greed being portrayed. Lesson learned: “Hate hurts the hater more'n the hated.” Would that the power in these words would ease the hatred: At Tara in this fateful hour,
I place all Heaven with its power,
And the sun with its brightness,
And the snow with its whiteness,
And the fire with all the strength it hath,
And the lightning with its rapid wrath,
And the winds with their swiftness along their path,
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And the earth with its starkness:
All these I place,
By God's almighty help and grace
Between myself and the powers of darkness!
Many Waters suffers by comparison with the other books in The Quintet of Time series. Any reader familiar with the story of Noah knows the framework of the novel. Still, these themes are timeless: choices made have consequences, evil fears and tries to destroy good, love is essential, and doing good things is necessary to stem evil.
This quotation stuck with me: Goodness has never been a guarantee of safety. And I think this quotation sums up the book: Many waters cannot quench the thirst for love, nor can the floods drown it.
I would suggest reading the O'Keefe series (The Arm of the Starfish, Dragons in the Waters, and A House like a Lotus) between the previous book and this one.
An Acceptable Time is another good book by L'Engle. Polly is still one of my favorite characters and she slips easily into this series from A House like a Lotus. I wonder about Zachary's eventual fate after this book; I am glad that Polly makes the decisions she does.
Favorite quote: "Whatever we give, we have to give out of love. That, I believe, is the nature of God.”
I am glad I read this series again as an adult. While appropriate for children and young adults, there is so much depth in these novels that I now have the maturity and wisdom to understand.
These books are classics, and should be a part of every young reader's collection. Charles Wallace, Meg, Calvin, Sandy and Dennys and the rest of the characters are very well developed, and the books introduce young readers to concepts like time travel, cellular structures, and other advanced concepts (hearing my five year old talk about mitochondria was awesome).