Chainbreaker (Timekeeper #2) Review (e-ARC)


Book: Chainbreaker (Timekeeper #2)

Author: Tara Sim

Published By: Sky Pony Press

Expected Publication: 2nd January

Format: e-book

I received this book for free via Edelweiss, this in no way affected my opinion of this book.

As always, thank you to Edelweiss and Sky Pony Press for allowing me to read this book, I loved Timekeeper, so I was super excited to get to read Chainbreaker a few weeks early!

I loved Timekeeper when I read it last year, so of course, there is always an element of nerves when you’re reading a sequel to a book you really loved, as you’re worried it won’t live up to the first book but that was absolutely not a problem here, Chainbreaker was even better than it’s predecessor! Here is a short synopsis of the book:

Clock mechanic Danny Hart knows he’s being watched. But by whom, or what, remains a mystery. To make matters worse, clock towers have begun falling in India, though time hasn’t Stopped yet. He’d hoped after reuniting with his father and exploring his relationship with Colton, he’d have some time to settle into his new life. Instead, he’s asked to investigate the attacks.

After inspecting some of the fallen Indian towers, he realizes the British occupation may be sparking more than just attacks. And as Danny and Colton unravel more secrets about their past, they find themselves on a dark and dangerous path–one from which they may never return.

You know when a book starts with a map, that you are onto a good thing, and this one started with a map of India, so you know, only good omens starting this one!

The character development in this was just INCREDIBLE! We get to see so much more of both Daphne and Colton in this book and both of their story arcs were so amazing, so emotional. Colton’s went to a place I never expected before reading this, I don’t want to spoil anything, but have the tissues handy. It was nice seeing him have his own story arc outside of Danny, and I feel like I really know Colton much better after this book, which is nice. I mean I loved him in Timekeeper, but now he really is my precious cinnamon roll who must be protected at all costs. Daphne’s storyline was also beautiful, seeing her go to India and struggle with finding a place there even though she has Indian blood felt so raw and even though I knew the author had taken this from her own experience as she is half-Indian, I wasn’t expecting Daphne’s storyline to touch me anywhere near as much as it did. When I wrote my review of Timekeeper, I said I wanted to see more of Daphne and learn more about her in the next book and I definitely got that with Chainbreaker. Danny to a certain extent kind of fades into the background somewhat in this book, he’s still there, but his story doesn’t have the same emotional impact as Daphne and Colton’s. I didn’t really mind that though, because Daphne and Colton’s stories were so strong. I also would have liked to see a little more Cassie in this one, as she was one of my favourite characters in Timekeeper, I hope we get to see her more in the final book of the series.

It was a little sad not to see Danny and Colton together much, as their romance is very shippable and they are very cute together, but I think it was good we got to see them apart in this second book as it allowed them to develop independently of each other, which I always like to see. We do get to see a kind of sex scene between them before Danny leaves though, which is nice, and it wasn’t overly smutty, it was actually kind of nice (which feels strange for me to see as I usually hate sex scenes). There’s a scene featuring Colton with a former boyfriend and I thought that was pretty cool as you rarely ever get to see exes in YA fiction.

There was a slight time jump which I wish the author had made clearer at the start as I was a little confused to start off with, until I worked out some time had passed between Timekeeper and the start of this book.

I liked the little clock graphics at the start of each chapter which showed the chapter number, I thought they were really cool!

The writing in this was just gorgeous, but not in a way that feels like the author is trying too hard to make it pretty, it was just lovely writing!

It was lovely to see Danny’s parents in this book, it is so rare to see present parents in YA, and even rarer to see them interact with their child’s love interest, so all the scenes with them and Colton in this book made me really happy. It was also really nice to see Danny’s dad have an active role in this one after the events of Timekeeper.

It was very cool to find out that Danny lives in Lambeth, because I was actually born there, so it makes me feel like I have a cool link with him!

The world building in this was amazing, we find out so much more about the clock towers and how they came to be, we get a whole new setting in India which introduces a whole new culture and religion and customs and new characters as well, plus it was cool to read a book set in India as I’ve never read one set there before. Tara Sim is a master at weaving together different threads to create her alternative Victorian world, it’s so engrossing and wonderful. The development of the clock towers was especially interesting, how they came to be is just horrifying!

Seeing the interactions between the British main characters and the Indian ones was quite interesting, especially considering the time period, some of the racism towards the Indian characters was quite difficult to read and it’s horrifying to think that this actually happened under the British Empire.

There were so many interesting twists and mysteries in this one, involving the falling clock towers in India and I really enjoyed seeing where the story went, I didn’t guess a single thing and was on the edge of my seat the entire time. The plot was so much faster paced, tighter and even more interesting this time around, I sped through it in two weeks, which is pretty fast for me for a Netgalley read, I was obsessed!

There was the occasional error, in spelling and numbering of chapters, but since I read an uncorrected proof, I assume these errors will have been corrected in the final version.

There is another new romance introduced in this one, Daphne, and an Indian pilot Akash. It was very shippable, but given what happens in the end, I have serious worries for what might happen with the two of them in the next book!

There’s so much amazing diversity in this one, not only is Danny gay, and Colton pansexual, Daphne is biracial and there’s an interracial gay relationship between a British captain and an Indian sepoy.

There’s a bit in this where Daphne smokes, which I found quite interesting as I’m not sure I’ve ever read a YA book where a MC smokes? I also liked seeing the inclusion of Hinduism in this as I also don’t think I’ve read a YA book which has featured that and it was cool to see how Sim intertwined a real world religion with her own world’s mythology.

I liked that the author used italics to show when they were speaking in Hindi, obviously the lines were in English, but the italicisation really helped in making sure I knew they were speaking Hindi, not English.

Why are all the Jo’s in books Josephines? Seriously? I love seeing characters that share my nickname but it would be nice if for once I found a Jo in a book that was a Joanne, like me!

The ending to this book…..WOW. JUST WOW. I have not felt this personally attacked in a long time, THAT CLIFFHANGER. It comes close to the end of Mark of Athena and the end of A Gathering of Shadows in the whole “How the hell could you make me wait a year for the next book after this author?” stakes. The entire last few chapters are really intense and that ending…..just wow. I need the next book like now okay? Not next year, now! I’m seriously hoping I get to read an ARC of the third book, because I don’t think I can wait until 2019 to find out what happened after that.

The acknowledgements…..I don’t usually talk about the acknowledgements to books very often, but Tara Sim’s father died last year and she dedicates the book to him in the acknowledgements and it’s just so sad and yet so sweet, I nearly cried while reading them.

This was an incredible sequel, with stunning world building, amazing character development, a glorious new setting and lots of twists and turns along the way. I cannot wait for the conclusion to this trilogy!

My rating: 5/5

My next review will be of my first read of 2018 (since both reviews I’ve posted so far in 2018 have been 2017 reads), Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone.