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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 17-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 lose not only his father but the boy he loves - forever.
This is the stunning first novel in a new trilogy by debut author Tara Sim.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By DabOfDarkness on 03-26-17
A top shelf book!
Set in a Victorian England, the clock towers keep time from fracturing and the Timekeepers keep the clocks ticking along smoothly. Danny Hart is a time mechanic like his father and he hopes to one day free his father and citizens of a Stopped town where a clock tower broke 3 years ago. Meanwhile, he has been assigned temporarily to the clock tower in the little town of Enfield where small things keep going wrong. Danny begins to suspect sabotage even as he learns an unsettling yet still intriguing truth about the clock tower – it does indeed have a clock spirit. Colton seems equally intrigued by Danny and the two share a spark of romance that may or may not go anywhere.
This book was so much more than I was expecting. First, I was sucked in by the mythos of Chronos and how time was shattered but brought back under control by the clock towers and their spirits. Through out the book, we get little snippets of this mythology – never enough to bore and they always intrigued me. Then we learn more about the clock mechanics, their rigorous training, and how it’s more than just sprogs and bolts. There’s also this slightly mystical ability to feel the flow of time coupled with intuition of knowing just what the clock needs to run smoothly.
Danny Hart enters the picture and he has plenty going on in his life. He’s the youngest mechanic to graduate from the training program. His dad has been absent for the past 3 years trapped in the stopped city of Malden and no one has figured out how to free the city yet. Also, the lad survived a nasty accident himself and he’s suffering from PTSD. Lastly, he has finally come out of the closet, now that being gay is no longer a hanging offense. Few people are understanding, including his mom. Luckily, he has a stalwart friend in Cassie, a lass who has been his friend since childhood. As you can see, I was totally caught up in Danny’s character and definitely wanted to follow him around and see what he could accomplish in this book.
When Colton, the clock spirit in Enfield, first appears, he doesn’t tell Danny what he is. Danny guesses early on in their friendship but this presented yet another problem. Few people believed that the clock spirits were real so it wasn’t something he could readily explain to folks. Then as their romance begins, he finds it even more difficult to chat about Colton to folks. The romance is light, sweet, fumbling, and has a few misunderstandings between the two. I look forward to seeing where the author takes their relationship in the next book.
Danny becomes convinced that someone is sabotaging the tower in Enfield and so the hunt for clues begins. I enjoyed this little mystery and I only began to suspect the culprit late into the story. I was delighted that the tale hid the true nature of this person for so long. That made the reveal that much more delicious to me as the reader and it hit a hard punch to Danny when he figured it out.
As for side characters, I felt they were nicely developed and weren’t simple stand ins. Mrs. Hart is obviously grieving for her lost husband and is ready to move on. I think she’s a bit afraid to care too deeply as her son is in the same line of work and has already escaped one nasty accident. Cassie is a mechanic herself, though she tends to enjoy automobiles most. Daphne greatly intrigued me. She has a facial tattoo, wears men’s work clothes, and is rumored to have a parent from India. I hope there is more about her in the next book. I was charmed by Matthias, an older friend of Danny’s who went through a hardship and now is a teacher instead of a mechanic. He often took Danny under his wing in a paternal uncle-ish sort of way.
All together, it’s a great start to the trilogy. I saw that some folks stuck this book in the steampunk genre but I wouldn’t call it steampunk. I don’t recall a single thing being steam-driven. Regardless of what genre you place this book in, it’s going on my top shelf.
I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobookworm.
The Narration: Gary Furlong was a great pick for this book. I loved his rich, older voice for Matthias. He had the perfect on-the-cusp-of-manhood voice for Danny. His female voices were believable and varied (the ladies didn’t all sound the same).
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By MelHay on 04-02-17
Adorable love created.
What did you like best about this story?
I love the magic of the clock towers. They are what keeps time moving at a regulated pace. If anything happens to the clock, time is skewed. We see this happen with a few different troubles with clock towers. Time can even stop in a time zone for a clock tower. Very interesting!
The romance is a sweet draw that I really enjoyed. This story is the first I've read of that's two boys falling in love. The way this is written, I didn't even think twice on the idea. I believed the relationship growth and thought there were innocent moments that were touching as they happen. I loved the romance, the love that grows. It's well written and innocent.
We get a mystery as well. There are a few elements that make us curious. There is the mystery of who's bombing the towers. We know of one bomb coming into the story and see a few more happen. Then there's a town that stopped working, stopping time in that city. Then theirs the thinking of how new clock towers are made. They can make a tower but to create the connection to time is a secret unknown. We learn about the spirits as we go, something that's not really known among the citizens and not always believed.
Any additional comments?
*I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions.
Gary is a new narrator for me. And I found I liked his voice from the moment he read the title. His slight accent was lovely and felt to fit the book style for me. I got a feel for different characters when they spoke, the feel that fit their stations in life. While listening, early in the book (in chapter 2) there is a moment a word is cut short and a pause, like this was done in editing. But that was the only flaw I heard, and forgot about it quickly.
Within the first 5 chapters I got a strong feel for where the story is going with Danny and the clock tower. And I liked the idea. We got the brickwork for what's to come, and I looked forward to seeing Danny experience it all.
The story here is concluded, but there is a thought and worry left for the future. I'm curious where the story will go next with Danny and what we can learn of the clock towers and their spirits.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful