Author: Tara Sim
Publication Date: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
“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 world building takes a minute to understand, but once everything clicks you can appreciate just how clever this world that Sim created is. A slightly advanced industrial revolution means that not only do our characters have automobiles, phones, and other more steampunk additions, but they experience the societal changes of the movement as well. In Timekeeper’s England, homosexuality is no longer illegal, and women make up an increasing percentage of the work force. On top of that, time is a real, physical thing in this book. Tied into an original mythology, there are people who literally feel the strands of time and work on them via clocks. These mechanics, including Danny, are charged with maintaining time and avoiding catastrophes, such as a town being Stopped in time.
As you can imagine, the premise and world building are pretty phenomenal. While I usually don’t enjoy steampunk novels, Timekeeper had just enough of those elements to keep things interesting without overwhelming the main focus of the story. I really loved the mythology around time that Sim created, and the entire idea of these clock towers and their spirits. This book feels so incredibly magical at times, and there is a sense of wonder embedded within the cogs and mechanical parts. The relationship between Danny and Colton was one of the sweetest romances that I’ve come across this year, and it does not fall into any cliché traps like instalove.
If this book does fall short, it’s perhaps in the character development. Everyone felt a bit one-dimensional, and played into clearly defined roles. I’d like to see these character arcs further developed and expanded in the rest of the series. That being said, this was an incredibly enjoyable read.
Sometimes you read exactly the right book at the right time, and that perfect alignment definitely happened when I picked up Timekeeper. I love that this is a story about time, but not time travel. There have been so many YA time travel novels published over the past couple years, and none of them worked for me. Timekeeper is such a fresh, unique story, and I highly recommend it. I can’t wait to see what Tara Sim has in store for us next.
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ stars
*I received an eARC of this from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest review.