Her future is a thousand years in the past.

into the dimTitle:  Into The Dim

Author:  Janet B. Taylor

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

# Pages: 428

Genre:  YA Lit, Fantasy

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars


Why I Picked This Book:

Just look at this captivating cover.  It is nearly impossible NOT to pick up a book suggesting that a character might have to travel to the past to engage in her future.  Combine that with the image of the antiquated, intricately designed ring (that you know has to have some bearing on this time-travel mystery) and this book just screams, “PICK ME!”

Publisher’s Blurb:

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. And she’s alive, though currently trapped in the twelfth century, during the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Passing through the Dim, Hope enters a brutal medieval world of political intrigue, danger, and violence. A place where any serious interference could alter the very course of history. And when she meets a boy whose face is impossibly familiar, she must decide between her mission and her heart—both of which could leave Hope trapped in the past forever.

Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.

What I Thought:

Good stories need to be engaging, pulling readers in to the characters’ lives and making readers pull for their successes and feel for their failures.  Into the Dim not only presented characters that were well-developed and unpredictable (to a reasonable expectation), but it also kept roles fluid and presented characters with opportunities to grow without forcing them to make the “right” decisions all the time.  I loved watching Hope, who began the story as a petulant and whiny girl (granted, her mother had just “died”/disappeared), be forced into maturing through circumstances outside of her normal comfort zone.  While she still often made poor choices, her personality shifts were subtle and realistic.  She was just a normal teenage girl, caught in the middle of an undesirable time travel power struggle (and two cute boys).

Speaking of the two boys, while the love triangle element definitely didn’t surprise me, I was impressed by the twists in plot and character motives that Janet Taylor threw it.  I can’t count the number of times I thought, “Oh, boy. What are you thinking?” Collum seemed so distant and off-putting, except for the rare moments when his true character would slip through and he would be concerned for Hope’s well-being.  His actions and mannerisms seemed very old-school, as though he would fit in well in the days of “courtin'”.  Bran’s role in the book was off from the start, but I tend to prefer very loyal men.  The romance factor was there, but I found myself questioning why both characters had to have such obvious flaws, and why in the world we support the infatuation of unreliable men?  Still, their interactions were real and they kept the story moving at a fast pace.

If you appreciate a finely woven story with attention to historical detail, this is definitely an excellent reading choice!