Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Timekeeper by Tara SimTimekeeper by Tara Sim
Narrator: Gary Furlong
Series: Timekeeper #1
Published by Sky Pony Press
Published on 8 November 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Source: my local library
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RRP: $17.99
5 Stars

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.

Timekeeper by Tara Sim is an imaginative, original, alternate history steampunk set in London in the late 1800s, and it’s about time. Specifically, magical clocks that control time, and when they go out of whack, they affect the time around them as well.

I can’t get over how much I loved this book. I was continually impressed with the worldbuilding, the history, the characterisation, the characters, and the plot. I was blown away by the premise of clocks controlling time, which in this world, is not done by magic, but by clockwork, and which are maintained by qualified mechanics.

Danny Hart is the youngest clock mechanic, a gifted lad who can not only repair any clock, but also feel the fabric of time. When he is assigned to Enfield’s clock tower, he meets a mysterious boy who turns out to be the clock tower’s spirit. Together they set out to right a terrible wrong done to a town called Maldon, whose clock broke and Stopped time, cutting its inhabitants off from a world that continues to move forward around them.

I loved everything about this book. I loved Danny, the somewhat shy but competent clock mechanic with a genuine love of clocks and time, who falls into forbidden love with Colton, the Enfield town’s resident clock spirit. I loved the very concept of the clock spirit, an immortal, unseen (mostly) entity who lives (mostly) alone, keeping time for a town but also affecting it, and in Colton’s case, feeling terribly lonely, enough to act up (re – self harm) and trigger the need for a mechanic to attend and repair the issue. In the end, I didn’t really like Colton himself very much, because he’s not human, and he can’t possibly understand Danny’s responsibilities, and he threw tantrums and hurt himself to get Dann’s attention. Their relationship is a bit weird, too. Colton is so innocent and naïve, but much, much older than Danny, and bolder as well. I felt that Colton was a bit infantilised due to his ignorance of just about everything, and he was largely driven by his emotions. While this characterisation actually worked really well in the novel, it’s not really something that I personally enjoyed, just because Danny was also incredibly young and inexperienced, and somewhat naïve. Again, this is just my personal preference, and although it worked well in the novel, I didn’t really enjoy that aspect.

Everything else, though? Loved it. I loved the way the relationship with Colton was built, I loved Danny’s complicated relationship with his mother and several other characters, I loved Cassie, Danny’s automobile-loving tomboy bestie. I really enjoyed how the plot unfolded and I had a hard time figuring out the main mystery of the novel. Sometimes novels with a central mystery (such as murder mysteries) can be a whole lot of filler until the main character just happens to stumble across a clue to help them solve it, but I felt that this plot unfolded organically, and Danny had plenty of suspects to look further into, and he never just kind of accidentally stumbled across anything.  I thought all of the red herrings and foreshadowing was done really well. Also, I’m not particularly into clocks or mechanical things, but I absolutely loved the worldbuilding around these timekeeping clocks: the history, the fable, the clock spirits, the mechanics and their connection to time, and the central conflict of broken clocks Stopping time. I just thought it was so original and imaginative.

The audiobook narrator was also very good. He was good at changing accents, and although he didn’t change his tone dramatically for male/female characters, I could quite easily follow which characters were speaking.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Timekeeper, and I’m diving straight into the next book in the series, Chainbreaker.


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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