Thursday, July 28, 2016

Book Review: Into the Dim (Into the Dim #1)

Into the Dim (Into the Dim, #1)About the Book:
Title: Into the Dim (Into the Dim #1)
Author: Janet B. Taylor
Pub. Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 428
Rating: 3.5/5 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.

With intriguing, beautiful settings of Scotland and the Middle Ages, and plenty of great twists, Into the Dim was an exciting start to a new series about time travel. While this novel does have its flaws, they didn't detract from the story enough to make me dislike the story. There is definitely plenty to love about this book, and if you go in with an open mind and a roll-with-it attitude, I think this book will appeal to many readers! Janet B. Taylor has set up a story that has a lot of potential to be something great, and I do hope that the flaws I found are "fixed" in subsequent books. 

I always have some reservations when reading time traveling books because they can either go one of two ways...confusing because the author doesn't explain things well, or not confusing because everything is well developed and clear from the get go. Fortunately, this book falls in line with the latter. Janet B. Taylor describes the time traveling aspect very well, and sets up the "society" perfectly. There was never a time I was confused by these aspects of the story. However, this is also where a small flaw lies in the story. The actual "science" and history behind the time travel is not that great (or strong) in my opinion. It's not that it wasn't well developed, but more that it didn't really make that much sense realistically. I know, I might be saying, time travel doesn't actually exist so how much realism do you want? Well, if you read the book, you'll see what I mean. It's very difficult to describe without reading the novel, but suffice to say, the time travel wouldn't hold up to any scrutiny. This is why I said you have to just go with it and accept this part of the book. 

The adventure and action truly begins when Hope (our MC) and friends travel back to the Middle Ages to save Hope's mother. There were many exciting scenes and plenty of action. I loved all of the twists that occurred during this time, and while some I did see coming, there were others that completely surprised me. Janet B. Taylor richly described England during the Middle Ages, and the time period truly comes alive with her writing. There is a nice balance of social, religious, and political intrigue and ideals that make the story come alive and more realistic. I did like the characters for the most part, but again there were several flaws I found with several characters.

The character I had the most problems with was our main character, Hope. She is extremely stereotypical and as a result left me feeling just eh about her character in the end. She has many phobias, and I kept waiting for the author to explore this aspect of her character more, but instead this got pushed to the background. This was actually a major part of her character in the beginning of the novel, and unfortunately it just ended up becoming almost non-existent. Plus the way she acted when she first met Bran really bothered me. I mean if someone is taking photos of you in the woods without you knowing, call me crazy but you don't go up to said person and flirt with him. I get that she was extremely sheltered and had very little "street smarts," but even someone such as Hope (who is brilliant due to her photographic memory) would know better. This leads me to the other problem I had...the romance. I won't reveal who the romance is with because no spoilers!! What I will say though is that I didn't really buy their romance, nor did prior events in the story make me have warm fuzzy feelings about the romance in the end. 

Overall, this was a fast-paced, exciting novel that is filled with interesting twists and turns. I loved visiting the Middle Ages with Hope and her friends, and I especially liked the no-nonsense ways Hope and her friends came up with solutions to problems they were challenged with. While there are some flaws, I do think that this series has a lot of potential, and I want to check out the next in the series to see where the Ms. Taylor takes the story. 

Happy reading :) 


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