Meg can’t sleep. Her bedroom is in the attic of the house where the winds and rain make the most noise; and so she wanders downstairs where she finds her youngest brother, Charles Wallace, having a sandwich. Soon after, Meg’s mother joins them, and the three enjoy a late-night snack. As the three talk, it appears that Charles Wallace must be a much older character than he is, as he speaks in a very mature manner, which then surprised me when I learned that he was not even old enough to attend school yet.
During this unscheduled meal, we also learn that Meg’s father has been missing for some time, and that this is a sore subject for the family, as rumors are being spread by the other people of the town are not kind. It is obvious that Meg wants nothing more than reconnect with, or at least find out what happened to, her father. And, though the author tries to mask that this will be a major part of the story, it is fairly obvious where we are going to go next.
The meal is disturbed by the barking of the family dog, Fortinbras, who begins growling at the door. Meg’s mom goes to see what the fuss is, and returns with a woman that Charles Wallace immediately recognizes as Mrs. Whatsit, the first of a trio of characters who have some form of special powers about them, though that is never fully explained throughout the book.
From there, we are introduced to Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, the other two supernatural beings, and a neighborhood boy named Calvin. The adventure starts soon after as the three humans and three supernatural beings are whisked away through a process known as ‘tessering’, the process of which the author does a great job of explaining.
The six companions ‘tesser’ or teleport if you will, across the galaxies, stopping off at a few various planets along the way. On one planet they interact with a character known as the Happy Medium, and learn the purpose of their adventure. A dark energy, which is called simply ‘The Black Thing’, is not only taking over planets, but may also be the reason Meg’s father has gone missing.
There were several things that I liked about this book. One of them was the ease and smoothness with which the book read. It is definitely written at a younger level, but it has concepts and character relationships that adults should enjoy as well, at least, I know I did. The author also melds the aspects of science fiction and fantasy beautifully, and introduces scientific concepts in a very understandable way. Even without fulling knowing or understanding what a tesseract is, the reader loses none of the impact of the tale. I also fully enjoyed the complex and yet ‘children’s book’ style of characters and the ways in which the characters interact.
What I didn't like about the book, is that it leaves so many doors open. The three ‘Mrs.’ characters are never fully explained, where they come from, what their purpose is, or what concept they represent; the Black Thing is also never explained, nor the reason why Charles Wallace is ‘special’ as he is referred to throughout the book. As a stand-alone read, this novel left me with more questions than answers, which may have been the author’s intent, as it definitely leads me to want to read the next book in the series.
Overall, I’m giving this book 4.5 stars!