Friday, March 17, 2017

Review: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Timekeeper by Tara Sim
Series: Timekeeper #1
Genre: Steampunk/LGBT
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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.

Why couldn't it be like in stories? In fairy tales there always seemed to be an obvious villain and an obvious hero.

This book was not at all what I expected. I definitely went into this story with certain preconceived ideas and hardly any of them were fulfilled. Pretty much the only one that was had to do with the story being a rather sweet steampunk story.

I picked this book up because I've been craving steampunk and, oddly enough, not reading much this year. I've gotta say, the steampunk, while rather light on the actually gadgets and accessories, was topnotch.

I love the idea of clock towers that kind of control time and spirits that embody the towers. (If anyone else has ever seen the anime D.Gray-Man, this story reminds me a lot of Miranda Lotto's. A lot.) The only slight complaint I have here is that I would have liked to know more.

The world is interesting and intriguing and there is so much about the clock towers and spirits that even the people living in the world don't know - so I'm hoping this gets covered in the sequels.

The characters are all interesting, though perhaps not always the most likable. And, honestly, that's what made me adore them. These are all flawed characters. They make poor decisions, or stupid ones. They're not perfect and because of that, they're interesting, relatable. And, really, the whole hero/villain quote I've got up there illustrates a good deal about this story. In this book there's not really heroes or villains, just people - and I love that.

(And I gotta note, I'm pretty sure that Danny, our main character, has PTSD. Of course it's not called that because back then they didn't have such a thing, but that's sure what he acts like to my very untrained eyes. And I love it. I think the author really took a chance and I love the outcome.)

I would have liked to see more of the story through someone other than Danny's eyes. Except for two small sections, he's the sole narrator. And while he's interesting and I do like him, I kept wanting to know more about the other people. Especially Daphne, who I think might be my favorite character.

The romance was cute - perhaps a little too cute for me at times, and maybe moved a little too fast. But I get why that was, as the romance was actually part of the plot. (Surprisingly enough. And enjoyably enough. It's not often I read a book where the romance and plot are so intertwined.)

While I liked nearly everything about the story and my biggest complaints so far are that I wanted 'more' - there are a couple notes I need to make.

The first is that the language is on the flowery side. Some people will like that. Me? I prefer a much more straightforward writing style, so I was occasionally impatient with the descriptions.

And, I'll be honest, the book sags in the middle. The first hundred to a hundred-fifty pages were awesome and the last hundred pages were five star material in and of themselves. But that middle section just seemed to languish a little. (And made me really glad that the last hundred pages were so spectacular.)