Review: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

timekeeper by tara simRating: 3.5/5 owl hoots

Published: November 8 2016

Number of pages: 404

Format: hardcover

Publisher: Sky Pony Prese

Genre: LGBT, romance, steampunk, fantasy

Audience: younger adult

Get it at: Chapters Indigo

Shelve it at: Goodreads

Summary:

An alternate Victorian world controlled by clocktowers where a damaged clock can fracture time, but a destroyed one could stop time completely. A young mechanic who can fix any clockwork and determined to rescue his father from a Stopped town. A series of mysterious bombings on clocktowers that could put all of England in danger. A romance that will shake the foundations of time and a boy who will do anything to risk it all.

A first book in a steampunk trilogy introducing a magical world of mythology and innovation that readers might never want to leave.

My Review:

I love reading steampunk but nowadays the genre is over saturated; we now see steampunk everywhere from YA to adult fiction and it’s almost tiring to keep up. Now when I see a new steampunk coming out that promises to be original I ask “is it really?” because we see new steampunk stories coming out that it’s really hard to promote that story as being original; most of time the story sounds the same. It takes place in Victorian England, it involves a young hero who is ahead of their time, it either has supernatural creatures and you see flying machines and dirigibles. There is also an opportunity of a romance although I haven’t read a steampunk story that had no chemistry in it. So when I heard about Timekeeper and Victoria Schwab blurbing it as “an extraordinary debut, at once familiar and utterly original” on the cover, I was hesitant. On the one hand, Victoria Schwab is my auto-favourite author but on the other, I was pretty doubtful if this was going to be an original story; as the saying goes: when you read one, you’ve read them all. 

But I’ve never doubted Victoria Schwab’s books before so when your favourite author recommends a book, you go for it right? The problem: this book was hard to find at usual places like Chapters Indigo and indie bookstores. Luckily I found a local library that had a copy, burrowed it, took it home, and started reading it. After the first 10 chapters, it was interesting but it didn’t captivate me. By the time I was more than halfway, did it suddenly caught my attention and after 300 pages in, I was really motivated to finish it. When I finally did I felt satisfied with how the story ended; there was no cliffhanger but a hint left behind as to what was going to happen next.

The clocktowers are intriguing because they serve a really important role for the town and any kinks, missing cogs or broken gears could seriously mess up time or worse the town could be Stopped; a phenomenon cause by the destruction of the tower leaving the whole town frozen in time. The concept of time controlled by them and depended on by mechanics who have the ability to fix clocktowers and restore time is interesting and unique, so I give 1 point for the story’s originality (Victoria Schwab still hasn’t let me down).

There is an LGBT romance in here but it’s also a forbidden love; we have Danny, the prodigy mechanic falling in love with a boy attached to a clocktower (and I use the word attached loosely) that he will do anything to save him and still save the city from time annihilation. There are obstacles along the way like figuring out who the mysterious bomber is, piecing together the clues and suspects leading to a twist where the tables have turned against Danny as he finds out who the attacker is; it’s always someone you least suspect. But what is more challenging is hiding your relationship with a boy from out of town and not because Danny is hiding in the closet as his friends and family have accepted his sexual orientation, but because there is something special about this boy that people might be skeptical that he evens exists!

What really drew me into the story were the characters because you have a diverse cast, each person with their own motive and a goal in mind, triggering events that lead up to the mystery behind the attacks. If you read between the lines, there are hints as to who is behind the threats and everything becomes clear as to why the attacker was motivated to bomb the towers. It was a shock and a surprise twist as there were also road blocks as we follow Danny’s trail of clues, but those road blocks were worth the time as they added another mystery as to what will happen to Danny and his secret now that someone else knows.

I only wish there wasn’t a series because everything was wrapped up nicely that it could have ended there. But after that mysterious note that Danny received anonymously, I knew that a second book was in the making. But this could have been a really good standalone as I was left satisfied about how things ended up. So if you’re looking for a different steampunk story about clocktowers and how time has evolved in Victorian England with an LGBT romance, then you might like this one.

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