Into the Dim, by Janet B. Taylor
~I received this book from the publishers through Netgalley. This does not affect my thoughts and opinions on the book. Thank you HMH books!~
I just finished an ARC of Into the Dim, by Janet B. Taylor. This book comes out on March 1st, so make sure to look out for it! :)
"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.”
I dove into Into the Dim without any real expectations - only that I knew it would be cool because it’s compared to Outlander. Now I’ve never read or seen Outlander, but it sounds great!
This book took me by surprise - the entire reason and the way they travel through time, the whole science behind the Dim with the Tesla machine and the use of Opals was an absolutely incredible idea! It was so creative to like modern science with this fictional world that would usually be considered to be a work of fantasy. Both the science and the historical fiction blended very well to make this book a nice, coherent piece. Nowadays, we never really read about the 1100’s, and I thought it was a great time frame to cover! I did have to look up some little points and facts because I wasn’t familiar with the timeframe, but it was explored really creatively!
This book cleverly covers certain themes like racism towards Jews, irrational fears, and family. You don’t read about the first two topics often, and I though they were good themes to cover. They aren’t brought up too often, and do just the right amount of hindering - Hope’s claustrophobia never completely discourages her, and in the end, the racism problem is resolved towards one of the characters. However, I do think it would be interesting to explore such topics in later installments of the series, and see how the characters develop through these little issues.
And now for the characters. Note: This may contain spoilers, simply because it’s the easiest way to talk about the characters.
Hope isn’t the strongest female protagonist out there - she’s shy and sometimes nervous. Her incredible photographic memory helps the group get out of situations that arise, but it isn’t constantly rubbed in the reader’s face, which I appreciated. Her claustrophobia adds an interesting dimension to her character which I think was needed and well used in the story.
This book has a sort-of love triangle, with one of the guys being Collum. He’s this tough-guy, who follows the rules but acts as if he doesn’t really care about anyone. But his walls start to beak with Hope, and he shows a caring side, which is why I started hoping they would end up together. He never really thought stuff through, and acted a lot on impulse, getting him in some pretty bad situations, but was a cool character. I really hope to see more of him in book two, and to see how his character might develop! He was my favorite character for sure!
Okay, now for Bran. I had such a hard time trusting the guy! When they met, I thought 'okay, so this is gonna be the love interest. Lets see how it plays out!’. He’s the ‘perfect guy’ in a way - unique eyes, nice smile and hair, photographer, rides horses, etc.... And after their second meeting, I really, REALLY wanted him to be the villain. This sounds awful of me, but I wanted him to be the kind of villain that would trick her into telling him something important about the whole time-travel thing. I think he could make a great villain. And then he WAS the bad guy for a bit... until we find out that he’s just playing bad to impress his mom, so he’s nice again... this goes back and forth a bit, until the end, where he becomes endgame with Hope. Hm... I want to see what happens with this in book 2 - I think his character can take a really interesting turn.
Phoebe is great! She’s another Viator (Oh, they’re the time-travelers) and she’s so surprising! She’s great with weapons, tricky, and is really smart. I actually want her to end up with Bran, to be honest. I know she had someone back home, but still! ^^
All of the other characters were also great - they were carefully created and placed to make sense of the book, and to bring little twists and turns along the story.
The only downside I can think of is that while sometimes the book was gripping, other times, it was hard to get into again. I think that if Taylor can find the tone she uses in the more immersive parts and can spread it over the rest of the novel, it could become something really awesome with a hype!
I’m giving this book a nice 4/5 feathers! I highly suggest you check it out! :)