on November 8th 2016
Two o’clock was missing.
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.
The stunning first novel in a new trilogy by debut author Tara Sim, Timekeeper is perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Victoria Schwab.
I really love Timekeeper. I love it so much that I ended up buying the hardback as well as the ebook, and I’ve just gone and preordered the audiobook (which comes out on the 14th Feb 2017, which makes it the perfect treat for Valentine’s Day in my humble opinion).
If I had to sell this book in a few words, I would say: Forbidden love. Time personified. Steampunk Victorian London.
With the overhanging threat of bombs and the stoppage of time itself, characters are pressured into making hard decisions where many answers are a tad morally grey. There are big, emotive questions asked of the characters like: How much is your love for someone worth? Is it worth more than other people’s lives?
Underlying all of this is a fairytale like story about gods and time. Timekeeper is mostly based in an alternate version of Victorian England where clock towers very literally control time. If one stops, then the area it covers gets stuck in time too. The clocks are linked back to an old belief in a god, a child of Chronos, who was in charge of time itself. We get some of this story throughout Timekeeper. I love the whole concept of these clock towers and I hope we get to learn a lot more about their origins in later books in the series. The clock towers are perfect for really driving home the steampunk vibe of the whole story.
There are dedicated clock mechanics who regularly work on maintaining and repairing the clock towers. One such mechanic is Danny, our main character. He has just returned to work after a terrifying incident involving clockwork exploding while he was working on it, which brought him very close to being stopped in time himself. This experience jars him on multiple levels. Alongside this traumatic recent experience, Danny is weighted down by the perceptions others have of him as ‘too young’ to be respected as a fully-fledged clock mechanic in his own right. He’s good at what he does and works damn hard to make people see him as good enough for a particularly important upcoming assignment.
Danny is such a loveable character. At times he’s a hot pot of raw emotions and I really felt for him. Danny’s frustration and the emotional weight of his situation were really well developed throughout the novel.
The supporting cast are also pretty brilliant and Sim gives them the page space needed to make them interesting in their own right, aside from the ways they interact with Danny. Notable examples include Danny’s best friend Cassie, a gifted car mechanic who takes safety very seriously and personally. As well as Daphne, a motorcycle riding and fellow young clock mechanic. She’s a lightly antagonistic acquaintance of Danny’s for totally legitimate reasons. In short, some very cool female characters who are amazing at their chosen career paths.
The core romantic relationship in this novel is between Colton and Danny. The way it develops is so gorgeous. They bond over stories and time. Both of their worlds are opened up and expanded because they act on the chance to open the door to each other. The love story aspect of this novel balanced and combined with the bomb mystery plot thread beautifully.
There’s two love stories in this novel that mirror each other in some ways but the one rooted in the past informs the outcome of the one taking shape in the present. The notion of the circularity of history, but also the chance to learn from the past, are my favourite topics in time themed stories. I love that they come up here.
Timekeeper has great characters, interesting world building, a sweet romance and a twisting plot. I really don’t think I could ask for it to deliver anything more than it already does. This was a wonderful read and now I absolutely cannot wait to read the sequel when it comes out later this year. Tara Sim is now an auto-buy author for me.