Book II of 'Into The Dim' series
For 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.
In this sequel to the dazzling time-travel romance Into the Dim, sacrifice takes on a whole new meaning as Hope and Bran struggle to determine where—or when—they truly belong.
CARRIE on GoodReads wrote:
Sparks of Light—the darker and more serious sequel to Into the Dim—was simultaneously adventurous, calamitous, and tragic. This time around, the Viators are traveling to New York City during The Gilded Age, (which was somehow less fun than England in the Middle Ages. Imagine that? xD) and significantly more ominous. As with the first installment, I adored how Taylor intertwined real history into the plot. Her interpretation of real historical characters—as well as their backstories—was incredible.
Janet B. Taylor bravely and fiercely tackles many of the societal hardships of the time in a heart-wrenching and realistic manner. Though I did miss some of the lighter and more romantic aspects that were in book one, following Hope on her journey to becoming a full member of the Viators was marvelous. Overall, this was a fantastic, somber, and tumultuous sequel that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I only hope that there will be a happy ending for these wonderful characters in the conclusion to this trilogy.
1) I loved all of the historical details and elements in Sparks of Light. Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Conseulo Vanderbilt, and many more real historical figures are fantastically brought to life in this thrilling sequel. Taylor absolutely did her research on these people and wrapped their stories effortlessly into this masterful, time-traveling novel. For me, one of the most important key factors that mark a truly great historical fiction novel is that it should make you want to learn more about the real aspects featured in the book, and Sparks of Light was definitely successful in inspiring those feelings in me.
2) I knew that Taylor was amazing at fun and action-filled scenes, but in this book, we see a totally different, darker side to her writing style. She explores what mental facilities were like in the late 1800s, and it's intensely descriptive and eye-opening (FYI, this is a really bad pun, and when you read this book . . . you will not thank me for it, haha). Due to all the psych classes I took back in college, I already knew about all of these disturbing details, but Taylor was able to bring these horrors to life. I was immensely impressed and terrified—all at the same time!
3) While the first book highlighted some Scottish culture, Sparks of Light showcased more of the Highlander lifestyle. Thanks to Into the Dim and Outlander, I have a newfound appreciation for Scotland, it's history, and it's culture, so I utterly enjoyed seeing more of these facets in this story.
4) One of my favorite things about Into the Dim are the female characters, and that is still true for the sequel. People constantly call for "strong female characters" but Taylor has all kinds of women in her stories. Some are strong, some are vulnerable, some are spunky, sassy, quiet—you name it—and there are female characters with some or all of these traits. I like that message, because there isn't just one way to be strong, as strength comes in many forms. We, as a society, need all kinds of depictions of female strength, and in Janet B. Taylor's books, that is never in short supply.
5) While I am the biggest scaredy-cat in the world, the creepy details in in this book were on par with books like The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin and The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd. There is even a section in Sparks of Light about some of the horrors that occurred in women's mental institutions in the late 19th century that reminded me a lot of The Changeling movie—in the very best way! Describing different types of stomach-churning details could easily be written to sound cheesy or unrealistic, but Janet absolutely nails it by sincerely bringing some of my worst historical fears to fruition. It was brilliantly executed, and truly frightening.
Sparks of Light is the second book in the Into the Dim series by Janet B. Taylor. In the first book of the series we met Hope Walton as she was attending her mother's memorial held about eight months after it was believed that her mother had been a victim in an earthquake while traveling overseas. After the service for her mother Hope received an invitation from her mother's sister to come for a visit while her father travels. Not wanting to be left with her grandmother that had never accepted Hope into her family since Hope was adopted, she battled her anxiety and boarded a plane to meet her mother's family.
When Hope arrived at her mysterious aunt's home she is told that her aunt had to leave for a few days. Hope is full of questions, especially when it's let slip that her mother had been there right before her supposed death but no one was answering Hope's inquiries until she stumbles upon some strange artifacts and costumes beneath the manor. Only after Hope's discovery did her newly acquired family let Hope in on their secrets. They are a group of time travelers and her mother had been trapped in twelfth century England, left by another group of time travelers who had been in somewhat of a feud with Hope's family.
Sparks of Light picks up Hope's story a couple of months after the end of the first book in the series. Hope and her family have returned to the present time and are trying to regroup and figure out what their next step needs to be. Meeting up with the person spying on their enemy they find out about plans in the making for the other time travelers to steal a dangerous device from the inventor Nikola Tesla. Another adventure awaits the group as they will need to also travel back to the same time and stop the device from being stolen or the future could be in danger.
This series is one that for me the more I read the more I love what the author has come up with as far as the world and characters as the story develops. Starting off the series I was a tad worried if I would like it or not but everything has just grown on me so much. Hope was a character that was plagued with a slew of anxieties and phobias and had been home schooled and protected but she has grown so much during the two books. The other characters are also a mix of strong and quirky and fun to follow.
For the history buffs the time traveling aspect of the books leads readers to explore different times and places and I'm certainly looking forward to seeing where the next book takes us. This time the book included one of my absolutely least favorite settings in the story when the group traveled back but after the first few cringes I ended up understanding where the author was taking us and found that it was done in a way that I still enjoyed the action this provided for the story.
When finished with this second installment I'd rate it at 4.5 stars and would recommend any fan of young adult sci-fi fantasy type of books to give this series a try although I do suggest starting at the beginning of the series.