4.25 / 5 stars
Series: Timekeeper #1
Author: Tara Sim
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: Magical Realism/Steampunk
Release Date: 8th Nov 2016
A summary (courtesy of the all-knowing GoodReads):
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.
My spoiler free thoughts on this enchanting tale of time and love:
Timekeeper is a steampunk set in Victorian London, but with some very unique elements. It doesn’t feel like a traditional steampunk, as it has more advanced technology, and mythology mixed in. The mythology adds a unique element to the story, with clock towers controlling time. Not only is time described as a tangible, real thing, we explore the history of the towers as the book goes on.
The plot was extremely well-developed, and moved along at a fast-enough pace to keep me interested the entire way through. The mini-plot twists throughout, along with the main twist in the story, definitely surprised me, and I enjoyed seeing the story play out. The mystery regarding the exploding clock towers is carried through the entire book, nd I was delighted with how it was resolved.
Um, in case you hadn’t realised, this book features an LGBT relationship. And I LOVED IT. There was no instalove, no love triangles, no cheesy crap. Just a pair of gorgeous guys who happen to fall in love, with all the usual accompaniments; jealousy, kissing, getting to know eachother, etc. I adored the romance and thought that there was just enough of it to be fun, but it didn’t take centre stage.
Despite a few slow/repetitive scenes throughout, it was a fast-paced, one-sitting read, and I am definitely interested in picking up the sequel. Every character in this book was well-developed, with detailed backstories and complex relationships with other people in the story. Danny is depressed, but we see the reasoning behind it, and we explore his relationships as the story progresses. Thankfully this alternate Victorian London is more accepting of gays, and I enjoyed seeing some of the female characters also kick expectations to the curb.
All in all, this was a fun yet thought-provoking read, with a wonderfully developed gay romance and adorable, lovable characters. What a wonderful debut.
In a nutshell: