Book Review: Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

Touted as an Outlander for teens, I was more than excited to get my book nerd hands on Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor. I literally finished this book within 48 hours, so right off the bat I’m going to tell you it’s good, and yes, you should totally read it! Here’s a quick synopsis before I delve into my review:

Into the Dim Book Review

Being “the homeschooled girl,” in a small town, Hope Walton’s crippling phobias and photographic memory don’t help her fit in with her adoptive dad’s perfectly blonde Southern family. But when her mother is killed in a natural disaster thousands of miles from home, Hope’s secluded world crumbles. After an aunt she’s never met invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic. She’s a member of a secret society of time travelers, and is actually trapped in the twelfth century in the age of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Now Hope must conquer her numerous fears and travel back in time to help rescue her mother before she’s lost for good. Along the way, she’ll discover more family secrets, and a mysterious boy who could be vital to setting her mother free… or the key to Hope’s undoing.

The settings for Into the Dim are lush and exciting, and the story itself is so engaging. As a massive fan of time travel (pretty much by way of Outlander and Dr. Who) and history, I was thrilled to see a YA capitalize on them both. Unlike many sci-fi novels, there aren’t any glaring plot holes. The manner of time travel is easily explained and the conflict is complex but not unbelievable. I loved the characters, although I’m really hoping that the next book delves more into the Viators and the Timeslippers – I feel like we haven’t yet had enough time with all the characters!

Into the Dim kindle cover

I loved Hope, she is a great YA main character. She has this amazing photographic memory, which is counterbalanced by her serious phobias like anxiety and claustrophobia. I love that despite her various issues, Hope is never really weakened by them, she doesn’t engage in any sluggish self-pity. Despite her crippling anxiety she handles her situation rather well. Going along this journey from Hope’s perspective was a joy, she’s the kind of character that you definitely look forward to hearing more from.

I do wish that the book was longer – I know it’s 432 pages, but it felt like it went by so fast! Also, I wasn’t thrilled with the ending which felt rather rushed. I know everyone hates a cliff-hanger, but they’re a necessary evil. They leave you reconsidering everything you just read and wanting more, and I don’t really feel like there was a serious “gasp! Until next time…” kind of ending. That being said, I loved Outlander and I love that Diana Gabaldon gave this book her stamp of approval, one drawback about Outlander for me is that I wouldn’t share it with my younger sister because it has so many intense mature themes. However, Into the Dim allows me to share the world of time travel and history because it’s written for that young adult audience and I know my sister will get hooked because with a story like this – brimming with adventure, history, time travel, and romance – how could you not? It’s just so utterly engrossing and wonderfully told.

Into the Dim by Janet Taylor

All in all (wow, I feel like I haven’t written that phrase since my senior thesis), Into the Dim is an exciting YA novel not just because it’s amazingly written but also because it’s a great way to introduce younger readers into the world of time travel and history, and I cannot wait to see what else Janet B. Taylor has up her sleeve! The book is anticipated to hit shelves on March 1st 2016 – make sure you get your hands on a copy!

Preorder Into the Dim for your kindle here.

Title: Into the Dim
Author: Janet B. Taylor
Pages: 432
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Adventure
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers

*I received a digital copy for review via NetGalley, find more of my reviews and talk books with me on goodreads!

What’s On My Kindle: Cinder – Book One of the Lunar Chronicles

I had heard so many good things about Cinder on blogs and vlogs that naturally I chose it as my form of procrastination the week before finals (yep, shudder in yer boots – finals). Unfortunately I just couldn’t get into the beginning. I don’t know if I was restless from doing so much academic reading, but try as I might I couldn’t connect with the story. I normally am not a massive sci-fi fan – aside from Dr.Who – aliens and robots don’t appeal to me as a reader (or viewer). But finally, finally, the week after the finals I sort of fell into it and I couldn’t put it down.

Cinder-Lunar-Chronicles-Review

Basically, Cinder, which is book #1 of the Lunar Chronicles, is about Linh Cinder – a female cyborg mechanic who can boast both an evil stepmother and stepsister (the other sister is meant to be good). There’s also a prince, an evil queen, and an old pumpkin car waiting to become an enchanted mode of transportation. Well, sort of. Here’s the Goodread’s synopsis:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Doesn’t that sound like a good read?! Alright, I actually didn’t think much of the blurb either – but there were so many reviews saying that the book was great that I just had to read it. It’s like peer pressure for book lovers.

Cinder

Anyways, Cinder takes off towards the middle of the book – and there is a certain part where you realize who Cinder is – which is way before she figures it out – and then everything following that will basically have you on the edge of your seat because suddenly everything gets way more intense. As for Cinder herself, as a character I thought she was alright. She has the basics for a great female character – she’s sarcastic, feisty, even a little comedic but she’s also really slow on the uptake and really self-deprecating, which is great for who and where she is during this book but boy am I ready to see who she matures into for the following books (Scarlet, Cress, and Winter).

As a leading male character, I was not overly thrilled with Prince Kai. But to be fair we haven’t really had time to see him develop as a character. I felt like he gave in to Levana so easily, and after being so promising at the beginning of the story he just seemed to quit too fast towards the end. I know, I know, he’s in a no-win situation but I feel like I’d have to side with Captain Kirk on this one – I just don’t believe in a no-win situation. Queen Levana makes all evil stepmothers (including Cinder’s) pale in comparison – she’s cruel, evil, plays terrible mind games, and is pretty much just the Dolores Umbridge of the story. The story ends sort of on a frustrating cliff-hanger – and trust me, it’s not at all like the classic fairy tale (in a good way!).

All in all, I can’t wait to read the next books in the series. I don’t think I’ll pick up the next two until the third one comes out – I’m the sort who prefers to have them all in hand rather than having to wait. If I had to star this, I’d give it 3.75 stars – if you like fantasy or sci-fi then you will love this one!

Pick it up from Amazon for your Kindle here!

Title: Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles
Author: Marissa Meyer
Pages: 448 pages
Genre: Fiction, YA – Teen, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Publisher: Macmillan Publishers, Square Fish