ARC Review: Timekeeper

TimekeeperTimekeeper by Tara Sim
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Release date: November 8, 2016

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 is a fantastic love story set up in an alternate steampunk Victorian London, where time is controlled via clock-towers. The author has crafted a unique world and mythology around the idea that time is a force that is being utilized by these towers to keep things running, and Timekeepers are the caretakers of said clock-towers, and can sense the structure of time itself. Danny is one such Timekeeper who comes across a clock spirit when he goes out to repair one such clock-tower. He has been traumatized from an near-death accident in his past, and from the loss of his father, who is stuck in a town with a non-functioning clock-tower. When he meets the boy who is the clock spirit, he does not know how it will tie in to the bigger problem the Timekeepers are facing.

A key element of the story is the mythology itself – how the clock-towers and the spirits came to be. Once you get that, you realize how the spirits have been caged to the towers all their lives, never able to leave it. They yearn to be among humanity, but can never be. So, in this complicated scenario, it is very difficult to have a romantic relationship with a clock spirit. The forbidden nature has more to do with this fact than their genders, and yet Danny keeps risking his job to come visit his love, while also a little frustrated with his (the clock spirit) attempts to gain his attention by messing with the tower. It is cute at times, but a little unhealthy also – like one person keeping the other in a relationship with threats of bodily harm.

So, I would recommend this book more for the story and the world, than the romance. That has yet to impress me. But, overall, it is a good book and worth a read if you love steampunk, time manipulation and alternate worlds.

Received a free galley from Skyhorse Publishing, via Netgalley.

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