Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Sparks of Light

Author: Janet B Taylor
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Teen
Series: #2 in the Into the Dim series
Type: e-book (PDF)
Source: NetGalley
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers
First Published: August 1, 2017
First Line: "Decapitation."

Book Description from GoodReadsFor the first time in her life, Hope Walton has friends . . . and a (maybe) boyfriend. She’s a Viator, a member of a long line of time-traveling ancestors. When the Viators learn of a plan to steal a dangerous device from the inventor Nikola Tesla, only a race into the past can save the natural timeline from utter destruction. Navigating the glitterati of The Gilded Age in 1895 New York City, Hope and her crew will discover that high society can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

My Rating: 4 stars

My Review: I have read Into the Dim twice (so far) and loved it both times. In this second book of the series, Taylor brings her readers back to the amazing world she created which includes time travel, historical settings and a diverse cast of characters.  

Sparks of Light picks up two months after Into the Dim and I liked that things weren't all rosy for Hope and her friends after returning to present-day Scotland. They had lived through hell and the repercussions were believable and, for some, long lasting. 

With the threat of Celia still lurking, the group is sent to late 18th century New York City to destroy a device invented by none other than Nikola Tesla. While I was slightly less captivated by this setting (compared to 12th century England in Into the Dim), this book is a solid follow-up that gives readers quite a ride. Taylor continues to weave historical elements and people into her plot seamlessly and while the book starts off slow she ramps up the pace with some edge-of-your-seat scenes. The plot has a much darker feel, is sprinkled with twists and focuses on big issues that influenced late 19th century New York - specifically racism, homophobia and the often horrific and gruesome treatment of people with mental health issues. 

I'm always on the lookout for strong, interesting, well-rounded female characters and Taylor provides a group of women with a wide range of appeal - from the sassy, to the learned, to the loving, to the take charge kind of gal, Taylor shows that female strength comes in many shapes, sizes and personalities. The secondary characters continue to shine and add much to the plot and overall feel. I love Phee, Collum, Doug, Moira and Mac but, truthfully, Bran and Hope seemed to lose some of their luster in this book. Readers get more information about their shared past but the jumping back and forth between present and past interrupted the flow of the main plot and didn't add much insight.

There continues to be an element of romance but I liked that it doesn't overpower the plot. Is it odd that I'm not a fan of the Hope/Bran pairing? Perhaps. But, for a couple in love they haven't spent a lot of time together and it seemed that more page time was spent with Hope's friends telling her how much Bran loved her instead of showing the readers their bond. Truth be told, I still want to see Hope with another Viator.

Readers are left with a slightly abrupt ending as well as a few unanswered questions that will make them eager to read the third book in the series. I strongly recommend reading these books in order. Overall, a great follow-up to a series that I regularly recommend to my library patrons, friends and family.

Note: This book has one of the most intriguing and funny beginnings that I can remember reading. You got me, Janet B Taylor.  You totally got me!

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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