In 1876, someone is destroying the clock towers that control India’s time.
In this second volume in Sim’s Timekeeper series, readers rejoin teenage clock mechanics Danny Hart and Daphne Richards as they travel to Agra to investigate a series of clock tower bombings. Daphne and Danny are given this assignment because of their recent successes thwarting similar attacks in England—although, startlingly, unlike the attacks the teens witnessed, the tower bombings in India have not actually stopped time. As the mechanics piece together what happened, Danny, a white human, grapples with his illicit relationship with Colton, the male clock spirit that controls time in the tower where Danny is the mechanic. While Danny is away, this tower is attacked, and Colton journeys to India to protect Danny. On the way, Colton learns the disturbing truth behind his origins. Sim is adept at worldbuilding, and the book’s romantic scenes sizzle. However, the plot races among an overwhelming number of unresolved conflicts that leave readers unsure what to expect in the sequel. Additionally, mixed-race Daphne’s character does not develop much, despite the fact that her late father had a white English father and an Indian mother and that Daphne’s trip to India plunges her into speculation about her heritage and identity. The narrative contains factual inaccuracies about the Indian setting that may interrupt the suspension of disbelief among readers familiar with it.
Although the story has plenty of ambition and moments of admirably lyrical prose, in the end, it does not fully realize its promising premise. (Steampunk. 14-18)