Monday, February 22, 2016

Into The Dim by Janet B Taylor

I was thrilled to be invited to be part of the Canadian blog tour for Into The Dim! It's been described as Outlander for teens and since I am obsessed with the Outlander TV show, I was excited to give this a try.

As part of the tour we will each be reviewing the book, and were allowed to ask Janet one question! Mine was, of course, time travel related.

If you could travel any where, in any time period, when and where would you travel?

I've often said that Hope lives out my 1st time travel dream in Into The Dim, when she visits London in 1154 to meet Eleanor of Aquitaine. But aside from that…I love Christmas! And any Christmas fan worth their salt would likely choose that most ‘Christmas-y’ time of all…Victorian England! The age that really ramped up Christmas. So many of the traditions we still practice today were born during that time. The first Christmas trees in the home. Carolers. Ladies in bonnets and capes. Men in top hats and tails. Snow and lights and wassailing all over the place. Now THAT was how you celebrated Christmas. Those Victorians…They really figured out how to do Christmas right!

A huge thank you to Janet for taking the time to answer my question, and to Raincoast for hosting the tour. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more review, and questions!

My Review

Into The Dim by Janet B Taylor
Release Date - March 1, 2016
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 432 pages
My Rating - 4.5/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**

Here is the 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.
At first glance it is easy to see why Into The Dim garners comparisons to Outlander. Time travel? Check. Scotland? Check. Romance? Check. Into The Dim has it's own spin on time travel, and creates it's own juicy romance that, I feel, allows it to stand as it's own thing. With shades of Romeo and Juliet, it will appeal to those who love their romances as complicated as they do swoon worthy.

The pacing of this novel is what initially drew me into the story. It's fast, and filled with action and adventure. The first part of the novel is used as set up fot the rest of the story and the time travel element doesn't really appear until about 1/3 of the way into the story. This extra time allowed us to get comfortable with Hope before we're thrown into a new setting with her. Once the time travel comes into play, the story picks up the pace, and doesn't let up until the ending. This is a case where the story is the focus, with the writing being straight forward.

The characters easily endeared themselves to me. Hope, especially, became one of my favourites. There is more than a few shades of the 'chosen girl finds her destiny' trope but I forgive that as it is used in almost all adventure style books. There is a call to adventure, and the heroine is the only one who can answer the call. Hope isn't immediately gifted, and she see her struggle with things. It added a level of realism to her character. The side characters, Phoebe in particular, are also engaging and I am excited to learn more about them.

The hows and whys of time travel are delved into, but almost as background information. Those looking for an in depth analysis and scientifically backed reasoning to this part of the story may be disappointed. I, however, felt this novel was more about it's absorbing storyline, and characters. The explanation given is logical, and presented clearly so the why and how are there, it's just not as big a focus as one might expect. The historical elements read as well researched, and there is an attention to detail that made the setting leap off the page.

This novel will make you want to transport yourself into history. As Hope gets to view a moment in history that means something to her, I couldn't help but daydream about what that would mean for me. The ability to see Anne Boleyn crowned Queen would be breathtaking. It absolutely is the kind of book that makes you question the choices you'd make if put in this situation, and the wonder and magic of seeing a completely different era.

While it allows you to see that time travel can hold a certain allure, it also focused on the more unsettling aspects. The reality of disease, the rights and freedoms we are accustomed to not being the same, the entire feeling of being a 'fish out of water' as everything feels strange and unknown. The act of time travelling itself is also painted as a painful, harrowing ordeal. There is also a focus on changing the past, and the ramifications that would hold. The novel hammers home the point that this is dangerous, and that is never far from the reader's mind. The balance between the rewards and risks is incredibly well done, and it paints a, surprisingly, almost realistic portrayal of what it might be like to be in this situation. Putting the reader into Hope's shoes, so to speak, is what this novel excels at and what allows a connection to the story and characters to be created.

The romance is one of the most intriguing parts to the story. Not the romance itself, as that is rather typical of YA, but an element woven into the romance piqued my interest and has me excited for what it may mean for future novels. There are plenty of threads left to create compelling and dynamic storylines so I am excited to continue this series and see what the events of this novel mean for the characters, and the romance. There is the briefest hint of a potential love triangle, but it is definitely not the primary focus, even within the romantic plot.

Filled with adventure, romance, and engaging characters, Into The Dim offers a promising start to a new series. If you're looking for a time travel novel that will make you wish you could transport yourself back in time, and offers up pure escapism fun in the process, this is the book for you. It's a fun read, and sometimes that is exactly what you need.

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