Sparks of Light

Written by Janet B. Taylor
Review by Sara Dahmen

In this sequel to her acclaimed Into the Dim, Janet B. Taylor brings the cast of delightfully human and completely accessible characters to life once more. Set both in current-day Scotland and 1895 New York, teenaged Hope Walton’s story picks up a month after her first foray into time traveling with her newly found family and friends. Now part of the Viators, Hope has learned the ropes of zipping through the past thanks to Nikola Tesla’s inventions, but that doesn’t keep her sense of wonder from overcoming her each time she zooms backwards. Using information from her boyfriend, who belongs to a competing group of time travelers, Hope’s Viators must go back to save Tesla himself, as well as his dangerous inventions. However, 1895 has its own dangers, and Hope finds herself in the nearly impossible situation of an insane asylum and facing the demons of her past time traveling before she can contemplate the true nature of her mission.

Throughout the twists and turns of Sparks of Light, Taylor does not lose the reader in the handful of flashbacks to the past or to the previous novel, making it completely possible for one to pick this book up without reading the first, which is a huge feat of accomplishment. Each character is well-drawn, relatable, and flawed, and Taylor does not shy from truth, tragedy, or loss in this engrossing YA novel. Offering choice bits of 1895 society and history interwoven with the coolness of time travel and the teenage angst remembered by all, this series promises humor, horror, and excellent pacing in one well-worded binding.