I really enjoyed this book. It’s Queer lit in an alternate Victorian era. There were some negatives I’ll go into first. It took a while for things to kick off when it came to action and the mystery. I also wasn’t interested in some of the mythology about time and earth creation. There were chapters dedicated to learning about Aetas and Oceania. I felt like those broke the flow too much, unfortunately. I see why the info may be necessary for a future book in the series but didn’t feel it fit in well here. I’m still giving it 4 stars even with those issues I had. I’ll tell you why.
I just really liked the main character.I liked following Danny on this journey. Danny is dealing with grief over a father he hasn’t completely lost. It’s like his father is gone but he still has hope that he will come back and wants to do something about it but he isn’t allowed to.That’s a lot to deal with. Grief is shown in different ways in this story.Danny, his mother, and other characters as well. Danny is in a frantic state through a lot of this then also has to deal with some PTSD from an accident prior to the start of the book. I also thought the portrayal of Danny’s PTSD was interesting. I just found his character compelling.
Danny and Colton’s relationship was really good. I thought their moments together were really strong and beautifully written. I couldn’t help but smile at the pairing. Those moments where their relationship was developing kept me reading. It got me to the point where the mystery and action really kick off. I didn’t mind as much that the mystery of the clock towers and protester and everything were slower because Danny and Colton filled the time to me. When the Aetas chapters broke the flow for me Danny and Colton fixed it.
I liked Daphne as a character. She’s dealing with being a minority in a way that not everyone can tell but then also ways that people see right away. She’s the only female clock mechanic we see in this book I believe. She has to deal with the way people will perceive her in her place of work and for her work. We only see a taste of it but you can tell these things happen a lot. She also is a biracial girl who can pass as white. You see her constantly trying to bridge gaps and struggle to do so. I almost wish we could see more of her story because I found her character really interesting.
After a certain point, I was really pulled in and wondering how will things end. Can they get a happily ever after out of this? Part of that was the love of the characters. The story also just happens to pick up after a certain event in the book. The stakes are raised and you have to know how things will end up.
I love the detail Tara Sim went into with this. This alternate 1875 London was really cool to read. The thought process that had to go into what kind of technological advances made sense in this world. Also, how women in society or homosexuality in society might be different or the same in some ways for this world. So, I loved reading the information on The Timekeeper’s London in the back of the book. Really puts some thoughts I had in perspective.
I liked a lot about this but I’m not sure where things will go in another book since I think there are plans for two more. The little hint at possible future problems at the end didn’t make me too excited for the next book honestly but I’ll probably still pick it up.