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.
When the “thees,” “thous” and “wherefores” sprang naturally from my lips, I felt a pang of gratitude for my mother’s insistence that I master all those archaic languages.
What’s with all the time travel books lately? Is it because of the popularity of Outlander? Is time travel the new vampire or something? It’s a tough subject around which to write a book, and it can go wrong in many ways. This book is an example of how time travel can be fucked up.
To be clear, I do not expect this book to be anywhere close to Outlander. This is YA and concession has to be made for the writing and the complexity (or lack thereof). But again, I emphasize, just because a book is YA does not give it permission to be shitty; that is condescencing towards the YA audience.
You want time travel? Hold on to your seats and grab a few cups of tea, or rather, a few espresso shots. Because you’re going to need the caffeine so, so badly. It takes a long ass time to even get to the rollicking time-travel aspect, and before that, you get to hear the main character freak out, slut-shame, fall into infatuation, and learn about the minutiaes of time travel. For a good third of the book. God help me, I was so bored.
The main character is a stupid twit. I didn’t like her. She’s aspecial snowflake if there ever was one.
“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.”
Whoo! Whooooo! So special! So special that she can do ALL THE THINGS that more experienced, more knowledgeable, more well-trained adults can’t. And she was born with it.
Born with it? Maybe it’s Maybelline. Maybe it’s bullshit. I hate the whole born-with-it crap.
Not only is she so smart and special, but she’s beautiful without knowing it. Give me a fucking break.
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.”
Pretty? Me? Yeah. Sure.
Seriously, I’m so sick of the whole pretty-without-knowing-it bullshit.
And then there’s the condescension and the slut-shaming.For someone who’s so average and normal, our main character sure hates other girls, you know, the pop-culture-loving, fashionable average Janes whom she deem all to be without a brain in her head. And then there’s this little comment that made me see red.
“But then again, I’m not one of those slutty St. Sebastian girls.”
The time travel aspect is ludicrous. The concept of it was so confusing and boring I can’t even explain it to you if my life depended on it. It’s also fucking simplistic. Girl, you can’t just travel back 1000 years in time and magically understand the language. We sound way fucking different now as we did 100 years ago. 1000 years? You wouldn’t even recognize English as it was. People sure as hell didn’t talk like this.
“I pray on catchin’ a glimpse o’ the new queen,” the wife said. “Do ye know, we hear she went on Crusade with her first husband, that Frenchie king.” Her voice lowered. “They say she rode with her tatties on full display to entertain the troops.”
The time travel aspect was absurd, to say the least. This is not a book worth reading.
All quotes were taken from an advanced reader copy and subject to change in the final edition.