In her first book for young adults, Winterson (Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit) delivers a romp through space and time with an intrepid 11-year-old heroine, Silver Rivers. The story opens with "the first of the Time Tornadoes," which merges a contemporary school bus and a pharaoh's chariots on the River Thames. It then moves to the 16th-century rambling house that had been Silver's family home before her parents and sister disappeared four years ago. Now Silver lives there with her greedy "aunt" who is helping an ageless and sinister alchemist, Abel Darkwater, find the lost Timekeeper. A prophecy states that this clock, to be found by the Child with the Golden Face, controls the most precious commodity of all time. Silver discovers she is that Child, with the help of the underground people called "Throwbacks," who help her travel across the universe and back. Winterson playfully peppers this journey with references to John Harrison, the Einstein Line, Schr dinger's cat, quantum physics, Black Holes and Egyptian deities. In Silver's quest to fulfill the prophecy, she teams up with her special Throwback friend, Gabriel, to take on Darkwater and his nemesis Regalia Mason, leader of a powerful corporation for centuries into the past and future. While the text may be somewhat fragmented and overworked in places, the sheer exhilaration of the adventure and the many fascinating historical and scientific allusions will keep readers engrossed through to the satisfying conclusion. Ages 8-12. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Strange events are happening to time all over the world. A Time Tornado whirls a school bus full of children away as a woolly mammoth appears on the banks of the Thames. The secret to these time warps seems to be centered in the old house, Tanglewreck, inhabited by eleven-year-old Silver and her guardian. Hidden in the half-ruined mansion may be the family treasure, the Timekeeper. Whoever holds this talisman, controls time-and life itself-forever. Can Silver find the Timekeeper, or has it too slipped outside time? Silver is a plucky hero in the mold of Neil Gaiman's Coraline and Philip Pullman's Lyra, a creature of action rather than introspection. Thwarted by Dickensian villains like her greedy guardian, Mrs. Rokabye, and Abel Darkwater of the Tempus Fugit Society, Silver is aided in her quest for the Timekeeper by Gabriel and the other Throwbacks, fugitives from the eighteenth-century Bedlam Asylum. Although the author sometimes skimps on character development and description and occasionally sacrifices wit for slapstick comedy, the novel is still well paced and cleverly plotted. Quick shifts of scene and viewpoint might bewilder readers accustomed to more leisurely fantasy tales, as the story leaps breathlessly from present to future and back. Sophisticated readers will find echoes of His Dark Materials, Diana Wynne Jones's A Tale of Time City (Greenwillow, 1987/VOYA February 1988), and Coraline (HarperCollins, 2002/VOYA Octoer 2002), but at its best, the book tells its own story and leaves the reader wanting another glimpse into the lives of Silver and Gabriel. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, definedas grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2006, Bloomsbury, 416p., Ages 11 to 15.
Jamie S. Hansen
Gr 6-10-A Time Tornado drops ancient horsemen and chariots into present-day London and causes a busload of school children to disappear into thin air. A mysterious, self-proclaimed scientist known as Regalia Mason secretly seeks to profit from this event and other disturbances so that she can harvest spare time and sell it through her company. Meanwhile, a sinister alchemist named Abel Darkwater seeks a clock known as the Timekeeper in order to become even more powerful than Mason. At the center of this struggle is an orphan named Silver and her 500-year-old house, Tanglewreck, where she lives with her "aunt" as the prophesied Keeper of the Clock. She embarks on a prophecy-fulfilling interstellar journey to locate the Timekeeper and guarantee the safety of time as we know it. Winterson masterfully weaves together an imaginative array of settings and characters to bring the story to its exhilarating fulfillment. Silver's varied relationships add even more depth, encapsulating family, friendship, deceit, and abuse. Some explanations of futuristic technology, concepts of time and space, and even humor will likely be too challenging for most children younger than the book's 11-year-old protagonist, but this time-bending sci-fi adventure will be a fine addition to young adult collections.-Emily Rodriguez, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Quantum mechanics, psychic powers and alchemy blend with adventure in an appealing read for fantasy and science- fiction fans alike. Silver Rivers is seven years old when her parents and younger sister disappear. Four years later, time becomes unstable and a school bus filled with children disappears into a time tornado while a wooly mammoth is spotted on the banks of the Thames. Silver has the central role in finding a mystical relic, the Timekeeper, which will resolve all the problems with time. The complex plot has many subordinate threads and plays itself out in two universes, rural England and above- and below-ground London. Well-developed main characters add liveliness and suspense to the story, while secondary characters (a pair of inept thugs, the original Schrodinger's cat) add touches of humor to a basically sober story. The climax is chaotic and exciting; the resolution is realistic, bittersweet and a little too quickly achieved. Give this book to readers of William Sleator's Marco's Millions (2001) and Last Universe (2005), and Suzanne Collins's Underland Chronicles. (Fiction. 10-14)
“Jeanette Winterson's novels for adults have been praised for their experimentation, their hypnotic use of language, and their exploration of intellectual concepts of science and philosophy. Her first novel for children, TANGLEWRECK, contains all of these elements, wrapped up in a playful package and a genuinely captivating story.” KidsRead.com
“The sheer exhilaration of the adventure and the many fascinating historical and scientific allusions will keep readers engrossed through to the satisfying conclusion.” Publishers Weekly
“An appealing read for fantasy and science- fiction fans alike.” Kirkus Reviews
“The adventure unfolds in a lucid, lyrical blend of fantasy, physics, and theology reminiscent of Madeleine L'Engle, but excels on its own terms, with a stubborn, fully developed heroine who overcomes the limitations of a commercialized world to earn the friendships and victories that save her life and country, if not her vanished family. Unabashedly intelligent, Tanglewreck guides readers through an exciting new level of the familiar universe of speculative fantasy.” Horn Book
“Winterson masterfully weaves together an imaginative array of settings and characters to bring the story to its exhilarating fulfillment.” School Library Journal
“Winterson seamlessly combines rousing adventure with time warps, quantum physics, and a few wonderfully hapless flunkies. Her clever science will draw fans of Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, and her dastardly villains and resourceful youngsters will remind readers of the Lemony Snicket's books about the hapless Baudelaires.” Booklist