A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle, on audiobook. Review by S.K. Slevinski

Book Cover

In Print
This book may very well be responsible for my love of reading SFF and my desire to write SFF, and so after its recent release on Audio CD, I was anxious to revisit this novel.

A Wind in the Door is the first book I remember as capturing my imagination to the point where I found myself looking forward to reading it, where I would find myself thinking about it during the day, wondering what the characters would be up to next. I, of course, had enjoyed A Wrinkle in Time previously, but this was the book where I first remember truly experiencing that escapist fascination that so characterizes SFF. The ultimate premise of this story is, interestingly enough, the precisely the opposite of A Wrinkle in Time. Rather that embarking on a journey to the far reaches of space, this story takes Meg and Calvin to some of the tiniest particles of life for a story that is both more magical and more scientific than the first book.

Book Cover

On Audio
As with A Wrinkle in Time, this audiobook showed me that L'Engle's stories continue to hold up well, even upon rereading as an adult. It also showcases her skill for storytelling, perhaps even moreso than Wrinkle, as there is a long stretch of scenes during the climactic chapters where there is literally no scene—all the action is felt and experienced by the characters in the mental communication L'Engle calls "kything." The pace is quick, engaging, but not overly simplistic. The audiobook is a solid and easy-to-listen-to production, though I'm on the fence about the production decision to have L'Engle herself do the narration. Don't get me wrong, L'Engle has a warm and engaging voice, and her reading was as skilled as most audiobook actors—but there was something in her speech pattern, an accentual quirk I couldn't precisely identify, that was a little distracting to me at times during the course of the book. On the one hand, it's cool to know that the emphases of the reading are in fact the author's intended emphases, but on the other hand, I couldn't help thinking I'd rather be listening to a professional audiobook reader with a normalized accent.

A Wind in the Door is the second book of L'Engle's Time Trilogy, though these are essentially standalone books and you don't need to read them in sequence. However, A Wrinkle in Time is such a classic of SFF young adult literature, why wouldn't you?

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S.K. Slevinski is senior editor for ARWZ Literary Magazine and a long time reader of alternative reality fiction. She is currently a graduate student, specializing in folklore.