By: Tara Sim
Expected Publication Date: November 8, 2016 by Sky Pony Press
Format: eARC courtesy of NetGalley
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Steampunk, Historical Fiction, Historical Fantasy
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In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.
It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.
And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.
But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.
I was in the middle of a book when I got Timekeeper, but I decided to read the first page just to see what it was like. However, by the end of the first sentence, I was captivated.
“Two o’clock was missing.”
That one sentence alone set off so many questions in my head – Was the actual hour missing? Was it just the number on a clock face? Was it both – that I dropped everything and kept reading.
In the world of Timekeeper, clock towers must run properly in order for time to go on. If a clock tower breaks, time in the surrounding area Stops and the inhabitants are stuck in a loop, which is what happened to the main character’s father. The main character, Danny Hart, is a clock mechanic who’s afraid of clocks after a bomb went off in a clock tower he was fixing. His first assignment after being released from the hospital is in Enfield, where he meets an apprentice who manages to ease his nerves. However, that apprentice ends up not being what Danny thinks – the “apprentice” is actually the clock spirit of the clock tower in Enfield, named Colton. Meanwhile, a new tower is being constructed near the Stopped town in which Danny’s father is stuck in the hopes that it will restart time. However, when a series of bombings targeting clock towers occur, Danny is worried about the safety of both Colton and his father and must discover who is behind the bombings in an attempt to save them both.
I loved the relationship that developed between Danny and Colton. They were adorable and added the perfect amount of romance to Timekeeper – enough to be significant, without overshadowing the main plot.
The mythology and world created by Tara Sim in Timekeeper was fascinating. In Danny’s world, legend says that Chronos, the Greek god of time, delegated the power of timekeeping to his son, Aetas, a god created by Sim. Throughout the book are a number of stories about Aetas. These stories recount how his handling of time led to the necessity of Timekeepers, like Danny, to maintain clock towers in order to stop time from fraying. I really loved how Sim connected familiar Greek mythology to the original mythology in Danny’s world.
The steampunk element of the book was very subtle. Sure, there were steam-powered autos, airships, and telephones in Victorian England, but those things weren’t the focus of the book; they are almost incidental. So, even readers who aren’t necessarily fans of steampunk will enjoy this book.
I didn’t give the book five stars, because it did get a bit too sappy for me at times and the ending felt kind of deus ex machina-y. However, all in all Timekeeper was a wonderful book that I found to be both heartwarming and, at times, heartbreaking. It was a very promising start to a new series, and I cannot wait until the sequel comes out, so I can return to the world Sim created.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.