Monday, November 14, 2016

ARC Review: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Title: Timekeeper
Series: Timekeeper #1
Written by: Tara Sim
Published: November 8, 2016 by Sky Pony Press
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I was really excited to read Timekeeper. I remember first learning about this debut and thinking that it is a total me book. I mean I love historical fiction set in the Victorian era, not to mention steampunk YA and was super intrigued by this one with a focus on clockwork. Despite a slow start, this was a good read that I enjoyed a lot.

One of the things that I really enjoyed about this book was the world of it. For one thing there is a lot to the world and setting of this book. First and foremost there is the steampunk elements. An alternate Victorian England setting with time being controlled by clockwork was really cool. But it was a subtle kind of steampunk. That I think was because there was also a really cool mythology and history to this book. There are gods at play here and their stories added some interest to establish and develop the world. It didn't seem to totally make sense but it was interesting.

As for the plot development, that did make sense. It made a lot of sense. This is a book that is surprisingly heavy on mystery elements. I wasn't expecting there to be so much of a mystery but it was actually really well plotted with solvable twists along the way. In fact, this was a return to form for me where there were a ton of mysteries and twists that I was able to predict. All the pieces slowly fell into place at the climax of the book which had me flipping pages so fast and needing to know what all would happen next.

But as much as I enjoyed the plot development, I didn't love the pacing. This was a pretty slow book. It took awhile to really take off. I would like a little bit more of the plot earlier in the book. I'm not exactly sure however what made the beginning feel slow for me. Usually that's because there is a lot of exposition. But I don't think that was the case here. There was set up, but it didn't feel like too much. I just think it didn't hook me until later in the book when things really started kicking into high gear (pun unintended!)

It could be however that the beginning was about the character development. Although I'm not sure that was the case either. I honestly would have liked a little more from the characterizations. Now don't get me wrong, I did like the main character of Danny. I thought he was a fantastic protagonist. He's smart, kind, and the right amount of reckless. He also was complex and vulnerable in that he didn't always make the right decision but I understood his motivation. I wanted to see him succeed a mechanic and by the end I was invested in him accomplishing his goals, even the ones I didn't totally agree with.

And by the ones I didn't totally agree with, I mean the romance. I don't know you guys, I just didn't connect with the relationship with Danny and Colton. It's a trope I've been seeing periodically in YA lately and it's one I don't really enjoy. I don't want to give too much away but it veered to far into the supernatural romance lane for my liking. The moments where I think I found myself enjoying the book the least we're the ones that had too much romance and not enough of the other plot points to me.

But in the end, I really did enjoy Timekeeper. Despite some elements that I didn't totally enjoy and a bit of a slow start, this was a good debut with a great alternate history setting, and interesting plot, and a complex main character.

I give Timekeeper by Tara Sim 8 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow/Buy. If you are interested in this book you should definitely check it out. There is a good mystery that I am interested to see develop. Fans of steampunk and historical fiction should check it out.

Have you read Timekeeper? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I finished this one today at the garage, waiting for the car to be repaired and I really enjoyed the last 60% of it! It's true that the first 30% of it was a lil bit slow for me, but not enough to tempt me to DNF because I was very intrigued by the world building and the mythology!

    1. YAY! Totally agree. It took me awhile to really enjoy this one but I never considered DNFing. I think for me it was the mystery. I wanted to know what was going on.