Charles Wallace has started school but it isn't easy as a child genius who intelligently discusses mitochondrion and the newly discovered farandolae with his scientist mother. To try to help her brother out, Meg visits her formal school's principal Mr Jenkins, not realising how much she will need her former principal to help assist in the next adventure.
A Wind in the Door
One of my favourite parts of A Wrinkle in Time was the close sibling relationship between Meg and her youngest brother, Charles Wallace. My favourite part in the second book of the series, A Wind in the Door, is again, that relationship and how Meg is prepared to travel the lengths of a universe, a galaxy as big as space or even as big as a human body to save her brother.
The opening line above is the very first thing you open up to and the story continues in it's marvels from there. Of course, it doesn't end up being dragons at all but Progo or Proginoskes, a cherubim who along with Meg and Charles Wallace, is a student under the guidance of Blajeny. Their mission is to help stop the Echthroi, the enemy, this evil force that is X'ing things out of existence, like stars.
Meg and Charles Wallace are given lessons in what the Echthroi are doing to the universe and then it gets personal when it is discovered that the Echthroi are in Charles Wallace body, destroying his farandolae (a made up organelle of the mitochondria).
Sound complicated? Well, it is but when you read it, it all makes perfect sense. I love Madeleine L'Engle's imagination and how she doesn't talk down to her audience. She uses a metaphor that the human body is a galaxy to what lives inside it and makes it work.
The idea that the enemy, the Echthroi are eliminating thing and turning living things into nothing is terrifying to kids but as an adult I picked up on the metaphor that the Echthroi could even be symbolic to our negative thoughts, or even go as far to say it could be linked to mental illness, the idea of X'ing, of disappearing, of blackness.
What is the magic power to be used against Echthroi? Love. Of course. Love can literally lead to the creation of humans but it love can also help support someone when they are under threat of the Echthroi, slipping into the darkness, or 'X-ing'.
In order to save the day, Meg has to find love, in a strictly platonic sense, to her old principal Mr Jenkins. This is hard for her to do as he did not always treat or her brother very nicely. Meg learns to accept him for what he is and realises he was only doing the best that he can do.
There comes a time in every kid's life when they realise that their parents aren't perfect, that they too can make mistakes, and some kids end up resenting that their parents don't fit the hero mould anymore. Was that the message? Don't hate your parents or teachers, they are only doing what they can and you should love them because of that.
Overall, while I was very disappointed that there were no dragons in the vegetable patch, it turned out to be a pretty awesome adventure that made me think a lot deeper and a lot harder than even some adult fiction books I have read.
I would have thoroughly enjoyed this series as a kid or teenager and I can't recommend it strongly enough to anyone (kid, teenager or adult), who loves a good story, where science and magic coexist and love does save the day.
I read A Wind in the Door during the 24in48 readathon and it was a great pick, short but captures your attention. You do not have to have read A Wrinkle in Time, you can read it as a standalone, but why would you miss out on this magical series?
2018 Reading Challenges:
Have you read A Wind in the Door? Do you have any other recommendations with a similar theme to the Time Quintet? I would love to know your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below.