[eARC Review] Timekeeper by Tara Sim

09:00 Cilla P 4 Comments

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. 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.

Title: Timekeeper (Timekeeper #1)
Author: Tara Sim
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Source: Edelweiss
Release Date: 08 November 2016


Timekeeper gets its first line perfectly right. Two o'clock was missing. Right away, my curiousity was piqued. I had to know how this world works! The world-building that followed matched that first line in terms of intrigue. The plot too was fascinating, the mystery unfolding well throughout the book. Unfortunately, I wasn't as invested as I wanted to be in the characters. 

The Victorian world of Timekeeper is its strongest appeal. The concept of a world run by time is fab, and it's well-executed. I love the myth that underlies the universe as well, and I found the story about the gods as appealing as Danny's. Tara Sim also sprinkles information about the world within the action, which is my preferred way of learning about a world as opposed to lengthy expositions. It also kept me interested in Danny's work. I don't care much about the mechanics of clocks, but once it's imbued with the high stakes of 'this clock needs to keep going or this whole city will be frozen in time', I'm more inclined to pay attention!

The plot was well-paced, and there were some unexpected moments in it that had me throwing out any theory about what was going on. My favourite part about the plot, though, was how it revealed the shades of grey in most of the characters, Danny included. Danny may be the main character, but at times he is selfish and rather reckless. On the other hand, the characters who seem antagonistic may simply have other, not-necessarily-bad, motivations. There is potential in all of them to be complex characters.

Unfortunately, despite the potentials, the characters didn't quite come alive for me. I never quite grew to care about what happened to any of them. While I loved the depiction of the impact of grief on a person and a family, the romance didn't work for me. Colton is adorable and his interactions with Danny are sweet, but it still felt like instalove for me.

Overall, Timekeeper was an enjoyable read with an interesting world as a background, but it didn't manage to get me to root for the characters.

(I received a copy for review from the publisher via Edelweiss. This in no way affected my opinion of the book)


  1. This is great, Cilla! I have pretty much the same thoughts as you do - the world-building was AMAZING and the writing was easy to get into, but the characters didn't really do it for me. They just feel a little... underdeveloped and one-dimensional, maybe? But yeah. :P

    1. Thanks, Reg! <3 I know what you mean. The characters feel under-developed to me too, though each of them seem like they have the potential to be complex characters.

  2. Oooh! I've seen this book around but hadn't read a review for it yet. Thank you for the very thoughtful and informative review! It sounds like such an interesting premise, and that sucks that the characters didn't come alive for you. I'm going to add this to my tbr, only because I LOVE books that are about time! Maybe I can send you my thoughts if I ever read it? :)

    1. You can totally send me your thoughts if you ever read it! :D I think it's worth reading for its concepts of time alone, but because I didn't connect with the characters so much, I don't know if I would invest time and energy in its sequel.


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