Into the Dim

This is a scheduled post as I am currently in Venice for the weekend. I’m not sure if I’ll have a decent internet connection so I’ll reply to any comments when I’m home again on Tuesday. Happy reading everyone!

Into the Dim

Title: Into the Dim

Author: Janet B. Taylor

Series: Into the Dim, #1

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Release Date: March 1st 2016


Four 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 travellers. 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.

– Blurb courtesy of

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“The Dim. Soundlessly, my lips formed the words. A horrifying idea rippled just below the surface of my mind. My mother’s face, trapped within the tapestry’s weave. Costumes. Computers. Tapestries. Machines.”

After she loses her mother in an earthquake in India Hope is distraught. Her mother was her world and Hope cannot believe she is actually gone. When her father receives a letter from Hope’s aunt in Scotland, an aunt she’s never met or heard from before, without even being given a real choice Hope is send off to Scotland for the summer to meet an aunt who promises her answers about her mother.

But once Hope is there she is left in the dark; her aunt is not there to greet her and it’s obvious the other people in the house, Mac, his wife Moira, and their granddaughter Phoebe, are keeping something from her. And when she asks she is told her aunt will explain everything. One night though, she hears music and goes to investigate. She finds a hidden room, full of strange coordinates, ancient treasures worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and costumes from all the ages. But before she has a chance to investigate any further she is interrupted when her aunt arrives back.

Hope is soon let in on the secret; her family are time travellers, and once they would travel back in time collecting valuable artefacts to sell, though they have no stopped that practise. Instead they dedicate their time to trying to stop the Timeslippers from messing with past events. Hope’s mother didn’t die in an earthquake in India like Hope believes, instead she was lured to and trapped in London 1154 with no way back.

“You have more knowledge of history, and archaic languages, than many learned professors could absorb in their lifetime. Do you now understand why? You’ve been training for this since you were four years old. We need that knowledge. We need you.”

Once in 1154 Hope, Collum and Phoebe have only three days to find Hope’s mother and go back to where the Dim will open once more so they can travel back to the present, but it’s no easy task. Finding one woman in a city is not easy task, and even when they do find her there are more problems to combat. Hope’s mother is trapped in marriage to another man and the Nonius Stone, a powerful pearl that will give whomever has it control over the Dim, is in 1154 with them.

Hope isn’t sure who she can trust, not when she discovers that Celia and the Timeslippers are somewhere in London with them. She has been thrown into a new world with very little training and finds herself having to learn quickly to avoid Celia and Thomas à Becket, who’s eye she has caught for all the wrong reasons.

…The Characters

“For the first time, the historian in me woke and squirmed with excitement. I was here. I’d travelled through time and space. The possibilities stretched out before me—so many worlds, so many famous people and events.”

Hope is incredibly clever, she has an eidetic memory and is able to remember anything and everything she reads. It makes her the perfect person for the mission back to 1154 to try and save her mother but she is lacking in people skills. When she arrives in Scotland Phoebe becomes her first real friend and she is unused to boys paying her attention when she meets Bran horse riding, but despite all that she is good at connecting with people and reaching out to them.

“Mo—” My voice cracked. I tried again. “Lady Sarah?”
She froze, fingers twitching at her sides in a nervous habit I knew so well. Her shoulders rose. She turned slowly. When she caught sight of me, her eyes widened, then closed as if in pain.
“No,” she whispered.

The relationship Hope has with her mother is one of idolisation. For all her life her mother has been there for her no matter what, and losing her destroys Hope, so hearing that she isn’t actually dead is a relief. Hope is determined to do whatever she can to save her mother, determined to do anything necessary to get her mother out of 1154 and back home. When we meet Hope’s mother however I didn’t see the strength in her that Hope did. She had been married to an abusive man and obviously that would have affected her character but she seemed weak, she wasn’t willing to fight for her daughter. I’m not sure if Hope’s mother will change in the second book but her characterisation and the way Hope, and other people, see her just didn’t add up.

In spite of all the training they’ve had it’s easy to forget that Hope, Phoebe and Collum are just teenagers. They make stupid mistakes while in 1154 which makes their job a lot harder and makes them more vulnerable but I thought it was good to read because it didn’t make them invincible. They were just teenagers who had been given a task that ended up being way over their heads.

“I know you.” The words tumbled out before I could stop them.
“I don’t think so, love.” He peered at me. “I can assure you if we’d ever met, I’d remember. I have an uncanny ability to remember pretty girls.”

One thing I did like was that there was no love triangle between Hope, Collum and Bran. I thought there would be at one point but I’m really glad there wasn’t because it seems to be something appearing in a lot of books nowadays. Collum is a very serious character, he worries a lot about Phoebe and Hope and feels responsible for them while they are in 1154 but he lets his personal feelings get in the way and puts them all at risk. I really loved Bran’s character, especially the background he had with Hope, and I really hope we see more of him in the second book.

…The Setting

“When we emerged from the forest, the farmer halted. I rose to my feet. Phoebe pulled herself up beside me. Everyone, including the family, gaped at the sight of the walled medieval city lying before us in the distance.
London. 1154.
Distant bells chimed the hour, I thought I counted ten peals, though there were so many ringing all at once, it was hard to tell for sure. Tendrils of smoke rose from a thousand fires to coat the sky above the city in a smoggy cloak.”

I really loved the setting for this book. The way the Scottish Highlands are described in the first half creates a beautiful backdrop for Hope’s families estate. However going back to 1154 was clearly the highlight. The history of the era was well-researched and I really enjoyed the way Hope’s love of the era shone through as we read. The tension between the Christians and the Jews was well written as well as the hostility between Eleanor of Aquitaine and Thomas à Becket which foretold their stormy future to come. The one thing I didn’t really understand was the theory behind the time travel aspect in this book. There was a lot of background, theory, and history, and a lot of it flew over my head; and also there were parts that were never really explained, like why they need opals to travel through the Dim safely. The overall explanation of time travel in this book was probably well written but honestly it was too much and too complicated and I kind of skimmed over most of it.

There is a lot of comparison between Into the Dim and Outlander, and I may not have read Outlander but I really enjoyed Into the Dim. It’s not my favourite time travel book I’ve read this year but it was a unique story and it had some brilliant characters. I’m very excited to see where the author takes the characters in the second book.

What did you think of Into the Dim? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

2 thoughts on “Into the Dim

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