A Wind in the Door (Time #2)
Meg, Calvin and Mr. Jenkins (grade school principal) must travel inside C.W. to have this battle and save Charles’ life as well as the balance of the universe.
This second book in the series stands alone quite completely. So much so, there’s almost no sense for (or reference to) the cross-universe rescue adventure that composed the previous book—though this was largely the same cast of characters and took place just a year after. The closest we get is Meg's hinting that the reason Calvin is so close to her and her brother has something to do with what they've been through together. But while I found that a little strange, it didn’t distract from the overall narrative.
Helpful Vocab Words:
*Yadah: the third person singular form of the Hebrew verbal root ydh, which depending on its conjugation carries a range of meanings involving throwing or praising.
*Kything: derived from the Old English kythe, cýðe; a word known from both The Vespasian Psalter (c.825) and the West Saxon Gospels (c.1025).  Meaning "to announce, proclaim, declare, tell, to make known in words, to manifest, to make visible", it survived as the Scottish dialect word kythe.
*Echthroi (??????): is a Greek plural meaning "The Enemy" (literally "enemies"). The singular form of the word, Echthros (??????), is used in many versions and translations of the Bible for "enemy".
While I enjoyed the Fantastic Voyage flavored premise with its philosophical and moral emphasis, it did bother me a bit that L’ Engle didn’t get the science quite right. (i.e. mitochondria don't produce oxygen. They USE oxygen, though, to generate ATP--which the cell then uses as a source of chemical energy. Mitochondria are essential to our utilization of oxygen as an energy source.) One can look at this as a simple reminder that these books are sci-fi FANTASY. But In doing a bit of research, it seems that L’Engle was likely inspired by the endosymbiotic theory of mitochondrial origins, which had been proposed by Lynn Margulis just six years prior to this book’s publication. She may have confused mitochondria with chloroplasts (found only in plants, which DO do produce oxygen as a byproduct of the conversion of carbon dioxide and water during photosynthesis.) But this particular misunderstanding doesn’t seem to have hampered the passion for science these books have inspired in many over the years.
I have to applaud it for the wonderfully healthy sibling relationships that are depicted, and the overall functionality of the Murry family. I may have hesitated a bit over the biology, but the relational aspects were seamlessly portrayed.
I found the story slightly interesting, but not half as much as A Wrinkle in Time. It felt a lot like the same story, just in a different form. The central theme was love and it was Meg, once again, who needed to learn the lesson. So many things were obvious and drawn out that it really got to be tedious.
Meg is still annoying. She doesn't seem to have grown at all since the last book. Except, Calvin is now her boyfriend (which seems so weird since she's about 13 or so and he's somewhere around 17.)
I can basically sum the book up like this: Meg loves everything and it makes everything turn out all right.
In this installment, Charles Wallace is sick and Meg has to pass three tests to help him. Like the first book, much of the novel seems seriously scientific for the audience at which it is aimed. There is, again, a serious biblical overtone to everything, although no specific references to god this time. Instead, there seems to be more of a pantheism vibe in this one.
The tests largely suffer from what I like to call "children's book syndrome," which basically means that the solution is incredibly obvious immediately, but the scenes go on and on. Pages are filled up by Meg whining about how impossible the tests are and how they're stupid and too hard and she can't do them and why does it have to be her and blah blah blah. In the first test for example, it is incredibly obvious which Mr. Jenkins is the real Mr. Jenkins, since he is the only one who has no clue what's going on and maintains consistency with his prior self. Honestly, Meg may be brightest at math, but I'm pretty sure she should have figured that out in no time.
L'Engle's philosophy is summed up pretty well in this comment by Proginoskes: "You are created matter, Sporos. You are part of the great plan, an indispensable part. You are needed, Sporos; you have your own unique share in the freedom of creation." She sees all bits of creation as equally important; size and state of being matter not. Actually, I think that, in theory, is pretty beautiful, but think she has a strange way of conveying it.
In some ways, this book brings to mind The Chronicles of Narnia, in the way there are always external characters coming in to guide the children to the correct answers. Even though the book is trying, on the one hand to show how valuable and strong kids are, there is also a message saying that they need grown ups to teach and save them.
Another conflicting element is in the section that reminds me of The Magic School Bus. Meg and company have to journey into one of Charles Wallace's mitochondria to save the whole universe, since size doesn't matter. Anyway, during this battle, speeches like the one above abound. Everyone and everything is just as important...and yet, it seems to me, Charles Wallace is most important, since the crisis in the war of Naming vs. Xing happened within his cells.
Despite all of my criticisms and observations, this was a decent read and I do plan to keep going into the next book. We'll see how that goes.
A Wind in the Door is a book in the Time Quartet by Madeleine L'Engle. I love Madeleine L'Engle, but this book got a little confusing.
A Wind is about Megan Murray and her confusing time saving her brother. Sci-Fi fans would love it, but I found it to be really confusing. If you have time to sit and think about it and read it slowly, it would be great. Unfortunately, I didn't and didn't get to have the whole feel of the book.