November 13, 2016

Sunday Street Team | Timekeeper by Tara Sim

The Sunday Street Team is a group of bloggers led by the marvelous Nori @ ReadWriteLove28 who aim to bring well-deserved attention to new and upcoming books and their authors. 

Timekeeper (Timekeeper, #1)
By Tara Sim
Timekeeper #1
Released November 8, 2016
368 pages
Young Adult, Steampunk, Debut

This book was provided to me from ReadWriteLove28 in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelf that this has not affected my opinion of the book.

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.
The stunning first novel in a new trilogy by debut author Tara Sim, Timekeeper is perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Victoria Schwab.


Tara Sim brought a new twist to an old favorite with her debut novel, Timekeeper. The steampunk genre has been losing steam recently, but I have a feeling that it will be revived by Sim's leading example. 

Timekeeper has everything that I could ask for in a steampunk novel: a historical London setting, automatons, an adorably damaged main character, and, the crowning glory, mechanical clock towers that not only keep track of time but control it.

One of the most important aspects of steampunk is the setting and setup of the alternate history. Not to worry, Sim could not have picked a better location than London. She really brought the city to life through the pages of her story. The mythology and intricacies of clock mechanics were elaborately woven into the story. All of the right questions were answered, while still leaving me guessing about enough to keep me interested.

Danny is an interesting main character. He has been through a lot in his life, with his father stuck in time, his mother a shell of her former self, and the job of his dreams on the line. In a way, he is like any other teenager who is hopelessly lost at a time in his life, which is extremely easy to relate to. There were a lot of dynamics that made up Danny's character. He could never be called a flat character, that's for sure. It was interesting to see his development and poignant inner struggles. 

Unfortunately, I just felt as if there was a lot of lull in the middle of the story as if the action just Stopped in the thick of things. Danny spent a lot of time just traveling back and forth between London and Enfield. The story almost became cyclical, with the constant traveling and fixing of the clocks. Danny's personal issues and inner turmoil are highlighted, which is not necessarily bad until his desperation started to sound like whining. 

But, I would like to make a quick shoutout to Danny's best friend Cassie for being a kick-butt female secondary character. Her character actually mattered and I loved how she interacted with Danny. She always accepted him for being himself, no matter what. There was no romance between them, which I think should happen more often between male-female friends in YA.

As well as introducing new clockwork elements to steampunk, Sim also added diversity to the genre. Danny, the main character, "prefers blokes," in his own words. Danny's preference is not shied away from, which really added to the depth and impact of the story. Sexuality is discussed, not diminished, thrown aside, or belittled. 

I would recommend Timekeeper to fans of historical fiction and steampunk, especially if you are looking for a new take on the genre. I would also recommend Danny's story to anyone looking for a diverse novel that does not shy away from the tough questions. Even though the middle was a little bit slow, anyone who enjoys a good steampunk will enjoy Timekeeper.

About the Author

Tara Sim can typically be found wandering the wilds of the Bay Area, California. When she’s not chasing cats or lurking in bookstores, she writes books about magic, clocks, and explosives. TIMEKEEPER is her debut novel. Follow her on Twitter at @EachStarAWorld, or check out her website tarasim.com for fun extras.


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