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.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange of an honest review.
Timekeeper is the kind of book that has a lot of stuff I don’t like but that still manages to be entertaining and, well, good. Explaining: my relationship with romance in books is complicated. I quite like reading a romance (though I’m very, very picky) but I dislike non-romance books where the romance is the focus or the main force behind the plot. Or books that go on and on about the power of (romantic) love and blah blah blah (I’m aromantic, so yeah).
Timekeeper, fortunately, doesn’t go around singing praises to romantic love, but it is very romantic-centric even if Danny and Colton’s relationship isn’t the main source of conflict in the story. Three romantic relationships are what moves this book (Danny and Colton’s, Danny’s parents’ and one that is a spoiler) and, well, usually that would piss me off. Not because it isn’t a valid thing to do in a book or anything like that, but, well, my aromantic soul relates to 0 of that and is 0% interested in stories like this. They usually bore me to death. A story about the power of love? Yes. A story about the power of platonic love? More yes. A story about the power of romantic love? Ehh, not interested.
But Timekeeper is simply… delightful. I loved the worldbuilding. Loved it. And like, I definitely am not a fan of steampunk. Quite the contrary, actually, but I loved the world Sim built in this book. It is refreshing, original and so cool. The characters are also really good, as are their relationships. Danny and her mother’s especially is very well done and his romance with Colton is cute and beautiful.
And Danny himself is such a sympathetic character. I was screaming with him through at least half of this book, because people were so unfair to him sometimes and it made me so mad. And even though the book is kinda slow and the plot kinda… sparse?… I did not feel bored. Not once.
But there is that: the plot isn’t given much attention. At times I felt like Danny was just running around waiting for the next big thing instead of, you know, acting to make said big thing happen. That is too say, the plot felt kind of like background noise to the characters & their relationships, which is weird and should’ve sunk this book for me, but well, I’m glad it didn’t happen.
The writing lost a little of its quality in the last 10/15% or so of the book, though, and the little interludes about Aetas and the other gods were kind of unnecessary in my opinion. They didn’t reveal nothing that the characters hadn’t mentioned before. but nothing serious. I can’t wait to read the next books. 4.0 stars.