- my rating: 4 stars
- published by: Sky Pony Press
- genres: steampunk, fantasy, lgbt+
- diversity: gay, biracial mc (Indian/White) with anxiety and ptsd, pansexual love interest
An alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, where a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.
A prodigy mechanic who can repair not only clockwork but time itself, determined to rescue his father from a Stopped town.
A series of mysterious bombings that could jeopardize all of England.
A boy who would give anything to relive his past, and one who would give anything to live at all.
A romance that will shake the very foundations of time.
I’ve had this book so high on my TBR for so long. Literally all I heard about it was that it was steampunky and queer and set in Victorian England and that was truly all I needed to hear to be sold.
This book did not disappoint me at all. Especially setting and story wise. It’s super imaginative and potentially one of the most unique and well thought out books I’ve ever read. The mystery element had me hooked from the start and the sweet m/m romance left me with such a good feeling.
TIMEKEEPER is told primarily from the point of view of Danny Hart, a talented young clock mechanic who’s saved the world once but still struggled with PTSD and anxiety about the event.
Danny was a really great narrator to follow, the way that Sim wrote him absolutely made me fall in love with him immediately and you’re definitely sympathising with Danny the entire time. Sim does an excellent job at fleshing out his character and showing both the best and worst sides of him, which makes him a realistic and interesting character to follow. I definitely felt like this book is generally character driven and TIMEKEEPER does a great job at making you invested in the main character early.
The second major character is Colton, a clock spirit from Enfield who Danny falls in love with. Colton was such an adorable, sweet character and if you love soft boys you’ll love him. I loved the playfulness of his character, and the way he and Danny complimented eachother personality wise was really fun. Colton is honestly like a puppy who became a person and of course this made me instantly fall in love with him.
Other major characters include Cassie, Danny’s best friend and coworker, Matthew, a man with a tense history with Danny and Daphne, a female mechanic trying to earn respect within the industry. One thing I really liked about the side characters was how dynamic they were, even if they weren’t in the book often. Sim didn’t waste a moment of their appearance. I also liked how she fleshed out the side characters, one in particular, and how their characters slowly became more complex as the mystery develops.
TIMEKEEPER doesn’t have a particularly fast paced plot (it’s more of a slowly unravelling mystery) but despite this it kept sucking me back in. The mystery is drawn out enough that you’re constantly intrigued and guessing, but not drawn out too far that you’re getting bored and frustrated, which I appreciated.
My only issue plot wise was the beginning, and that is because the way they world building got in the way of the plot. World building is a massive aspect of this book, the alternate setting alone requires explanation, and add on top of that the magic system involving the clocks and time? There’s a lot to be explained.
Sim definitely explained it well, but the entire first third felt very bogged down in that explanation. It definitely detracted from my interest at the beginning. However, once we got past that the plot really started moving and I enjoyed it more.
Some of the storyline is also written from the point of view of Greek Gods who created time as it’s known in the world. I found these chapters a bit pointless and didn’t really know what to take away from them. I’m hoping they are incorporated more into the second book because I didn’t see the purpose of them here.
One aspect of this book I really enjoyed was the way the diversity was incorporated into the world itself. By this I mean, Sim specifically altered elements of the Victorian setting to make it more inclusive and friendly, which I thought was really fun.
The authors note was really interesting and explained the process of altering the world, and I just think having this setting everyone loves but making it less harsh and violent for lgbtiap+ people and people of colour was nice. Although there is still some conflict due to Danny’s sexuality, it’s not as overt as other books in this setting and I really enjoyed that.
TIMEKEEPER is such a hidden gem and it PAINS ME to see how underrated it is. There are so many elements of this book that are generally popular and Sim ingeniously combined them all together. This book had one of the most mind-bending mysteries I’ve read in a while and the ending set up for the sequel so well, I can’t wait to read it.
Although I had to remove a star for the confusing and dragging beginning, I pretty much enjoyed this book from beginning to end and it was one of my favourite reads so far this year. I definitely think it’s a book a lot of people could enjoy and I hope it gets more attention as the release to the final book FIRESTARTER draws nearer.
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until next time !