Book Review: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

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Timekeeper by Tara Sim (Timekeeper #1) / ★★☆☆☆

Summary: 17 year old Danny Hart is the youngest clock mechanic in Victorian London, in a world in which clocks are living entities and control the passage of time. When he falls for the spirit of a clock he’s been assigned to, the mystery of his father – trapped in a town in which time has stopped – begins to unravel.

There comes a moment when time seems to slip faster, running long then short, shadows shrinking as the sun climbs. It’s the moment, he decided, when you’re no longer a child. When the concept of time and the need for more of it come together and make you powerless. Make you yearn for the longer days, the lazy days, before you knew what time passing actually meant.

Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy

Plot

This book has so many concepts I love – Victorian England fantasy, mythology, an unusual romance, the underdog out to solve a mystery – and yet it misses the mark with all of them.

It started with the romance, between our two main male characters. It was sweet at first, and I was intrigued, but then, before I even had a chance to get to know either character, or they had a chance to get to know eachother: insta-love. It took all the tension out of their relationship, and my interest. Because so much of the plot surrounds and depends on their relationship, it made it difficult for me to become invested in the story as a whole, because I was not invested in them.

That being said, the plot itself had a tension problem. Foreshadowing and clues were overtly obviously, and when we were given a mystery, or a question, it was very quickly solved and didn’t leave me time to wonder. Only during the first few chapters of this book was I really intrigued, but once I realized this was going to be the style of the book, it was difficult to remain engaged when there was little to wonder about.

Then, the atmosphere, or lack thereof. There was so much potential! 19th century London, steampunk vibes, clock magic and mythology. And yet…it all fell flat. It was all very stated, very generic. It felt more like a tool – a stage setting – than an actual world developed by the author. It aided the plot, but the plot didn’t feel embedded there. I didn’t understand the motives of the civilians, who protested the mechanic’s fixing the time clocks because they didn’t want time to be controlled. Why?? We were given no answer, yet we were constantly reminded of this chaos. World development was very lacking.

I so wanted to love this book for all the elements packed into it, and it’s been on my TBR for ages, but it fell extremely flat. The plot and the writing seemed to grow sloppier as the book went on. It wasn’t terrible, and I didn’t hate it, but overall it was very boring. The set up for a sequel was rather flat, as well.

Characters

The characters of Timekeeper started out very character driven, but as the plot thickened, they felt more and more like tools for the plot than actual fully formed characters, which is always a turn off for me in a book. They weren’t awful, I didn’t hate them, but…I just didn’t care about them as the words coming out of their mouth were more plot and less character. 

Danny was a temperamental, good hearted fellow, but I just…didn’t like him. Probably more development would have made me more invested in him, but as it was, his reactions to things were rather immediate and the logic he put into his actions were far more plot driven than character driven. I lost interest in his cause.

Colton, his clock lover, was sweet. I liked Colton, and I enjoyed the nature of his spirit-ness and how he did seem very un-human. But again, he could have used a lot more development, as a clock spirit and in his personality. I internally groaned when I realized we were getting insta-love between him and Danny.

This book is sprinkled with other characters, but they were all rather flat. Our main villain had an interesting dynamic with Danny- but even that fell very flat in the end. I wanted a bigger spectrum of emotions for these characters. They were very single minded in their actions and it made them very flat.

Writing

The first half of this book was written well, but once the plot started to deepen it grew sloppy, like it couldn’t quite contain the story it was telling. It lacked atmosphere and it lacked the ability to relay strong tension. Again, the writing wasn’t terrible, but it just didn’t do anything for me.

Was I satisfied? 

Nah. I had relatively high expectations for this book and it was full of elements I love, but it fell very flat. This book was quite boring.

14 thoughts on “Book Review: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

  1. This book sounds like it has such a great concept! I hate when books like that have such a bad execution. They need a few more rounds of editing before they get put out into the world….

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. The synopsis alone sounded like it was going to be so great – I personally LOOOOVE steampunk! How disappointing that it ended up being a total letdown. 😳 To me, insta-love makes an instant failure for a book. It’s the WORST cliche ever made and yet authors keep sticking it in their books! 😥

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know right!! Insta-love kills all the pre-relationship tension, which is what I live for. It’s probably what killed half of my enjoyment for this book. And it was such a waste of steampunk atmosphere D:

      Liked by 1 person

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