Teenage clock mechanic Danny Hart learns a deadly secret, forcing him to choose between saving the man he loves and saving the world.
In early 1877, Danny is trapped on an airship controlled by rebels. Led by Zavier, a cruel and reticent man grappling with a tragic past, the rebels are determined to free time from the control of humans. At first, Danny resists: If time is restored, Danny’s forbidden paramour, clock spirit Colton Bell, will disappear. But the more Danny learns about the history of the towers and their nefarious creation, the less certain he is of his position—until a rival group, the Builders, makes him choose between a future for himself and a future for the people he loves. The prose is beautifully crafted, and the cast is refreshingly diverse: White protagonists Danny and Colton are queer, Daphne is biracial (white British and Indian), there is ethnic diversity in the supporting cast, and at least one secondary character is transgender. Unfortunately, the story is overplotted, leaving little space to explain previous events or the world’s rules, or to explore the complex and layered characters, and making it a difficult entry point for readers new to the series. Furthermore, since the majority of the story occurs in Zavier’s airship, hovering above unknown countries, the book lacks the rich settings of previous volumes.
A lyrical, fast-paced romance that could have benefited from a simplified plot. (Steampunk. 14-18)