Review: Into The Dim by Janet B. Taylor

26028989.jpg Title: Into The Dim (Into The Dim #1)
Author : Janet B. Taylor
Genre : Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Publication Date : March 1st, 2016
Publisher :  HMH Books for Young Readers
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Being “the homeschooled girl,” in a small town, Hope Walton’s crippling phobias and photographic memory don’t help her fit in with her adoptive dad’s perfectly blonde Southern family. But when her mother is killed in a natural disaster thousands of miles from home, Hope’s secluded world crumbles. After an aunt she’s never met invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic. She’s a member of a secret society of time travelers, and is actually trapped in the twelfth century in the age of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Now Hope must conquer her numerous fears and travel back in time to help rescue her mother before she’s lost for good. Along the way, she’ll discover more family secrets, and a mysterious boy who could be vital to setting her mother free… or the key to Hope’s undoing.

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REVIEW

I don’t even know where to fucking begin.

Into The Dim ended up being my first five star read of 2016, which in hind sight, is not a surprise at all.  I’ve been waiting for this book since its cover was revealed (which was, wow, back in July 2015) and the synopsis had won me over immediately.  Secret Society. Eleanor of Aquitaine.  Time Travel.  SCOTLAND.  This book almost seemed custom made out of the finest author ideas for me.  And damn did it deliver.

Janet B. Taylor’s Into The Dim, is a historical fiction at its core, but it also has a lot of sci-fi/time travel elements.  It is the story of Hope Walton and her journey to England in the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II.  And why does she travel back in time?  To save her mother, whom everyone believes dead, but who may actually be trapped in the past. After her mother’s supposed death her aunt asks her to spend a summer in Scotland, and she is thrust into the world of time-travellers and her world is turned upside down.  Hope discovers a lot of things about England and the world and herself that she hadn’t known before, and this particular journey to the past may be the key to unlock her future.

I think Hope was one of the best things that could have happened to me this year.  Not only was she a person I could see myself in, but also a person I want to be!  She was the perfect combination of smart (she has photographic memory!) and kind, but she also knew better than to take any shit lying down, and she was tougher than all the men in book put together!  I know that the blurb kind of hints towards “phobias” and “numerous fears” and whatnot, but LIES.  The only phobia Hope had was claustrophobia (a fear of closed places) and she was deathly afraid, but like I said, she was also brave.  Obviously, unlike Outlander, the time travelling in Into The Dim had much more reason, as in there was a motive involved, and I think that shaped Hope’s character like no other.  She was determined af and stopped at nothing to achieve her end.  But what took surprised me most was how she never lost sight of her humanity, always helping people and concerned for their safety and solving problems.  She was breathtaking.

As for the secondary characters in the book, there are plenty.  But I’m going to take a moment to briefly talk about two.  Collum and Phoebe accompanied Hope on her journey back in time, and I loved them.  Collum, like Hope, was whip smart and very resourceful.  He was one pain in the ass character I actually enjoyed reading—owing to his gruff but caring nature.  Of course, he’s a boy and boys are stupid so you got to stick with him and not lose hope (he he he) but he’s absolutely one of my favourites in the book!  In comparison, Collum’s sister Phoebe is a breath of fresh hair.  She’s bright and chirpy and a complete doll, and her friendship with Hope was something that melted my heart!  I definitely saw a lot more of her than I expected, what with her being a supporting character, but she was amazing and I loved her!

The world that the three travel back to is a brutal, vicious world.  12th century England was a nightmare, and this is carefully illustrated in the book.  The treatment of Jews, and the strict, unforgiving laws on women, were scary.  I loved the amount of research put into the book, and it definitely showed in the detailing and imagery that the book incites.  But this isn’t all—Janet B. Taylor’s beautiful, rich narration showed the ability to transport a reader back in time.  You can smell the (meagre) food mentioned, feel the cool, unpolluted air, and almost see Hope and Phoebe create a ruckus around the city, all from where you’re sitting reading the book.  The “Outlander for teens” pitch is perfect, and while the end isn’t cliff-hangery at all, I am very very interested to see how the rest of the series go!

 

I was provided a free earc of this book by HMH Books for Young Readers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. This did not in any way, however, influence the content of this review.
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