Monday, February 1, 2016

ARC Review: Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

Title: Into the Dim
Series: Into the Dim #1
Written by: Janet B.Taylor
Published: March 1, 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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 received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed by my opinion. ***

I saw Into the Dim as Read only on Netgalley and I snagged a copy because it sounded interesting and it fit my theme for the month. I liked Into the Dim but on the whole it was just an okay read. Definitely an interesting book with some interesting and engaging parts but some moments that didn't quite work for me.

Probably my favorite thing about this book was the time travel aspects. I've been reading time travel books this month and they usually fall into two different general concept as to how a person travels back in time, science or magic. In Into the Dim, there was not only the need for technology but also something mystical involved to travel back in time which was cool. It was definitely an interesting and creative concept which was cool especially considering this was not my first or even fifth time travel book this month. It still kept things fresh and interesting. And while I love time travel books, there is always a risk of them getting too complicated and overwhelming. Here it never got too complicated and there even was a lot of set up which I usually don't like but here it worked.

I also really liked the historical aspects of the story too. One of the reasons that I like time travel stories is for they are essential historical fictional books with a little SF/F. Into the Dim did the historical elements so well. It put a lot of emphasis on the time period it took the reader back to which I definitely appreciated. It had real historical figures incorporated with the fictional ones. It was fantastic to seeing the main characters interact with people like Eleanor of Aquitane, Henry II, and their advisors. And even better was the setting. 12th century London really comes alive in Into the Dim with all the good and bad aspects of the era. It doesn't smooth the rough edges at all. It's smelly, there's trash in the streets, and women are not treated very well. But that made the setting all the more realistic and interesting. You can tell that it's very well-researched. The historical aspect and world building was great.

Unfortunately the general plot of the book didn't quite work in the same way that the world building did. It was on the more basic side. I'm a plot-driven reader so I wanted a little more from the general plot of the book. it was interesting enough and there were moments where I was engaged as to where the characters were going and why but it didn't quite blow me away. I think that was mostly because I saw each twist coming a mile away. I usually love a good mystery and here it felt predictable and therefore the characters obtuse at times. And while the ending did have some great action, it took so long to get there. The pacing was a little bit on the slow end with a lot of front loaded exposition. Which I understand for time travel because you have to set up the rules but there wasn't even really much of that at the beginning. But I think what I mostly could have used was a little but more from the mystery to off-set the beginning.

I also don't think I ever really connected with the characters. I don't usually need to love them to enjoy the book but it definitely helps. But I think that the lack of mystery within the book got a bit in the way of my enjoyment of the character. The big reveals didn't hit me so I didn't really find the characters as complex. And that too got in the way of my enjoyment of the main character, Hope. She sometimes came off as a little dense. I mean it made sense for her history and backstory but it didn't quite work in this kind of book. I like when unlikely characters are thrust into situations that they have a hard time handling, that makes it dramatic. But I like to know that they can handle it. I'm not saying that Hope couldn't handle but it just didn't always work for me. I think just in general, I never quite connected with the characters.

On the whole, Into the Dim was a good read despite some things that didn't quite work for me. It had a fantastic world building and setting with great historical fiction elements and engaging time travel aspects despite a simpler plot and characters I didn't really connect with.

I give Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor 8 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. This was an interesting and engaging read but it didn't quite live up to the hype for me. I would recommend it to fans of time travel stories or historical fiction but if you're looking for a complex and emotional story this may not be the book for you.

Have you read Into the Dim? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I've been really excited about this one, so I'm disappointed to hear that you didn't love it. I agree that the plot is really important, but usually if the characters are great I can let some things slide. It really sucks that you didn't quite connect with the characters either! I think I might still read this one at some point, but I definitely won't be running out to get it on release day. Great review!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    1. I'm sorry. I really wanted to love it! I was super excited about it too. It was just that I'm such a plot driven reader that I found that aspect lacking for me. I know a lot of people loved it so I may just be the black sheep here.

  2. Great review! Sorry a few things didn't work for you, but it still sounds pretty good. :)

    1. Yeah, it happens. But I did like it and I know a ton of people loved it so it could just be me on this one.

  3. I'm glad to hear that despite never really connecting with the characters you really enjoyed the book! I loved this one!

    1. I did like it. There were some good elements for me it just didn't completely work. I know a lot of people loved it. I may just be a black sheep on this one.