25760792Title: TIMEKEEPER
Author: Tara Sim
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Pages: 414
ARC?: No
Format: Hardback
Release date: 11/08/16
TW/CW: Death, blood, physical violence.
Rep: Queer, poverty.
Rating: 5/5

I was in an accident. I got out. I’m safe now.

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.

Just like THE SERPENT KING, this book was pitched to me wrong.

“It’s kind of steampunk and it has clocks and Queer characters.”

Here’s a hint: I only like one of those things.

But after being browbeaten over it for a few months, I finally plopped it on my wish list to appease everyone and my dearest friend, Mason, was kind enough to send it my way. And getting this book was an adventure itself. After UPS delivered it to the wrong house and said we would have to contact Amazon, Amazon balked up a little on it and wouldn’t speak with me directly. Listen, calling them myself was hard enough and I wasn’t about to push someone with equal amounts of anxiety to do the same. I thought the book would just, you know, die and slowly fade from mind. So sorry, dear TIMEKEEPER, it just wasn’t meant to be.

But a week later, an elderly gentleman showed up on my front porch, package in hand. UPS had delivered it across town but now it was safely in my hands… and I still wasn’t sure that I wanted to read it.

But I did during #MiniMoji and I loved it.

It’s more historical than steampunk, and yes, there are clocks. Danny is our main character and he is a mechanic- a skilled clocktower repairman who can maintain time, a rare gift in this story. We meet Danny months after he’s had an incredibly traumatic accident involving a clock tower essentially exploding in his face. He’s lucky to be alive and still suffering from PTSD- something he deals with continuously throughout the book.

Sim does an incredible job of giving us a background story on Danny, his family, and the history of the mechanics without ever bogging the story down with information. I find it really hard to slog through info dumps but it’s also hard to care about a story if there isn’t enough backstory to make me feel for the characters and their positions. It’s a precarious line that runs between too much and not enough, and Sim toes that line perfectly. I loved hearing about the mythology behind the mechanics.

I was also surprised at how much she made us care for Danny’s father, a mechanic in a Stopped town (essentially frozen in time and can’t leave the town because the clock tower is irreparable), without us ever meeting him. She does this through glimpses of what it’s like when time skips and jumps and trembles, and several times I caught myself thinking, “If a small fracture in time is this awful… imagine what it’s like when it Stops.”

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve already seen my jokes about the love interest. Spoilers inside the asterisks.


I was both horrified and amused that the love interest is… a clock tower. He’s literally a clock who can present as a human and I just… I couldn’t stop laughing. Danny is literally clocksexual. I think that’s loving your job a little too much.


Overall, this was a great read. When I finished, I immediately preordered the sequel, CHAINBREAKER, which comes out 01/02/2018.

If you like Queer characters, an interesting love interests, and some fancy clockwork, this might be the one for you!


CaptureTara Sim is the author of the TIMEKEEPER trilogy (Sky Pony Press) and writer of all things magic. She can often be found in the wilds of the Bay Area, California.

When she’s not writing about mischievous boys in clock towers, Tara spends her time drinking tea, wrangling cats, and occasionally singing opera. Despite her bio-luminescent skin, she is half-Indian and eats way too many samosas.

Tara is represented by Laura Crockett at TriadaUS Literary Agency.

She also sometimes blogs for Quirk Books.

Name pronunciation: “tar-ah” (not “terr-ah”).


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