Author: Tara Sim
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Rating: ★★★★★/ 5 Stars
Genre: Fantasy, Steampunk, YA, M/M Romance
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.
“You’re everything. You’re … You’re chaos and order and everything in between. Like sunshine kept back by clouds. Like the entire world’s imploded inside you, but all I see are the stars are sewn into your skin. You’re filled with soft, dark music.”
I went into Timekeeper knowing very few things. That:
(1) there is a m/m romance in the center
(2) the love interest is brown
(3) Daphne is beloved by all
(4) Becky Albertalli and my wife Leah really love this book!
But when I came to write this review, I did the usual of copying the blurb from Goodreads and you can imagine my surprise. The ingenious theories I was spewing left and right to Leah on Whatsapp were revealed in the blurb! And here I thought I was oh so smart for figuring out that Colton (the Love Interest) was the clock tower’s spirit! I won’t let that get to me; I still believe I was smart enough to figure it out on my own since I didn’t read the blurb.
This book has a very interesting setting which many would call steam punk. The technology introduced in the book was very easy to imagine which made the book’s genre of fantasy very easy and quite likable to get into. I especially liked the description of the towers. Something felt so magical and almost holy about them considering their origin. Speaking of, I really liked the myth Sim created in order to create the towers. I found the story of the four children who controlled Time, Ocean, Sky and Earth quite interesting and wanted to see more of them. I think a visual creation of their description would prove to be immensely grand.
Onto our main character: Danny Hart. I see the play on word. If anything, Danny has heart. He’s got a lot of it. He’s a bit of an outsider in the beginning of Timekeeper and it’s understandable since he’s recovering from an incident that left him suffering from PTSD as well as how being a very young mechanic left him very alienated by his peers. There is also one little thing: his father’s suspension in the Stopped time of Maldon that makes Danny’s heart the heaviest. Danny is a very likable character despite many people who don’t really find him likable, well, it’s their loss. He’s very caring and loving of his friend Cassie as well as of Colton whom he fights his own feelings for very hard. Danny tries his best to do the best for everyone which might not be what would make him happiest, making him somewhat of a martyr. I didn’t have one moment of boredom reading Danny’s point of view.
Another thing I enjoyed a lot was the discussion of Danny’s sexuality. He was weary of his mother not quite accepting him, and there was some homophobia directed at him by other nasty characters. Sim gracefully addresses this. I whooped at how openly he looked at other men and found them attractive. It was refreshing to read a gay boy who is set in the nineteenth century that does not have internalized hate due to his sexuality.
He was a boy of air and dust and sunlight. Everything that had gone into the making of the world.
Onto Colton. The sunshine in the dreariest of days. I found Colton to be the loveliest boy ever. He was as curious as a child but he had his very profound moments where his own kindness and sacrifice touched Danny’s heart. I’d like to point out that Colton’s coloring is described as brown skin with ember eyes and blond hair, yet I’ve seen some people on Tumblr fancast him using white models with blond hair… How in hell is that logical? Can’t y’all leave our brown love interests in peace?
The book isn’t devoid of an excellent cast of minor characters who play quite a role in Danny’s story. Let’s start with his mother and the complex relationship they have. Danny and his mother both share the burden of missing his father very much to the level where they are estranged from each other. It was sad to read but again: Sim gave them a great scene in which they resolved so much pent up sadness.
Her mother had once said Daphne liked clocks more than she liked people. Daphne had never argued the point.
Then there is Daphne who indeed is a badass and I don’t blame the fandom for eating out of her hand. Daphne has to deal with her own dysfunctional family so she’s not very happy to be dragged into other people’s messes but she’s the reluctant heroine we all love to love. She’s got guts and I love her for it. She’s also described as being biracial (half Indian) and that representation is #Ownvoices.
Last minor character I really loved is Cassie. Cassie is so pure and lovely, I can’t wait to read more of her. I wish her all the best. She’s our mechanic who’s closer than blood to Danny. She’s also gutsy but without her own share of grief. Whenever Cassie was mentioned I just smiled because I was sure she’d give Danny immense support and comfort. She was a perfect friend/sister.
All in all, the pacing is excellent and Timekeeper delivers on the cute romance front, along with excellent description that would make the scenes ever so vivid in your mind, with a hint of interesting little twist in the end that’ll get you clutching your heart in anticipation. I’m quite ready to read Chainbreaker and squeal some more over my children.
The spirit stared at Danny’s chin again.
Colton touched his thumb to the scar, following the slant of it. “I wish I could heal it for you.”
“You are.” At Colton’s confused look, he explained, “Time heals scars.”
Timekeeper is the first book in my initiative to read books with mainly queer characters in the month of June in support of Pride. I have another review of yet another book coming up!
Have you read Timekeeper? If yes, how much would you pay for an arc of Chainbreaker as soon as it materializes?
About the Author