Many Waters (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-01-26 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 162 user ratings

"I’m still not sure about the point of this book. I get it, the Murry twins travel back in time (because they did what they were not supposed to do and touched a machine in their parent’s lab) to Biblical times before the flood.

It was highly entertaining, I won’t lie, but the point I’m trying to get to here is that I don’t know why they needed to travel back. To learn about love? To show that history can’t be changed? To meet a different stage of human evolution?

There are too many questions, and so few answers to them. It’s almost frustrating. Especially because this book stands alone among the others in the Time Quartet and the events here, unlike in the other books, are not related to what’s going to happen in the series. Actually, the third book, A Swiftly Tilting Planet actually is set after this one, but the events are never even brought up.

So, Sandy and Dennis travel back in time, as I said before, to the land before the flood. And, of course, they meet Noah and his family. Especially his younger daughter, Yalith, who is strikingly pretty and attracts both boys from the very beginning.

While trying to understand what happened and how to go back, the twins confront a series of perilous adventures, including the hostility between Seraphim and Nephilim, two powerful races of angels who appear to be fighting over the control of the human race. Well, that’s more for the Nephilim, as the Seraphim are more inclined to help humans.

There’s a very original element in this book in the portrayal of pre-flood humans. To begin with, they are a lot shorter than modern humans. And they appear to have longer life-spans and maturation process. So, they reach adulthood at one hundred years old. That’s, apparently, how Methuselah lived so much (and it seems it wasn’t such a big deal back then). And there are also a few mystical creatures that do not exist right now, like manticores, which attack people when they’re hungry. Mammoths are also very much included in the story, as people in the oasis use them to find water and they are about the size of a dog (I imagine them to be very cute). And there’s unicorns! Cool, quantum-leapers, unicorns! How awesome is that? And they only approach virgins, so the twins can totally ride them (they’re about sixteen here).

So, as the novel goes on, the twins learn about love and about history. Or more, they learn about their own role in history. One of the parts I enjoyed a lot was when they commented how chauvinistic the flood story is in the Bible, as only Noah’s sons are named, and not their wives. And Yalith and Mahlah, Noah’s daughters, are not even mentioned at all.

This actually becomes a real plot point because the twins don’t know whether the girls aren’t mentioned because of the chauvinist vision the Scripture gives, or because they aren’t in the Arc at all. And they’re not mentioned in there either, so that may means that they die there in the flood, or that they return home?

A bonus point for the funny sexual stuff you get in there. I remember a line saying that Japheth (one of Noah’s sons) and Oholibamah (his wife, half Nephilim), “become one” (or something along those lines) and “it was good”. And there’s the other bit when Tiglah, a girl who comes from an evil family and that’s involved (probably, in a sexual way) with one of the Nephilim, tries to seduce Dennys. And he says that having sex with her “is not worth losing his ability to touch a unicorn”. Which works as a brilliant euphemism for virginity, doesn’t it?

Anyway, I enjoyed the book and getting to know the twins more deeply. They are cool kids and they don’t get much screen time in the previous installments.
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" Favorite of the series so far - and that is saying a lot! The story was creative and yet remained true to the Biblical narrative. Highly enjoyable read! " said.

"2.5 Stars

The Murray twins take the spotlight for the first time in this book, which actually seems to be taking place somewhere between book 2 and 3 (as Meg isn’t yet married, and Sandy and Dennys are supposed to be in high school during this installment.) After accidentally interrupting an experiment, the boys are thrown back to some version of the pre-global flood days. In a strange oasis, they encounter Noah and his family—just prior to the building of the famed ark—along with some of the more corrupt and deeply unpleasant inhabitants of the ancient world.

Of the first four books I’ve so far read in the series, this one comes in last on my favorites list. Like A Swiftly Tilting Planet, this story involves time travel and altering (or maintaining the balance of) the past. Unlike the third book, our young heroes actually end up living in—and learning to cope with—this historical time period in which they’ve apparently become trapped. It isn’t the premise that disagreed with this reader so much as the slowness of pacing paired with the author’s particular high-fantasy interpretation of the biblically referenced time period. While the 3rd book dealt with a completely made-up timeline and family history, in this book the author is pulling directly from a known source and warping elements of it to suit her own intent.

For some reason, L’Engle chose to portray ancient humanity as a loincloth (only) wearing desert-dwelling people who were incredibly small in stature. I gathered by the end, this was to imply that the cross-breeding with fallen angels resulted in the more modern height increase. (However, this doesn’t explain the miniaturized size or nature of the of the water-detecting desert mammoths, which were described as being the size of dogs. There are also manticores, griffons, and “Virtual Unicorns” (very unlike the unicorns in book #3) that only exist when you decide to believe in them… because reasons. >.>) Humanity’s massive lifespan was also suggested as cause for technical adulthood not being reached until around the centennial mark. As a result, Noah’s 100-year-old daughter Yalith—who becomes the love interest for both brothers—is depicted as a painfully naive teenage-minded girl. Talk about a serious case of arrested development!

To me, the twins weren’t quite distinct enough in their own personalities. While they do prove more intelligent than they’d previously let on, they are nonetheless the most “normal” (i.e. vanilla dull) of all the Murray family. I found I was reading on for the sake of learning the plot more so than out of concern for what might happen to either of them.
Sandy and Denny’s vague knowledge of the Old Testament means they eventually do figure out the significance of the Noah they’ve encountered. But their lack of study and/or interest means they are incredibly slow on the pickup regarding the fallen angels and Nephilim. (Apparently in L’Engle’s hyper mythological vision of the quickly summarized record, humans don’t comprehend what the “winged giants” they’ve been breeding with actually are.)

Content Note: Contextual nudity (and its effect on the modern boys) is addressed with tact and cultural frankness. But this is the first book in the series to repeatedly reference awakening sexuality, and that may come as a surprise for some readers. Lust and seduction are repeatedly depicted as they are used against the twins in a vie for information. Although, compared to some of the more recent trends in Middle Grade and YA, the situations are relatively tame in their graphicness and end result.
" said.

" I really liked this one. The twins starred this time and went back to the time of the Ark. Great way to capture the story. " said.

" I thought this was interesting, bordering on weird. ;) " said.

""A Wrinkle in Time" is one of my favorite books ever. L'engle's imagination is singular, and her ability to pull the reader into her imagined world is also unique. "Many Waters" is the fourth book in the "Wrinkle in Time" series, and it fits well into the aesthetic and tone of every book before it, which is a wonderful thing. The pre-flood world is a mysterious and fantastical place, defying any traditional explanation, and L'engle sparks the reader's imagination while painting compelling characters, even though they are worlds apart. If you are a fan of L'engle's previous work, this is highly recommended." said.

"This is the other contender for my favorite Madeleine L'Engle book. I especially love this book because of its version of the biblical story of Noah and the flood, a story that I've heard often and that loses its luster since I spent my entire childhood in Sunday School. L'Engle blends biblical ideas and stories with her own imaginative renderings of that time, like her interpretations of the seraphim and nephilim, mythical creatures like manticores, and her explanation of Noah's daughters' conspicuous absence from the ark and the Bible. It's a great read and it's always refreshing to see a familiar story in a new and meaningful light. " said.

"Many Waters is the fourth book in Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time series. This is one of the more fascinating blends of Science Fiction and Fantasy that I've read because it also incorporates some Biblical history. Two high school age children travel back in time to meet Noah and his family just before the world-wide flood. The issues of good vs. evil as well as free will and cultural difference are all explored through this extremely well written book. I found myself thinking about my own life and issues a little bit differently after reading this book because it opened my mind to perspectives I had not considered. I always love it when a book does that because I feel like the book has given me two gifts: the story and also some personal insight.

" said.

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