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.
Author: Tara Sim
Published: November 2016
Genre: Historical Fantasy/ LGBTQAP+
I was provided an advanced copy for this review
Timekeeper was most definitely one of my most anticipated reads of 2016. Ever since I’d seen it on one of those ‘Most Anticipated LGBTAQP+ 2016 Reads’ lists on Goodreads. Steam-punk historical fantasy with openly gay characters? This book was essentially written for me.
And oh boy it did not disappoint me!
There’s actually a tie for my favorite part of Timekeeper. Firstly the characters. It only took me about .5 seconds to fall absolutely in love with Colton. From the moment we find out who he is, this kid is just… he’s so freaking lovable! He’s the pure, cinnamon bun I always fall in love with quickly. I just absolutely love these kinds of characters. And then we have Danny, who’s a little trickier than Colton, but just as developed and lovable. These two have a lot of layers to get through, a lot of history. Danny’s still reeling from an accident with his father, one that both he and his own mother blame him for. And Colton’s still trying to learn not just about himself, who Danny is and what he needs to do for these new feelings towards him.
I do wish that the side characters got a bit more to do story wise, because they’re all really just as interesting. Danny’s mom in particular. Her story went to a place I really wasn’t expecting, mostly because it’s so rare for parents in fantasy-novels.
And Matthias! I do want to keep spoilers to a minimum, but Matthias! Oh man Matthias!
Daphne, Brandon, and Cassie are also just so freaking cool, I really hope we get to see more of them in book two, all of them interacting together. I’d love to see Brandon and Cassie get together to gossip about Danny and Colton. That’d be a scene I’d pay good money to see honestly.
My second favorite part of Timekeeper is the world and magic system. Clocktowers are the main players here, each clocktower in charge of running the time in a certain area or city. I’ve always been fascinated by the whole idea of time not being the same everywhere. Each area can be in it’s own time, potentially flowing differently from place to place. What’s even more interesting are the clock-sprits who control that flow; beings that, if they leave or vanish, can completely stop the progression of time in an area, leaving the in habitants stuck.
It’s an incredibly interesting system that I really want more of. Which is why I’m super happy that this is the first in a trilogy. There’s a ton for Sim to explore with this universe, and she’s already put so much world-building into the first book. I can’t wait to see where she takes the rest of the series!
Story-wise there were a few twists and turns I didn’t expect, including ones that involved my boy Colton. He’s presented as this enigma for the first quarter of the book, and I really wasn’t expecting his reveal. And again I don’t want to spoil anything, but Danny and Colton’s story is incredibly heart-warming and tear-jerking. Seriously, certain moments, especially the ending, had me almost crying while I read this at work.
Which leads me into Danny and Colton’s relationship. Sure it develop’s rather quickly, but I really don’t care. These two are so freaking cute together I almost couldn’t stand it. Seriously! And when we delve more into it, both Colton and Danny really learning what it means to love someone, each in their own way? I just… I love it so freaking much. And there are so many moments easy on that just break my heart. Again no spoilers, because I’m not sure how much I want to give away, but to hear Colton’s explanation for the way he behaves sometimes, just to get Danny’s attention. It’s so sad and I just want to hug him and wrap him in a blanket and tell him it’s all going to be okay! Danny too! These two need hugs! They need love!!!
And I really just want to thank Sim for writing a Victorian-era story that’s LGBTQAP+ friendly. Seriously, no one really bats an eye at Danny’s sexuality, or him saying he prefers boys. More often than not historical fantasy refuse to show queer characters while telling stories with dragons, or evil wizards, or robots walking the streets. And it just makes me feel so incredibly happy that we can have a story like this. It means so much to me, and I can’t wait to see Colton and Danny’s love story develop. I really hope they get the happy ending these two pure babies deserve.
In short, Timekeeper is an incredibly original and awesome story with tons of action, intrigue, and characters to keep you interested for the entire read. I can’t wait until I get my finished copy so I can shove it into the hands of my friends and make them read it.
You can pick up your own copy of Timekeeper on November 8th, 2016. Wherever books are sold!