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A Swiftly Tilting Planet

(Time Quintet #3)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  107,852 ratings  ·  2,495 reviews
In this companion volume to A Wrinkle In Time (Newbery Award winner) and A Wind In The Door fifteen-year-old Charles Wallace and the unicorn Gaudior undertake a perilous journey through time in a desperate attempt to stop the destruction of the world by the mad dictator Madog Branzillo. They are not alone in their quest. Charles Wallace's sister, Meg - grown and expecting ...more
Paperback, 278 pages
Published January 1981 by Dell Publishing Co., Inc. (first published July 1978)
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Angela Yes! There may be comments about Echthroi that you don't understand as well (although they explain it a bit), but it's a way better book than #2 :)…moreYes! There may be comments about Echthroi that you don't understand as well (although they explain it a bit), but it's a way better book than #2 :)(less)
Sarah Meg was a freshman in the first book, so she was around 14 or 15; Charles Wallace was 5. Charles Wallace is 15 in the third book, so Meg should be 24 …moreMeg was a freshman in the first book, so she was around 14 or 15; Charles Wallace was 5. Charles Wallace is 15 in the third book, so Meg should be 24 or 25.(less)

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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  107,852 ratings  ·  2,495 reviews

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Feb 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
This is where this series entirely fell off the rails for me. (If you enjoyed this book, feel free to skip my rant! You are totally entitled to your own opinions!) I expected to enjoy this! It is a dear favorite of several of my friends. But no. I did not enjoy it. I loathed this book. Loathed.

Let us begin with the intro! The gang is assembled again! Dad is advising the president! Mom is science-ing! Sandy is in medical school! Denys is in law school! Charles Wallace is doing a lot better in sc
Keith Mukai
Nov 24, 2007 rated it it was ok
Though L'Engle's storytelling improves after the dull previous outing of "A Wind in the Door", "Swiftly" fails in other more serious ways.

The biggest problem is her somewhat silly reliance on hereditary family names from generation to generation--names that endure for hundreds of years and somehow continue to intersect.

Madoc, Madog, Maddux, and Mad Dog; Gwydder, Gedder, and Gwen; Zyllie, Zyllah, Zylle; two Branwens and a Charles and a Chuck round out the cast. I think.

Something like four differe
Leslie Ray
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had decided to go back and finish the Time Quintet series as I had read "A Wrinkle in Time" when I was in school. I have really enjoyed #2 and #3 so far and am kind of glad I didn't read them when I was really young as I can really appreciate them more now.
This one centers on Charles Wallace and Meg, who is now married to Calvin. His mother plays a big part of this story which involves the time travel and kything that were a part of the previous 2 books. Charles Wallace must go back in time, w
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book in the Time Quintet series that started out with Meg, her brother Charles Wallace and their friend Calvin.

The third book starts with a massive time jump that almost disoriented me: the events here start 10 years after those of the last volume with Meg being married to Calvin and pregnant with their first child, Calvin being a scientist (and currently away in England), and the family has come together for a Thanksgiving dinner. Even Calvin's mother is there and when somethi
Michael Fitzgerald
Aug 12, 2008 rated it liked it
This one is pretty weak. The name thing is especially stupid. It takes literally 150 pages (out of 278) for them to figure out "with a startled flash of comprehension" that there's - gosh! - a connection between various people named Madoc, Madog, Maddok, Maddox, Mad Dog, Branwen, Brandon, Bran, Zyll, Zylle, Zillo, Zillah, Zillie, Beezie (B.Z.), Branzillo. And then it's on p.195 that we get "Certainly the name Zillie must have some connection with Madoc's Zyll, and Ritchie Llawcae's Zylle..." Rea ...more
D.M. Dutcher
Jun 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
Wow. Out of all of the Time Trilogy novels, I had the fondest memories of this. I guess as a child I skipped over a lot of it.

We enter the Murray family, but about 9 years or so from the events of a Wind in the Door. Meg has married Calvin off-screen and is pregnant. Sandy and Denys are bankers, and Charles Williams is 15. I admit I wasn't crazy about that, seeing as Meg was the soul of the first two books, and I really wanted to see her interact with Calvin more. But I can understand.

It sets up
¸¸.•*¨*•♫ Mrs. Buttercup •*¨*•♫♪
“The sky lightened, and the sun sent its fiery rays over the edge of the lake, reaching up into the sky, pulling itself, dripping, from the waters of the night.”

I don't say this lightly: the first book of this series, A Wrinkle in Time, is my favourite book. Yes, my favourite book of all time. I had to reach the old wise age of 31 to find a book so wonderful, that it would make me say, without a doubt: I never ever read anything quite like this one. And well, I read three books in this series s
Mar 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Morgan by: Jenn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Okay this book was weird.

Charles is almost grown up because he's freaking 15 years old now. The twins are in like med school or something like that. Meg is married to Calvin and they are having a baby (OMG FANGIRL AND SWOOONING). Not really bummed that Meg and the twins weren't in this book as much, or that Meg wasn't on the adventure.. because Charles didn't really get to go on the last one. So it kind of makes up for it - right?

Okay that parts not weird, the weird part was that Charles went to
Jan 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
Charles Wallace saves the universe from the forces of evil. Dear Lord, I hated this book. I'm going with two stars because I do try to reserve a one-star rating for truly unreadable books. This wasn't necessarily bad; I just hated it. I hated the wooden dialogue. I hated the vaguely racist patina over the Native American portrayal. I hated the fact that everyone had the same flipping name. I hated that the author circumvented background exposition with awkward over-explaining conversations (or e ...more
Feb 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I said of A Wind in the Door, I didn’t know of these sequels to A Wrinkle in Time until I was an adult and read them when my son was reading the quartet. I now own this beautiful edition:, so I’m rereading the books (along with their respective endnotes) but reviewing them separately.

If I'd read this when I was a child, I might've been dismayed at the idea of a grown-up Meg, in the same way Peter Pan is at the appearance of the adult Wendy. But I would
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Five stars for enjoyment and nostalgia and quality of writing. This is so, so formative for me. So many of the things I love in literature today are present in this book. A Swiftly Tilting Planet has runes and myth and might-have-beens, and it does time travel wonderfully. (Adult-me wonders if L'Engle was referencing Barrie and Dear Brutus with her might-have-beens; child-me had never heard of a might-have-been before.)

This is lyrical and beautiful. And it still makes me desperate to see a model
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, favorites, sci-fi
"The world of trucks isn't as real to me as the world on the other side of time."

This one had a unicorn!

Okay, maybe not that unicorn.

I had to turn off my adult, analytical brain, and access the child deep down inside me, the one that holds the capacity to wonder, to believe, and to learn, because the corruption of past has not tainted it. In other words, I had to let go of all I think I know. It provided an awesome experience! I remember the awesomeness and wonder of reading these as a child. I
Mar 25, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People with infinite patience.
I hate to admit it, but getting through this book has been a bit of a chore. I'm not altogether certain if I want to finish this chapter of the "Wrinkle in Time" series, though I'm sure I'll press on because I bought the entire series and I want to get through it at least once. What is interesting about this book is that it introduces us to an adult (and very pregnant) Meg, and a teenaged Charles Wallace, who is the center of this book. After getting to know these two characters so well in the p ...more
5 Stars

*A insightful adventure that explores the big impact of little actions*

I have always listed the The Wrinkle in Time series as a major influence in my life. But it wasn’t until I reread them as an adult that I realized that they had a far bigger impact on me that I’d realized. It was so wonderful to illuminate that influence. Reading really is a powerful thing! Meg and her mother had a profound effect on my younger self. They helped me get through some very tough times.

I knew the big e
Tiff at Mostly YA Lit
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. Re-read. Spoilers abound.

It amazes me how I can still be finding new things to think about and learn from in L'Engle's work even after 3-4 re-reads. The lyrical bits were a little harder to get through this time around - but no less beautiful. L'Engle has a gift for creating incredible characters - even though you only spend a short time in Madoc, Bran, Harcels, Chuck, and Matthew's brains through Charles, their stories drew me in. And can we talk about the fact that Chuck and Matthe
Carrie (brightbeautifulthings)
There were a lot of books I read well before I was able to understand them. I don’t think there’s any harm in reading ahead of our intellect, since it’s a way of pushing ourselves forward, but it undoubtedly affects impressions. While I don’t remember struggling with A Wrinkle In Time or A Wind In The Door in spite of their difficult concepts, for whatever reason, A Swiftly Tilting Planet went right over my head. Maybe it was all the time travel and the overlapping family lines, but I just didn’ ...more
This book was deeply, deeply influential when I first read it. Years later, I can see it's flaws more clearly, but in many ways I don't care. L'Engle's overall sense of the universe having a fundamental all-rightness beneath its darkness, and this particular book's sense that until they do happen the awful things don't have to happen, have stayed with me through the years.

Just reread 2/11/12. Still magic. Still so deep a comfort read.

(Scattered thoughts about this book and The Arm of the Starfis
Dec 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Charles Wallace, unicorns, telepathy and time travel. For me, there is very little not to like in this book. L'Engle again explores connections through space and time, and how the actions of just one person can alter history as we know it. One of the books I can read again and again and always enjoy. ...more
Andrew Leon
Mar 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
My first ever oral book report was on A Swiftly Tilting Planet. I chose it because I had so much enjoyed the book. And, hey, it had a flying unicorn. I got an A on the written report; I didn't do so well on the oral presentation. I never let that happen again, though. It was what you call "a learning experience."

Three books into reading (and re-reading) L'Engle's Time Quintent and I'm finally realizing what it is, exactly, that I don't like about them. The characters don't do anything. They spen
Neil R. Coulter
When I was a kid, the L'Engle's Time series was just a trilogy, so this was the final volume. On this re-read, as bedtime stories with the kids, I enjoyed the first volume, A Wrinkle in Time, and liked the second, A Wind in the Door, even better. This one, though . . . it's a different kind of story. Though L'Engle attempted a much bigger, more substantial story, it falls short in some frustrating ways.

What's good about A Swiftly Tilting Planet: the language. L'Engle seems to have put much more
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book as a child, and probably much of this review will be my childhood experience of reading it. I've looked through some other reviews and been interested to see the viewpoints of those who don't like the book. There are certainly some race and gender reps that seem dated or not PC now, but I wonder how a child of 10 or 12 (my age when I first read it) would perceive it.

For myself, reading it about 1978 or 1980, it was an eye-opening experience. First, one thing I like about L'engl
Angela Blount
4.5 Stars

Time-travel, evil dictators, Unicorns, and impending nuclear doom. Oh my!

When you break it down to it’s basic parts, it doesn’t look like this story could possibly work. And yet, somehow, it does. Not perfectly or without some name-related confusion. But what it sometimes lacks in clear logical progression it makes up for in sheer wonderment, empathy-building, and that Murry family bond which readers have—by this point—come to know and love.

In the first book of this series, the focus
Although I thought it was far better than A Wind in the Door , this book still was a struggle to get through in my recent re-read of this series. Of the first three, which I'd read as a kid, I really only remembered plot elements from the first, and character elements from the first and second. This one, I don't know. I know I read it and enjoyed it. This time, reading the first chapter or so was stunning. It starts off surprisingly political, and despite the generally conservative presentati ...more
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
L'Engle is such a gifted writer that it took me much of this book for me to fully realize that it just wasn't working for me. It's essentially a series of small family dramas, which I simply wasn't able to muster up a lot of enthusiasm for. In the end, the fate of the world hinges on making sure that a key character (who never actually appears in person) has the correct ancestry. I do appreciate the reappearance of what I consider a common theme in this series, that people, even unpleasant ones, ...more
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sunday is my day off from housework, laundry etc., so decided to finish the third in this spans a few years in the children’s ages from A Wind in the Door. Meg and Calvin are now married and expecting their first child, so it was quite a jump in time for me. Somehow Meg and Charles Wallace her younger brother must go back in time, and Charles within ancestors to change destiny, as there is one who has threatened to destroy the world. Trying to follow the different generations and t ...more
This book did not work at all. It just falls into a whole lot of mess that makes your head hurt. I loved the first two books in the series, but think that this one was just repetitive after a while. I hope you like that rhyme, cause it repeats a lot in this one.

"A Swiftly Tilting Planet" takes place 10 years after the events in the second book. We now have Meg and Calvin happily married, with Meg expecting their first child. Meg is with her family and Calvin's mother at her family's home waiting
Kathryn Bywaters
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fantasy
Surprisingly wonderful! I’m not sure what has changed… maybe L’Engle switched editors? I have no idea but “A Swiftly Tilting Planet” is a great story. Yes, an actual honest to goodness story. It is not just a choppy assortment of events, which is how the first two books seemed to me. I found myself interested in what was going to happen next and becoming emotionally invested in the characters. Plus, any book that has the phrase “I am a mere unicorn” can’t be all bad. Now, this is not to say that ...more
Ellyn   → Allonsythornraxx
2.5 ⭐
“Hate hurts the hater more'n the hated.”

This wasn't a bad book by any means, I just don't know what the point of it was.
TW: misogyny, racism (challenged), physical abuse (domestic)

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Madeleine L'Engle was an American writer best known for her young adult fiction, particularly the Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters. Her works reflect her strong interest in modern science: tesseracts, for example, are featured prominently in A Wrinkle in Time, mitochondrial DNA in A Wind in the Door, organ regener ...more

Other books in the series

Time Quintet (5 books)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet, #1)
  • A Wind in the Door (Time Quintet, #2)
  • Many Waters (Time Quintet, #4)
  • An Acceptable Time (Time Quintet, #5)

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“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!”
“Part of doing something is listening. We are listening. To the sun. To the stars. To the wind.” 237 likes
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