We got the opportunity to ask Into the Dim author, Janet B. Taylor, a question as part of her blog tour:
In the wave of books centered around strong, young female characters, what sets yours apart? And why? What do you want the readers to take away from her experiences?
It’s precisely because so many YA books feature strong, kick-ass heroines that I knew—from the very beginning—that my main character would not be like that.
How many of us are trained warriors? Or have special abilities that make us fearless killers? Not many. (Or at least I hope there’s not many teen warrior-assassins out there!)
I wanted Hope to be the kind of character the reader could relate to. That they could sympathize with, and even see their own weaknesses in her. I mean, sure, Hope is wicked-smart. And she actually does possess a sort-of “super-power,” with her eidetic memory. And it does help get her out of trouble from time to time.
But as far as being a warrior… The only way Hope might knock someone down, is if she happens to trip over her own skirts and fall over on them. At the beginning of the book, Hope is just a mess. But what I’d like to see the reader take away is how much she grows during her journey. As afraid as she is of just about everything, she forces herself to face those fears, doing what she has to do when it comes to saving her mom. And if someone as damaged as Hope is can do that anyone can!!
Following the death of her mother, Hope Walton –a sixteen year old with an eidetic memory– is sent by her father to Scotland to stay with her aunt and recover from the loss.
During her stay she learns that not only is her mother still alive, but she’s a time traveler who has been assigned with maintaining the inviolability of the time line, which is under threat from a rival group of travelers.
The real strength of Into the Dim lies in Taylor’s eye for detail and her knack for world-building. She creates wonderful realms that draw the reader in and shifts between the periods with aplomb.
The vast majority of the characterizations are excellent, most notably Eleanor of Aquitaine, who is spectacularly drawn. Hope herself feels a bit inconsistent, and will likely rub some readers the wrong way, but should those readers stick with Into the Dim, they’ll be rewarded with something worthwhile.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle Into the Dim faces is the publisher’s insistence on marketing it as a young adult answer to Diana Gabaldon’s much-loved Outlander series, down to featuring a quote from Gabaldon on the front cover. While there are some surface similarities (both are time traveling stories, set partially in Scotland) the comparisons are largely very shallow.
Into the Dim is its own thing, and while it might not be for everybody, those who love polished and complex historical drama with a sci-fi twist will be well-rewarded.