When I reviewed the first book in this series last year, I enjoyed it but wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue the series. It didn’t seem like there was much more Sim could do without breaking the rules of her world. But then I got an Audible Plus trial and this was one of the few available titles that interested me.
The Timekeeper trilogy has a lot of good reviews so maybe this is an unpopular opinion but I wish I’d stopped at book one. I found the other two books in this series bloated, nonsensical, and chaotic.
In Chainbreaker, British clock mechanic Danny Hart takes a bit of a narrative backseat. We spend time with his colleague, the restless British-raised ¼ Indian clock mechanic Daphne Richards. The two are sent to colonized India, where clock towers are being bombed but time is still running. I felt like nothing really happens in this book except Danny fighting off a mysterious masked kidnapper who really wants him for reasons. Other than that there are mostly long stretches of the books where the characters do nothing.
Sim, who shares Daphne’s ethnic makeup, does some interesting work weaving together real Indian and British history with this steampunk fantasy version of history. I learned more about colonized India in this book and her author note than I have in all my years of formal education but…IDK there is A LOT of both side-ism. Towards the end of the book Danny goes out of his way to defend a British viceroy.
We also get introduced to a band of terrorist with a heart of gold, but they get more of the spotlight in book 3, Firestarter.
All of the plot that was missing from Chainbreaker is just stuffed right into Firestarter. Our main characters form new alliances and hop around the world in action scene after action scene while dodging a new villain who sprung up out seemingly of nowhere.
This book really annoyed me because a lot of the previously established stakes…just don’t matter in the end? These people really needed Danny for a particular reason but then in the end they don’t use or need him for anything? It’s also not clear to me why some people had to die and others didn’t?
The romantic relationship between Danny and the Enfield clock spirit, Colton, has been the major push behind this whole series. But their love story went from being an improbable fairytale to a selfish, borderline toxic relationship. Their ending felt unearned. In the previous book we learn how clock spirits came to be and it just…didn’t make sense how they kept it a secret for so long?
Audiobook narrator, Gary Furlong does an amazing job on the audiobook. I imagine he and Steve West have to duke it out for the brassy British roles. In Chainbreaker, they made the decision not to do Indian accents, even on characters who are described as having one and I feel like that was the right move. It could have gone bad.
While I can’t say this was my cup of tea, I’m interested in reading more Sim and I also just want to binge more completed YA fantasy series! If you have any that are done or will be done in 2021 leave them in the comments!
Quick review for Audible Plus; if you are an avid reader I wouldn’t recommend it. The selection is just not there and you are better off paying the extra $2 and rolling the dice with Scribd. Audible Plus might work for an occasional audiobook listener who really likes the Audible user interface and doesn’t care about a particular genre or the latest titles.
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.