My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I decided to reread A Wrinkle in Time before the movie. I’m always hesitant to reread childhood loves because I’m afraid I won’t like them nearly as much. That was definitely the case here, so my rating is the average between my childhood and adult impressions.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate it now but as an adult I see things I didn’t as a kid. Meg is very much a self-doubting whiner. There is however some value in that, not so much the whining but seeing someone very average when it comes to looks and smarts (though she’s smarter than she thinks she is). Her brother Charles Wallace feels very off too He’s only five but talks more like a college student. Yes, he’s supposed to be a genius, but he reads as an adult and it’s rather off putting.
As this is over fifty years old there are some parts that don’t hold up well, but mostly that’s with the ease at which Meg’s friend, Calvin, calls her an idiot and such. Otherwise, plot wise it holds up well. Meg, Charles Wallace and the twins have had it rough. Their father, who is in some sort of mysterious service, has disappeared. Both of their parents are scientists and I do love that. I adore that in the early 60s Ms. L’Engle had their mother as a scientist first and foremost. The kids even accept that sometimes her work takes precedence over them on occasion.
When she meets Charles Wallace’s ‘friend’ Mrs. Whatsit, a rather supernatural being who promises to help the kids save their father along with her companions Mrs. Which and Mrs. Who. Using math and physics they tesser (from the tesseract) through the dimensions, showing the siblings and Calvin worlds beyond imaging and a nebulous evil that they might have to fight, the Black Thing.
They land on a world where everyone has a job and seems happy but in this utterly orderly world, there is no deviation from the norm. Any is punished swiftly. It’s here that they find their father and the Black Thing which enthralls the telepathetic Charles Wallace and nearly kills Meg. Having her father back at the price of her brother is something Meg won’t let stand. She is at the very least brave and resourceful. While the main plot points wrap up, this very much feels like what it is, one book in a series. While I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did when I was young, it’s still a good book and an important one for the genre.
The one thing that did bother me much more than when I was young (I probably read right past it then). I found the overt Christianity overwhelming. I have nothing against Christian fiction but this outrightly flagellates you with it until you’re bruised.
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Visions in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I spotted this at a library sale and didn’t realize it was so far back in the series but that’s okay. I enjoy the Dallas books. In this one, Eve and Peabody are called out to a park where a woman has been raped, beaten, strangled, posed with her eyes carved out. That’s odd enough but it gets worse. A psychic has seen everything and in a weird bit of world building, Dallas thinks they’re scammers, meanwhile everyone around her believes and there’s even a vetting process to be licensed.
Between physical evidence and the psychic vision they know the murderer is very large and muscular, with size fifteen shoes and that he kills using red ribbon. As they investigate, they learn he might be stalking his prey at a completely unexpected place which I found to be a neat touch. As the body count (and the visions rise), Dallas is forced to counterbalance the investigation with being social (the beginning of Mavis’s pregnancy, Peabody and McNab moving in which is actually an important detail).
We do get peeks into the killer’s head. He has been tortured by his mother and is killing her by proxy. There’s an interesting discussion that I’ve had before. Being abused as a child isn’t a reason to kill but many serial killers share that history. It’s a shame we don’t do a better job in protecting the young
I liked the mystery even though when it was obvious one of the major female characters as bound to be hurt (and since I’m reading this 14 years after publication, oh wow, I knew they wouldn’t be killed). I wasn’t sure I liked the ending but I did like the story. And hey she and Roarke didn’t fight nor did he do much to solve the case, though he helped (two things we see too often in later books). There were a few rather homophobic comments in it (mostly by the bad guys but not all which disturbed me).
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