Book Review: A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L’Engle

FullSizeRender (37)4.5 out of 5 Stars

This summer I made a decision to read a few more the “classics” – things I haven’t read before or haven’t read in a very long time. I picked up books like “1984”, “Swallows and Amazons”, and the entire “Wrinkle in Time” series. I have read “A Wrinkle in Time” and “A Wind in the Door” already and decided with the summer winding down that it was time to start book 3 – “A Swiftly Tilting Planet”. It starts off with a nuclear war knocking at the door and a crazy leader in the developing world flexing his muscles. With things heating up with North Korea at the very same time, I put the book down for a week or two and picked up my crochet project to ease my mind. I wasn’t mentally ready to have my fictional world and reality crash together like that. After a couple of weeks I was ready to pick it back up and I am so glad I did. What a wonderful installment in this series!

The story starts off with the Murry’s getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner. Meg and Calvin are now married and Meg is carrying their first child. Calvin’s mother is at the house as she was invited and was alone at home. She is  very unpleasant but they are making due. Calvin is away in England attending a conference and just after Calvin calls to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving a phone call comes in from the president. Mr. Murry has become quite close with the president and acts as an adviser on scientific affairs. The president explains that Mad Dog Branzillo, the leader of Vespugia, has released threats that it will launch a nuclear attack if their demands are not met. Mrs. O’Keefe starts trying to remember an ancient rune she was taught as a child by her grandmother. The rune has been passed down through generations of her family and as she remembers the rune she requests that Charles Wallace work on a solution to the problem. He goes for a walk out to the stargazing rock and it is here he meets Gaudior the unicorn. This is where the adventure takes off.

They travel through time but stay in exactly the same place. Charles Wallace goes “within” people in order to look for that one moment that lead up to their current position and has to look for a way to change the course of history.

As a fan of history I love that we are seeing generation after generation, we are seeing history such as the Salem Witch Trials and the landing of the first Europeans, and we see how the families are intertwined.  I loved how she had the names follow the generations as well, which many people in this day and age find confusing but was formally standard practice. It does make things rather predictable, but it didn’t take anything away for me. I also loved getting to know Calvin’s mother in this book. She really is more than she seems!

Just like all of her other books, kids 9 and up will do fine with these. The book does talk about war and there is fighting among brothers (hailing back to the story of Cain and Abel), but there is so much humanity about it and it questions why it continues to happen after all of these year. Staying true to her writing style, everything is completely intentional, to the point, there are aspects of religion and philosophy, fantasy with the time travel and unicorns, and the love that every book exudes. I will be chewing on this one for a bit I think.

I loved this book and would highly recommend it.

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