Timekeeper by Tara Sim
Narrator: Gary Furlong
Length: 8h 50m
Publisher: Forever Young Audiobooks
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release date: Feb. 14, 2017
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.
Strangely enough, I think this might have been the first steampunk book I’ve read! If I’ve read one before, I can’t recall it. I was fascinated by the world of clock towers, mechanics, and clock spirits. Clock spirits made the clocks and time come alive. When a clock malfunctioned, the clock spirits developed a paralleling injury, and when a clock spirit’s adrenaline shot up, time sped up and jumped forward. The towns rely on clock mechanics to keep their clocks in working order and free of malfunctions, as their ability to exist and go about their normal day is dependent on the clocks keeping perfect time.
The interwoven mythology surrounding time and the clocks often left me confused, but mythology has always been hard for me to understand, so I don’t fault the book for this. I really liked the mystery of Danny’s father being stuck in a town with a broken clock. It kept an eery feel to most of the story that I enjoyed a lot. The beginning was quite slow for me, but I think that was a good thing since it was my first experience with steampunk and I really needed all the background and world building that comprised the first third of the book. The second half of the story went by very quickly for me, and I ended up listening to the last 150ish pages in one sitting. Tara did a great job of almost completely wrapping up the story, but leaving just a hint of the story unanswered to make you intrigued for the next book in the series.
I always listen to audiobooks on 2x speed, but I found myself enjoying Timekeeper more at 1.5x. It allowed me to appreciate Gary Furlong’s accent and a bit more time to digest the complex world building and mythology. This was my first experience with Gary’s narration, and I’m planning to look up more of the books he’s worked on. The character voices were distinct enough to easily tell them apart, and the tonal range between all the various characters was excellent.
I listened to the audiobook on Audible and the sound quality was excellent. I didn’t experience any muffled audio, or scratchiness. The sound levels were consistent throughout the book, and there were no long silences between chapters. This audio did not have any sound effects or music, but Tara’s world was so complex and detailed that I don’t think it was necessary, and I think it might have event taken away from the experience if they had been used.
I thought the story translated great into audio. My only struggle with the audiobook was that the mythology was hard for me to understand, and if I’d had a physical book, I would have been able to go back and reread those passages to digest them better. With that said, I don’t know if I would have enjoyed the book as much if I’d read it in physical form. Gary’s performance really added to the story for me, and the character voices helped me feel immersed in the world better than if I’d read it myself. I recommend checking out the audiobook if you haven’t read this one yet.
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.
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.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Forever Young Audiobooks. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.