Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor
I received a free copy of Into the Dim from the publisher in return for an honest review.
The premise of Into the Dim really intrigued me. It's claimed to be the Outlander of the YA genre. A time travel story set in Scotland. It has to be good, right?
I had high hopes for this one but in the end I was both disappointed and frustrated. I really enjoy time travel stories and that aspect of Into the Dim was OK, not great but not overly bad either. The way the stories interweave and jump back and forth was for the most part done well and not hard to follow. Where I did have huge problems was with the whole set in Scotland part. I'm Scottish born and bred, I've lived in Scotland my whole life so perhaps I'm harder to please when it comes to the dialect etc but I found the dialect and portrayal of the Scots in this book to be way off the mark. The Scots dialect got me more and more annoyed the further I read. You don't want to know how many pages of highlights I have marked!
Apparently being Scottish means we either talk like Yoda: "It's happy we are to finally have you here." "But I'm knowing one thing for certain." "And it's pleased we are to have you here." Or use the word "bloody" all the time in our conversations: bloody cold, bloody brilliant, bloody queen, bloody big emerald, bloody amazing, bloody bizarre, bloody wanker, bloody damn, the list goes on. That's more an English thing than a Scottish thing, and even then it's way over used here. And don't even get me started on the "Cheese an' crackers!" or "How in the name of Mary and Bride.." and "Hill of beans." Don't know where the heck the author found those. In the name of the wee man, yes, but in the name of Mary and bride?
Add to that the over use of pure: pure sorry, pure furious, pure tired, pure unusual. The only Scot you'll hear saying "pure" anything are wee neds from Glasgow. And baked beans for breakfast. It's the norm? Perhaps with the occasional full Scots breakfast fry up and certainly not with a fried egg and jam piece. Boke! We have the same as everyone else, you know cereal, toast, fruit and often porridge. And it's clootie dumpling here in Scotland, not spotted dick.
The language in general just didn't work for me. The characters go back in time and just magically understand the dialects and nuances of the people of that time. They don't stand out despite the fact that they don't adapt their language to that of the times. There's a lot of little things like the use of "Okay" in the dialogue in the year 1145. Okay wasn't in use until 1840 and not well known and used commonly until the 1880's.
(Few Americanisms have been more successful than OK, which survived the political campaign of 1840 that fostered it, quickly lost its political significance, and went on to develop use as a verb, adverb, noun, and interjection. The expression was well known in England by the 1880s. - Dictionary.com)
A character traveling back in time using the word "Okay" would stand out and draw attention to themselves but here it's just brushed over.
Authors if you are going to set your story in another country, using a dialect you are not familiar with, please do proper research. Ask someone who lives there and uses the dialect for advice or find a beta reader who is also familiar with it. The Scots in this book is awful, it's like a cross between Outlander (exaggerated and outdated), Rab C Nesbitt, gibberish and English slang.
I cannot stress enough the importance of research, it would have made a world of difference here. Instead it seems like the author has taken silly stereotypes and ran with it, then thrown in a little Yoda for the hell of it.
Not one I would recommend.
Reviews also posted to my blog: Scarlet's Web
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