Author: Tara Sim
Narrator: Gary Furlong
Publisher: Sky Pony Press/Forever Young Audiobooks
Length: 414 pages/8 hrs. 48 mins.
Source: Audiobook Received for Tour Review
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.
Protagonist: Danny Hart is a clock mechanic, one of a group of people that can put a clock tower back together after it's been damaged. Danny wants nothing more than to save his father from being trapped in a town where time has stopped, but because of his severe emotional attachment to the project, his superiors believe that his talents would be put to better use in the town of Enfield. I felt that the author of this story does a fantastic job with Danny's characterization. It's very easy to get emotionally invested in his hopes and dreams, and feel bad for him when those dreams don't work out as he planned, while still understanding where, as was the case with the lead mechanic keeping him off the job of rescuing the Stopped town his father is in, others are coming from. There are never times when Danny's actions didn't make sense or that there was never anything to justify his actions. While deeply flawed in many ways, Danny has a well-plotted development over the course of this story, while still feeling like a real, imperfect protagonist by the end.
Romance: Honestly, if there was one thing to turn me off going into this story it would have been the forbidden love aspect, but since everything else sounded so interesting I thought I'd give it a try anyway, and I wasn't let down. First off, this isn't a cliche and trope-filled forbidden romance. There are many times in this book where I wasn't sure what would happen in the romance, where I genuinely wondered whether or not Danny and Colton, the spirit of Enfield's clock tower, will end up together. I'm still not sure if they will or not, since it's a series, and that level of not knowing is so refreshing, I mean, in most forbidden romances the romance is viewed as this beautiful and perfect love, but the characters always seem to fall in love too hard too fast and have an unhealthy attachment to one another that is passed off as romantic. In this story, however, Danny and Colton learn about each other, they make mistakes and fight, and while they grow very fond of each other and will fight to stay in each other's lives they never cross that line towards manic and obsessed which I was ecstatic about.
World Building: One of the first things to draw me to this story was the fact that time is controlled by clock towers and that if the clock tower is damaged, then so is time itself. What I never expected though, was just how intricately the world building would go into this phenomenon. There are chapters in this book that detail the mythology of this world, and shine a light on how time works in this world. While these chapters are short, few, and far between, they add an addictive layer to this world that I couldn't help but be drawn to. Most of this book takes place in London is a sort of steampunk world with automatons and cars with no seat belts. Everything has a bit of an old-fashioned feel to it and the world comes alive in each chapter. Even with how much there is to learn about in this world, there's still so much more that I want to know, such as clocks in other parts of the world, which I think we're getting in book 2, and more about the mythology attached to time and the clock towers.
Predictability: For the most part this story is very unpredictable. While there is a good amount of foreshadowing here and there, a lot of it is very subtle and very rarely does the author write something that will clue the reader in on a big, or even medium, twist. One of the best twists in this story doesn't have ANY foreshadowing, at least not until a few minutes before the twist is revealed. It's something that completely changes the game and does so in such a satisfying and shocking way that I can't stop gushing about it. Looking back I can't remember many moments where I knew something was going to happen or whodunnit a significant amount of time before it was revealed.
Ending: If you're looking for a good first book in a series that doesn't try to drag you off a cliff with it's ending then you've come to the right place. As the story moves into its final climax, and what a fantastic and invigorating final climax it is, I was waiting for the twist that would prolong this story more than it needed to so that this could be a trilogy (I swear I'm really an optimist at heart,) but then the main story concluded and we were given a really nice cooldown with just a little twist that speaks to more stories within this world. There wasn't a huge cliffhanger or a feeling that, at least for the moment, things aren't resolved. While I am highly anticipating the release of Chainbreaker, the second book in this series, I can honestly say that I won't mind waiting a bit.
Audiobook Notes: So, I suck at reviewing Audio Books, which is why I rarely comment on narration and production if I listen to a book on audio unless it's extremely well done and stands out above other audiobooks, i.e. having ambient and background sound and music, or a full voice cast. However, this book has no extra effort put into the Audio Book, and that's not a bad thing. In fact, added features would have distracted from the overall story and the tension that builds during certain scenes, a full voice cast would have been nice, but the narrator does a perfectly wonderful job at narrating, although I would have preferred more distinct voices for certain characters. Overall, the Audio Book was great, the narrator did a fine job telling the story and it was put together very well.
If you couldn't tell by how much I gushed about this book I loved it. The world is stunning and unique, and the characters are so perfectly imperfect. I can't wait to read on and see what will happen next!
About the Author:
Tara Sim is the author of Timekeeper (Sky Pony Press) and 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. Follow her on Twitter at @EachStarAWorld, and check out her website at tarasim.com.
About the Narrator:
Gary Furlong grew up in Wexford, Ireland. Throughout his life he has worn many a hat: He has worked as a teacher in Niigata, Japan; a puppeteer in Prague; an improv artist in Memphis, Tennessee; and as a singer and actor all over Ireland. He started narrating audiobooks in late 2015 and hasn't looked back.
Gary made his acting debut in the musical Godspell as a student. Since then he has pursued acting both on the amateur and professional circuits. Notable roles include Tom Collins in Bare Cheek's production of Rent in 2010.Over the course of his five years in Japan, he was an actor, director, and audio producer. It was during this time that he discovered his interest in audiobooks and voice-over.
He now works full-time as an audiobook narrator and voice actor from his home in Ireland.