Into the Dim, Janet B. Taylor (Into the Dim #1)
Published March 1st 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 432 pages
Source: e-ARC from NetGalley
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.
I’m so sad to say that Into the Dim was, well in a word, dim. When I first read that this book involved a secret society in Scotland and time travel I was ready to eager to dive in. A book about a smart girl going back eight centuries to find her mom – awesome. Unfortunately I found Into the Dim to be pretty flat and predictable rather than the romantic adventure it was supposed to be.
Hope could have been amazing! Instead she was really pretty disappointing. For all that she was supposed to be so smart with her photographic memory she surely missed all the clues I saw dropping. Honestly, I love a good plot twist as much as the next girl – but don’t give me a genius main character who can’t see a setup as it’s happening.
None of the characters had much depth to them unfortunately so Hope had nothing to be propped up with besides the time travel. I liked the idea of the travelers moving throughout history and preventing others from messing with treasures that might otherwise be lost to history – but again the execution was just off. I think if Taylor had kept the time travel simpler rather than adding complicated machinery to lay lines it would have been better. Don’t make the reader think too hard about the implausibility of your story – just go with it and I will follow you!
Where Taylor’s work shone through was in the research. You can tell she really loves the time period and Eleanor of Aquitaine. When Hope lands in the past Taylor really brought the scene to life. The smells and the dress, the class distinctions and the royal pageantry were all so well done. But still, Hope and her companions felt too wrong footed for all the research and experience they were supposed to have. The research just wasn’t enough to carry the book.
Thank you HMH Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for this advance copy in exchange for an honest opinion.