I got annoyed at these books.
I’m just going to start with the first three, and give whole separate posts for four and five (it will take me a while to get over four).
The stories are awesome, magical with a touch of childish wonder, beautifully written and sometimes achingly wise. But they’re still annoying.
See, my problem is that everyone seems to mostly forget about the last novel as soon as its over. I think because they were written as “companions” and not “sequels,” L’Engle decided to take it as “the other books didn’t exist.” Now, plotwise that’s fine, but character wise its a train wreck. No one remembers the lessons of the previous book, no one thinks to phone a previous friend in a crisis of epic proportions. A Teacher is introduced and is supposed to guide the characters through life–but they are alone in the next book with no mention of the Teacher.
Take Meg. In the first book she learns that she has to be brave because other people are not going to fix everything for her. She learns that her father is not perfect, that her little brother can fail horribly, that all power has limits. Then, in the second book, her reaction to her boyfriend’s arrival is “great, he’ll take care of everything now!” I barely paraphrased that.
Huge events happen, glorious and beautiful and terrifying. But they seem to have no effect on the characters. There may be occasional passing references, but no one ever learns anything. Characters can change within a book, but all the development they’ve undergone stops at the last page.