Timekeeper (Timekeeper #1)
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 thought this was an interesting concept. The clocks themselves really control the time. There are days where it feels like that but to be solely reliant on clocks and their spirits, what a twist on time. Any problem with the clocks can result in a town losing time or, the worst case, being stuck in time. Most of the story revolves around our main character and the town, Enfield, clock spirit. While I did find this story interesting, it took me a moment to get into it. I understood what was happening but I just had an issue connecting with the story. Once the plot became more involved and there was more action, did I really enjoy the book. This was definitely a book that you need to stick with and get through the developmental beginning. There is a forbidden romance aspect to the book also, as one is to not fall in love with a clock spirit. I really enjoyed this part of because the spirits seem so innocent, how do you not love them?
Though the story took me a little to get into, I immediately fell in love with the characters. Danny was a great main character to follow. There is so much emotion behind him that it was honestly really hard not to like him. He had a lot to deal with while also trying to make sure that a whole town didn’t get frozen in time again. I really enjoyed seeing his character develop throughout the whole novel and how he dealt with situations. In this book, Danny makes mistakes and suffers the consequences. I like how true they all felt and their actions seemed very realistic for the type of book this was.
Overall, Timekeeper by Tara Sim was a decent book. Even though it had a slow start, the concept of the book held my interest until the plot really developed. This book did have great characters which really drove the story. They stayed true to the world that was set up and seemed very realistic. I was easily able to relate and connect with them. Since the idea of the book is now developed, I am really looking forward to what happens in the next book. I recommend this book for those who enjoy alternate, fantasy worlds with forbidden romances.
In an alternate Victorian world where time is regulated by mechanical clock towers, Danny Hart, the youngest mechanic in history, is recovering from an accident that left with a severe case of PTSD. Even worse, his father has been stuck in a town where time Stopped for three years, and his mother is a shell of the person she used to be. Struggling to get back into the mechanic world, Danny is assigned to a small town called Enfield, where the local clock tower is plagued by minor problems.
Danny’s new assistant annoys and intrigues him, but the boy is eager to learn although he is distant. Danny soon learns Colton’s secret: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. While Colton and Danny are drawn together by lonliness, Danny knows that falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden. But, when a series of bombings threaten to Stop more cities, Danny and Colton must work together and find a way to stop Enfield from becoming the next target, or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves too.
Sim has created an incredible alternate Britain, which is slightly more technologically advanced than our own Victorian era: in Sim’s world, there are automobiles, motorcycles and airships. At the end of the novel, Sim has written a small explanation of the changes she has made for her world, including rights for women and acknowledgement of LGBT people. It’s so refreshing to read a fantasy novel where women and LGBT people are appreciated, and made the stars of the novel.
I really enjoyed Danny as the protagonist and narrator. He was quite adorable, but strong too. The fact that he suffers from anxiety and PTSD is so important, because it forms a big part of his character and personality. He’s very loyal and courageous, and I love that he doesn’t go through a breakdown over his sexuality – he’s gay, that’s it, no dramas, this is normal. What I mean by this is that it feels as though every second YA LGBT novel focuses on the importance of ‘coming out’, and while those types of stories are incredibly significant, the constant use of this issue feels as though this is the only narrative LGBT people can have. I’m not saying that stories like that aren’t important – they totally are – but having characters that are confident in their sexuality is just as important, especially in YA books.
The same with issues surrounding women: it gets so dry to constantly read about women been subjugated by men and reading vile sexist language (looking at you SJM with your constant reaffirmation of males and females – please stop). In the novel, Danny’s best friend Cassie is a car mechanic, and an inventor who created the life-saving seatbelts! Her relationship with Danny is very loving and encouraging, as they both care and protect one another. One of the other female characters in Timekeeper who breaks expectations for women is Daphne, Danny’s work rival. Danny has a lot of respect for her, despite being his biggest rival – she is also half Indian and very proud of her heritage. While the novel is set in an alternate timeline, Sim has still included the horrors Britain subjected on India, as its important to remember the bad along with the good when it comes to history.
Colon was an angel – an innocent time spirit angel. He is probably one of the sweetest characters I have come across in a very long time, and the reader can’t help but fall for him along with Danny. Colton has this incredible zest for life despite not being able to experience anything in his tower. He wants so much to live life to the fullest, but instead he spends his days watching over the people of Enfield and caring for them. The romance between Colton and Danny is intensely sweet and cute – that’s the best way to describe it. While forbidden, their love is not hot and heavy, nor is it too in your face: it’s tender, enchanting and oh so adorable. I love the way their romance developed because they’re two very lonely boys, who only desire a little love and gentleness in their lives, and this is how they bond. I pretty much had tears in my eyes for a lot of Colton and Danny’s scenes.
The plot was a little predictable, but it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the novel at all. The book is fast-paced and incredibly well written. Sim’s prose is both electric and fluid. She perfectly gets into and remains in Danny’s 17-year-old head, and I am so thankful for the way she portrays and explains his PTSD.
I highly recommend Timekeeper, especially if you’re looking for a fun, easy-to-read, romantic YA. The romance was the winner of this book for me, but the plot was engaging and the bigger mystery was intriguing, keeping me up and reading until the very early hours of the morning.