Too Bad It’s Dim: Into the Dim by Janet B Taylor

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.

Source: GoodReads

There are so many Outlander plugs for this book it’s sort of hilarious.  Especially when after you read the book and are like book is nothing like Outlander.

Save for the brief Scotland setting and time travel aspect.

The book was NOT what I was expecting to say the least.  I was actually excited when I read that Eleanor of Acquitaine would be making an appearance.  I recently watched this excellent documentary on ACORN called She Wolves and one of the episodes discussed Eleanor.

Eleanor was bad ass.

In this book though…meh.  She’s barely even a significant character.  And Henry the II hardly seems as magnetic as he was described in She Wolves.

Bah.

That isn’t the worst thing about the book though.  What is the worst thing about the book is the main character.

Oh, Hope.

Ugh.

Much like Bella Swan, Hope is just very annoying in general.  She is one of those characters that is pretty much useless, but is told by everyone she’s not.

They’re like:

Oh, Hope, you’re so beautiful and special and it really just makes your eyes want to bleed.

Seriously, this is so 2006.

I am rambling, aren’t I?

At this point, the rambling is more or less because there is nothing to pick at about the Bella Swan “Special” heroine cliche.  It is more or less a big no no in YA.

Complicating matters is that neither Hope or her mother seem endearing.  At the beginning of the book we’re told that Hope was kept away from the neanderthals in her home town becuase she was “special” and her snooty mother home schooled her.

The way that Hope speaks with such disdain surrounding her other relatives astounds me.  There’s one point in the book she tells her father that he’s not her real dad because there’s not a biological between them and I’m like-come  on.

Though to be fair, her father’s a bit of a douche since he dumps her off with relatives she doesn’t know in a foreign country in order to go on a cruise with her new squeeze.

Has he ever seen Taken?

Obviously, not.  And so at this point in this review you’re probably like another YA book with horrible people what else is new.

Anyway, once the book moves to Scotland things start moving-well, not really.  We have a hundred pages of dribble of bad usage of dialect.

Seriously writers, unless your name is Mark Twain do not attempt to use dialect.

Fuck that.

I couldn’t even stand Twain’s writing because I hate dialect.  In fact, the only writer allowed to use dialect is JK Rowling when she’s writing Hagrid’s lines.

Anyone else, screw you.

One of the things I find really offensive about dialect is that it cheapens and generalizes a culture.  Here this exemplified.

I recently started watching a 90’s Scottish TV series called Hamish McBeth.  I can tell that no one in that show talks like the characters in Into the Dim.  Furthermore, adding thou and thus to make the English authentic sounding to medieval English is bull shit.

I can tell you that medieval English was completely different from the English that I am writing right now.  As part of my undergraduate degree I was required to take an early English literature class-Think Beowulf to Milton- and on the first day of class my professor delighted the class by reading parts of Beowulf out in old English (here’s a Youtube link of a reading if it if you’re interested).

Sounded like complete gibberish to me.

The Elizabethan  era is when modern day English really started to make its appearance.  This wasn’t until hundreds of years after Eleanor’s time period.   And anyone who has read Shakespeare knows that this is where all those “thus” and “thou” make an appearance.

So from a schematics perspective, the book failed.

It also failed when it came to the shitty love interest trope.

Any regular reader of this blog knows that I love to ship books.  But there was no way in hell that I could ship the ship in this book.  It was just blah beyond belief.  And just too convenient.   Honestly, the book would’ve been better without the ship with the boy with the weird colored eyes.

There were some things about this one, that might make the sequel interesting to pick up, but I really don’t know if I’m going to do it.  Besides horrible characters, use of dialect, and a boat load of YA cliches, the writing in general was really clunky.

Overall Rating: I’m thinking a C-.  There were some interesting things about Into the Dim, but it did not live up to expectations.  In fact, I really don’t think it was ready for prime time.  Hopefully, Taylor’s next installment in the series will be less clunky and won’t include five thousand mentions of the word lass.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Too Bad It’s Dim: Into the Dim by Janet B Taylor

    • Thanks for the link. Always great to check out new blogs. Yes, we do overlap on a lot issues on the book. I agree with your assessment that a younger reader might like it. I don’t think I would’ve been bothered by some of the historical inaccuracies if I had been younger. But the bad characterization sort of makes me shudder. It’s interesting I was reading a Q&A on the author’s website and she thought the character’s anxiety and whimpiness made her unique. Unfortunately, to me it made the book feel like standard YA fare.

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