This book reminds me of the time travel novels I loved when I was a preteen. Except it's better written and has a stronger plot. The cover may advertiThis book reminds me of the time travel novels I loved when I was a preteen. Except it's better written and has a stronger plot. The cover may advertise this as a romance, but that's misleading. Unlike the time travel stories of my youth, the romance doesn't drive the plot. Instead, this is a book about steel and about power and how you use both.
As the novel opens, Jill places fourth in a fencing competition. This is a good placement, but it means that she will not be on the Olympic team. She's that good, and fourth place is devastating. When she can't pull herself out of the depression the loss brings, her family takes a vacation in the Caribbean, hoping that some sun and sand will be the cure she needs. It's not. Instead, Jill still manages to isolate herself from her family. When walking alone on the beach one day, she stumbles across the rusty tip of a rapier in the sand. She recognizes the object for what it is, and pockets it. Later, she and family go on a boat tour together. Just as the weather is getting rough, Jill has an accident and falls over the side of the small boat--and surfaces in the early seventeenth century, amid the wreckage of a ship destroyed by pirates. A different band of pirates finds her and takes her aboard, where she is given a choice: she can sign the articles and join the crew or go overboard again. Jill becomes a pirate.
The captain of the pirate ship, Marjory Cooper, recognizes the shard. The rest of the blade belongs to her mortal enemy, the pirate Edmund Blane. And since the shard wants to be reunited to the rest of the rapier, she determines to use it as a compass to track down Blane once and for all.
Through this, Jill is certain that the shard is her key to returning to the 21st century. However, she can't tell anyone just how far away her home is, and she gradually settles into the life aboard ship. Vaughn provides details that prove that she's heavily researched the time, but she weaves them into Jill's story effectively enough that they never seem like infodumps. Instead, we learn, as Jill does, why the ship must always be scrubbed--every day. We learn a little about the sails, and we also learn about battle. We learn these things because Jill lives them.
I don't think that everyone will like this book quite as much as I do. However, as I explained above, I have a strong residual fondness for this genre of story left over from my childhood reading. And I'm a Carrie Vaughn fangirl. I've read almost all of her works, and I've enjoyed them all. I encourage you to give this slim book a chance. It's worth it....more
I was surprised to discover that this, my previous favorite of the Time Quintet, held up the least during my reread. :-(
I still think L'Engle did manyI was surprised to discover that this, my previous favorite of the Time Quintet, held up the least during my reread. :-(
I still think L'Engle did many things well in this book, but it just didn't have the same spark for me this time. I didn't buy into the insta-love with Tav (and neither did Polly--I missed that when I was a teen). I still think that the developments to Zachary Gray's character in this book were well done. (view spoiler)[At the same time, though, those developments mirror his behavior in ever previous book he appeared in. He'd be a romantic suitor, start alienating the girl of his choice, and then do something horrible and let her down when she needed him the most. This time is worse than the previous events. Unlike in the other books, Zachary seems to regret his actions here, and his regret may lead him to remake his character and his values. Since he never appeared again in L'Engle's fiction, his story at least ends with the possibility of redemption. (hide spoiler)] All the same, the book doesn't tackle big issues in the same way that the previous titles did.
I have a feeling that I need to write a much longer blog post to sum up my feelings about the series as a whole. When I do, I'll link to it here.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more