Author: Tara Sim
Genre: historical fiction, supernatural fiction
Series: Timekeeper #1
Published: expected Nov 1 2016
Source: publishers via edelweiss
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.
Mix together a little bit of weirdly creative magic, a cast of diverse and realistic characters with a lot of charm, a new alternate version of our world, and add pure shippy fun and voila! You have the essentials of Tara Sim's timeywimey debut novel Timekeeper. It's a fun historical fiction novel combined smoothly with a romantic supernatural story and makes for pure and immersive reading entertainment.
Creative and clever are two apt descriptors for both plot and characters in Timekeeper; the comparisons to Schwab's Archived novels feels particularly apt. As much as I was engaged by the main character Danny's life inside and outside of his work with clocks, I was somewhat confused by how exactly Time works/Stops in this world. It's an important detail but it's not a exactly explained. The chemistry and charisma of the characters kept me engaged when the worldbuilding details were less than clear but even after finishing, I am left with questions. The short interludes from the mythology/history of this version of history were more often than not unnecessary and also lacked the impact the main storyline carried.
I am also admittedly a little iffy on how the romance developed between Danny and Colton. Relationships that build together bring more emotions, and though these two do engender shipping, it takes much longer for the audience than for the characters to invest in their love. Despite the quick nature of their relationship, I loved the author's choice of a casual retcon of society's attitude towards homosexuality for the times. It still is not a perfect world, but this allows Danny to live his life as a gay person without it being the main crux of his story. He's fully fleshed out and realized character with more to him than just his sexual orientation or sexual partner. It's a refreshing and natural approach.
Both original and engaging in equal measure, Tara Sim's anticipated Timekeeper makes for a memorable and unique read. It's the first in a series, though the events here are pretty much wrapped up. There's room for exploration, both in the alternate version of history and with these characters so I am eager to see what direction Sim will take the sequels.