Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Me on Timekeeper

Title: Timekeeper
Author: Tara Sim
Release Date: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Sky Pony Press (Skyhorse Publishing imprint)

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 intriguing, enthralling, mysterious, and more than a little somber. It's a story about lonely souls and missing hours, of hope and love and selfishness.

Danny is sweet and kind. Skilled at his work as mechanic, repairing clocks and helping right time. He's also lonely, bruised and wounded after an accident and after the loss of his father in a Stopped town. He's hiding from his nightmares, from the past, and looking for something that will give him hope in the future. He seems run-down and weary, tired. Then he goes to Enfield. Then he discovers the clock spirit. Then he discovers something bigger than the two of them is happening.

I was intrigued by the world-building here, by the need for advancement in clock mechanisms because of the changes to time. Because of time being something slightly tangible, something that can be reined in and controlled. Something that stems from mythology, from the gods and goddesses of ancient times. I thought it was intriguing and new, the manipulation of time and the clock spirits. I also liked how the author altered other parts of history, like this world's views of homosexuality. Danny isn't ridiculed or hated, but it's the default of most he comes across that, when they ask if he's seeing anyone, they assume he'd date a girl.

As I read this I was struck by a sweet, melancholy tone that carried me along, rising and falling as Danny worked on the clock tower in Enfield and uncovered more and more behind the bombings and the Stopped towns. At times I chuckled and at times I wanted to cry. There were some interesting pokes and prods at a deeper mystery going on, one Danny brushes up against near the end, and so I'm curious as to where the second book will go and what will be revealed. Also if any side characters will appear again, if their roles will get a little bigger. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next book.

(I received an e-galley of this title to review from Skyhorse Publishing.)

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