“Into the Dim” by Janet B. Taylor
Publishing house: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release date: March 1st, 2016
Quality of writing: 4 out of 5 stars.
How much I enjoyed it: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.
“When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing. Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.”
Thank you, HMH publishing, for sending me a review ARC of “Into the Dim.” In no way has influenced my review.
I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable “Into the Dim” ended up being! It took me a while to get adjusted to Janet B. Taylor’s writing style and her heroine’s voice, but one I did, I started to feel more immersed in the historical and time-travel elements that were in “Into the Dim,” and that made reading this book quite fun. Janet is a very good writer, and I enjoyed the “science” of her time-travel in this book, which felt very similar to the style of time-travel in “Timeline” the movie. I adored that film growing up, so the similarities between it and “Into the Dim”definitely endeared this book to me more than anything else in it. Despite being partial to its “Timeline” vibes, I did find some of the characters in “Into the Dim” to be quite likable.
Hope turned out to be a pretty good character. At first, I felt a bit disconnected from the writing style and this character’s voice, but after about a hundred pages, I realized that Janet B. Taylor’s book was going to be a much younger feeling YA novel than was advertised online. “Into the Dim” was marketed as 14 and up, which made me go into reading this book with the expectation that it was going to be far darker and more gritty than it actual ended up being. Once I got into my head that the female character was supposed to feel quite young and that this book seemed to have been written with a younger audience in mind, then I was able to enjoy this character’s perspective and the rest of “Into the Dim” a lot more.
Like I said before, Hope felt like a very young heroine, which was appropriate since she was only sixteen in this book. I have gotten so used to reading protagonists who were sixteen- to nineteen-years-old, but who felt like mature adults, that it was slightly off-putting at first to read a book about a heroine with such a young voice, but once I got used to Hope feeling so young, I was okay with how young she and everyone in this book seemed. In most cases, I prefer more mature protagonists, but I did like that Hope’s young voice left a lot of opportunity for her character to grow and mature over the course of this book, which I liked. I don’t really think that a week and a half is long enough to drastically change and mature an individual, but I still appreciated that Hope and the other characters in “Into the Dim” experienced some personal growth during their journey through time. Although Hope was a pretty good character, I was slightly unsettled by Hope’s infatuation with Bran Cameron.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked Bran in “Into the Dim,” especially since he reminded me a wee bit of Zach Goode from the “Gallagher Girls” series by Ally Carter, but I personally did not buy into Hope’s insta-affection towards Bran Cameron. I liked Bran and thought that he was an interesting and slightly mysterious character, and I did not mind his side of the romance in this book, but even after having finished “Into the Dim,” I am still a little unsettled by Hope’s half of the romantic relationship in this book.
Despite my not-so-fond feelings towards Hope and Bran’s romance, I thought that Janet B. Taylor did a good job of writing a pretty likable heroine and an interesting lead male character, but I think that my favorite part of this book, other than it’s “Timeline” vibes, ended up being the secondary characters. Phoebe, Doug, Collum, Bran, and the adults in this story made it endearing and likable, and at times it felt as if they were more dynamic than Hope, even though she was the protagonist. Oh, and William Lucie and Rachel were adorable together! I really wanted to get to know Janet’s secondary characters better, so I am hoping that she will choose to focus more on them in second book of her “Into the Dim” series.
Overall, I enjoyed reading “Into the Dim.” Janet B. Taylor’s book was well-written and fast paced, but there were also times when it felt a little too rushed, and I found myself wishing for a bit more layering of the historical aspects. All of the historical facts in “Into the Dim” were well-researched and interesting, I just wish that there had been a bit more of them threaded throughout this book in order to make the era that Hope had traveled back to come alive for me as a reader. Other than wishing for a bit more from the setting and historical elements, I enjoyed “Into the Dim,” and I think that it would be a good read for mature middle school aged kids and younger teens.