Author: Madeleine L'Engle
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
Published: September 1, 1986 (1st Ed.)
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Source: Personal Copy
A touch of computer keys, a blast of heat, and suddenly the Murry twins, Sandy and Dennys, are gasping in a shimmering desert land.
If only the brothers had normal parents, not a scientist mother and a father who experiments with space and time travel. If only the Murry twins had noticed the note on the door of their mother's lab: 'EXPERIMENT IN PROGRESS. PLEASE KEEP OUT...
Many Waters is, in many ways, a retelling of the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark, with a science fiction twist. Following twins Sandy and Dennis in the aftermath of a mishap in their mother’s lab, the twins are sent back in time to world thousands of years before life as they know it. In a world divided between humans, Nephilim and Seraphim, Sandy and Dennis stick out like a sore thumb, and there’s a strong undercurrent of hate towards the twins, both seen as a threat and a useful ally, as they’re much taller than the people of the land they’ve found themselves in. To make matters worse, Noah is building an ark, and they know this story. Can they find their way home in time, and what happens to those left behind?
I have to admit – I really wasn’t a fan of the first few books in the Time series by Madeleine L’Engle. I just couldn’t get into the characters’ heads, and frankly, they bored me a good bit. Then, I found this book, the fourth in the series that isn’t completely chronological because the books stand alone. The premise fascinated me, as I’m very familiar with my Biblical tales (Catholic, party of one.) The prose is simple but sweet, with two twin boys as the MCs. It’s rich with history, embellished with touches of the supernatural and speeds steadily to an outcome I’m sure we all know all too well.
Sandy and Dennis were refreshing main characters. They kept true to a very boy-esque voice, which I find is missing in a lot of male MC books these days. The secondary characters like Adnarel, Yalith and Grandfather Lamech (and all the cute lil mammoths!) were fabulous, too, and I loved the cast of Nephilim and Seraphim, as well. I enjoyed that they shifted shapes into animals/beasts/insects very much like their own personalities. It was definitely the intricacies within Many Waters that drove it towards the climax, and the sweet touch of love that led to a sad, but beautiful climax was well-written and not overdone unlike a lot of YA romance these days. The themes of destiny, belief in things unseen and fate definitely weighed heavily, as well, making Many Waters even stronger.
I read Many Waters a long time ago, but I’ve kept it on my shelf and bough multiple copies as I wear it out through re-reading. I loved it back then, and I still do. I give it a firm 4.5 out of 5, and I’d recommend it to all YA fans, especially those who enjoy a touch of sci-fi and fantasy with religious undertones.