Tara Sim’s debut novel Timekeeper is much alike this drawing I found on google image search… an intricate, beautiful and mysterious piece of art that tells a story of clock towers in stormy London…
“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.” Goodreads.
At first I was reading this e-arc (which I received from NetGalley) quite slowly, taking in a chapter here and a chapter there, not due to disinterest but to make sure I took it all in and could make notes where necessary. That went out the window however when I hit about 60% and things really amped up suspense-wise. The story really does take you in from the start, it’s a comfortable and homey story that makes you feel like you are living in this steampunk influenced Victorian England world, where clock-towers control time and their mechanics mend it. Danny Hart, our protagonist and youngest clock mechanic on record at 17, is completely relatable – from his PTSD induced panic attacks to his sarcastic and clever tete-a-tetes with rival clock mechanics Daphne and Lucas, his all round interesting personality is as completely ordinary as it can be – considering his dad is literally stuck in time in the next town over. The compelling obsession with freeing his father takes over his life until he meets, without realising, the clock tower spirit of his new Enfield assignment. Colton is a mischievous and naive spirit who will capture your heart with every bat of his golden-bronze eyelashes (trust me, I swooned many a time!), he gives Danny something else to focus on for a while and teaches us some history of the wonderful alternative London history.
To me, this book gave stand out message of being careful how we treat and try to manipulate our own and others’ time. Time is both our saviour and enemy, our puppet and puppet master – some days it can feel stopped, letting us linger in a magical first kiss or loiter in a stomach churning bad decision, and sometimes it can run away from us like a child who has found his freedom… but our threads of time and fate link us all together and it is only when we take control of our own lives can we see these connections glittering in the sunlight.
The story’s characters are diverse and the plot compelling, for me it was a 5* read which I will no doubt reread, sticky tab and highlight all over, once I get my hands on a physical copy when it releases on Nov 8th 2016 – make sure to grab your copy on release day and believe me when I say that it will not disappoint.