- Page Count: 368
- Release Date: November 8, 2016
- My Rating: 4 stars
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.
This was such an original and charming story!! It’s set in a version of Victorian England that has cars, telephones, and is more socially advanced (so they’re cool with gay couples and women as mechanics). There’s some retold mythology about Chronos at the base of their society and it’s told throughout the book between chapters. The basic idea is that people needed to step in to control time, so they rely on the clock towers in each city. If anything were to happen to one of those clocks, time in that city would Stop and the inhabitants would be trapped in a time loop.
Danny is a young clock mechanic whose father is trapped in a town that was Stopped, so he’s dealing with a lot of guilt, anxiety, and general fear of clocks. At the start of the story he meets an apprentice in the clocktower and is attracted to him. The apprentice has never read any fairy tales, so Danny tells him stories while he works. Every time they meet the apprentice will have whatever injury the clock tower has (like a mangled hand), but then will be whole by the time Danny’s done working.
Another character tells Danny how he fell in love with the spirit of a clock tower and how it only leads to doom… and then Danny discovers that the “apprentice” is actually the spirit of the Colton clock tower. There are a lot of people protesting the clock towers and trying to blow them up and a whole bunch of other obstacles to their romance.
Danny & Colton were adorable, though. This was a really sweet story in a creative world and I’m glad I read it! I was never superpulled into it, but it was generally fun the whole way through. I know the description says that it’s a series, but this book wraps up the plot enough that it could pass as a standalone. So don’t worry about cliffhangers or anything.
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC!
See my Q&A with author Tara Sim