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A Swiftly Tilting Planet (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #3)
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A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Time Quintet #3)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  87,221 Ratings  ·  1,740 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 expecti ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 1979 by Laurel-Leaf Books (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 :)
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)

Community Reviews

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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
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
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
Alaina Meserole
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
Neil 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 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
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
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 presentation ...more
Jul 22, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: scifi, mg
I re-read all of these in a row: A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door and this conclusion. What a difference in quality. But this isn't the typical "gold, silver, brass" progression of a trilogy. It's more like 'gold, silver, mud.'

A Swiftly Tilting Planet is terribly dated and even racist. There's a bad guy in Patagonia who wants to use The Bomb and Charles Wallace can only fix the problem by traveling back in time and space to make sure the right father begets the guy with his finger on the bu
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.
Aug 01, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hard-core fans of L'Engle
Shelves: sci-fi, ya-lit
L'Engle's Time Quartet diminishes in cohesion with each installment. Whether from the author's own under-writing or her publishing house's imprudent hands-off editing after the wild success of A Wrinkle in Time, this book is a disappointment. L'Engle has shown herself capable of visionary writing, and the Wallace family is undeniably charming, so why such a half-baked result?
C.P. Cabaniss
Although the following books in the series haven't been as good as the first book, I am glad that I have continued on. Each of the three books I have listened to so far have been a lot of fun, in different ways.

This one jumps several years into the future. Charles Wallace is now fifteen, the twins are in graduate school, and Meg has graduated with advanced degrees and is now pregnant with her first child. You can tell that they have all aged and matured, but they still stay true to their younge
Apr 04, 2017 rated it liked it
I feel like I've been sucked into the side of an airbrushed panel van. Boom... unicorn!
Ciara Wilkie
Jan 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: own-physical
I enjoyed this more than the second book. I also enjoyed that we learn more about the O'Keefe side.
I would say the ending was anticlimactic. I feel like her books tend to have that oversimplified ending.
I would say this book was enjoyable and worth reading but not one I would read many times.
Sheila {}
Join up for the Time Quintet Read-A-Thon! Check out the details here if you are interested!
Emma Grace
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Is speechless' I don't even know how to review this book... (So I won't ;P) All I can say, is that this one is maybe better than A Wrinkle In Time!
Tiffany Jones
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found out after I finished reading that this is actually book 4 of the “A Wrinkle in Time” quintet, not Book 3, but that didn’t interfere with my enjoyment at all. It did confuse me, a little when I started reading the next book and everyone was younger than in this book, though. Many changes have come to the Murry family. Charles Wallace is now fifteen and Meg is married to Calvin, and expecting their first child. The twins, Sandy and Denny’s, are Home from law and medical school. Everyone ha ...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
Mar 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I did not expect to like this book and it took me a while to get into the story, but once I did, "Wow!"

This is way, way better than the first two books in L'Engle's Time series. Now that I've read this book, I've figured out why I couldn't appreciate the first two. I think L'Engle tried too hard with the science in the first two books. Don't get me wrong, I liked the science. I just think she tried too hard with it that the story came out disjointed. Nothing fit right. But this book: "Wow!"

I lik
J.Aleksandr Wootton
Nov 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: undergrad
A very odd book, dealing with ideas about altering history, causality, family lineage, destiny, and so on (but not with a multiverse approach, so far as I remember). The story was exciting enough but I don't recall enjoying its philosophy, which is quite overt.

I do think A Swiftly Tilting Planet could produce valuable discussions in, say, a middle-grade classroom setting. Students will need guidance navigating the nuances of L'Engle's "what-if" material.

Also, what a beautiful title! One of my fa
Jun 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sf
Just stick with A Wrinkle in Time.
I have a great problem with this book. But as it has next to nothing to do with the plot and the events, I’ll leave it for the end of this review.

When the story begins, we get to learn that a crazy South American dictator (this was written in 1979, so dictators were a common thing around this place) is threatening the US with a nuclear missile (don’t think too much about this). So Charles Wallace’s mission is to travel back in time and discover how to solve this whole mess. He’s called to this b
Rating is really 3.5 stars. I liked this one but it has some issues. And I think if I were younger I would have liked this a little bit more. But it has time travel, some historical fiction and fantasy/science fiction elements. All genres I like. But as usual the fantasy/philosophy was unsettling for me personally. And after a while, the similarities in names in varying generations were confusing. Maybe a family tree illustration would be helpful.

I can think of book recommendations if you like
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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
More about Madeleine L'Engle...

Other Books in the Series

Time Quintet (6 books)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1)
  • A Wind in the Door (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #2)
  • Many Waters (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #4)
  • An Acceptable Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #5)
  • Intergalactic P.S. 3: A Wrinkle in Time Story

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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.” 212 likes
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