Firestarter (Timekeeper #3) Review (e-ARC)


Book: Firestarter (Timekeeper #3)

Author: Tara Sim

Published by: Sky Pony Press

Expected Publication: 15th January (TOMORROW!)

Format: e-book

Bechdel Test: FAIL-All female characters conversations revolve around Danny and the one conversation that would count is not with a named female character. A shame because there are so many amazing women in this book.

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

As always, thank you to Edelweiss and Sky Pony for allowing me to read this book early, the Timekeeper trilogy has become one of my favourites over the past three years, so it was amazing to be able to read Firestarter a few months before release date.

Chainbreaker was one of my favourite books of 2017, so of course I was highly anticipating Firestarter and leaped at the chance to get it from Edelweiss, as the series isn’t published in the UK (which it totally should be, get on it UK publishers!). There’s always an element of apprehension going into a series finale, because you’re terrified that the story will end in an unsatisfying way, but luckily this wasn’t the case here. Tara Sim created the most beautiful, heartwrenching, epic finale of a book and I am so pleased that Danny and Colton’s journey came to such a glorious conclusion in this book. Here is a short synopsis of the book:

The crew of the Prometheus is intent on taking down the world’s clock towers so that time can run freely. Now captives, Colton, Daphne, and the others have a stark choice: join the Prometheus’s cause or fight back in any small way they can and face the consequences. But Zavier, leader of the terrorists, has a bigger plan–to bring back the lost god of time.

As new threats emerge, loyalties must shift. No matter where the Prometheus goes–Prague, Austria, India–nowhere is safe, and every second ticks closer toward the eleventh hour. Walking the line between villainy and heroism, each will have to choose what’s most important: saving those you love at the expense of the many, or making impossible sacrifices for the sake of a better world.

The first thing I have to talk about when it comes to this book is the writing. Tara Sim has such a beautiful way with words, every word is wielded to yield maximum emotion from the reader and damn does she do that well. The opening to this book was just so incredibly beautiful and there were some places where I just wanted to cry because the language evoked such emotion. Tara Sim is truly a master of her craft and I wish I could write that well! I will say there was a chapter towards the end with some rather creative word presentation that I didn’t love but aside from that: AMAZING.

I have to say Tara Sim is an evil genius, because she leaves the cliffhanger from Chainbreaker hanging over our heads for several chapters of Firestarter, and I swear I was holding my breath until I found out that Danny was okay!

The characters are, as ever, completely amazing. Danny and Colton have both grown so much since the first book, and whilst their relationship suffers many, many obstacles in this book (as it should be), it is still wonderful to see them together, and seeing them face the possibility of losing each other was heartbreaking. It was nice to see them back together in this book after they spent most of Chainbreaker apart.

Daphne as well has had to go through such a journey over the course of the three books and I was so glad that she had a big part to play in this final book because she has become one of my favourite characters. I was glad that she didn’t immediately forgive Akash and that he really had to work for forgiveness after his actions in the last book, because it made their reconciliation so much more earned.

We get to see a lot more of Zavier in this book (after only really seeing him at the end of Chainbreaker), and I have to admit, he was a very intriguing villain/anti-hero. He comes off as very “getting in the way of the good guys” to start off with but as we find out more about him through the book, he has his own reasons for acting the way he does and he’s not as nefarious as first thought. He actually really reminded me a lot of Danny, something that Danny himself acknowledges in the book, so seeing the two of them interact was quite something and it was nice to see them go from hatred to grudging respect.

As always, the diversity in this series is AMAZING. We have several POC characters, Daphne, who is biracial, and Meena and Akash who are Indian, we have Danny and Colton who are gay and pansexual respectively, we have several other casual queers, we have disabled characters (Zavier and Danny at the end) it’s amazing to see diversity so naturally included in a book series.

There are a few sex scenes between Danny and Colton in this, which I usually don’t like, but Tara Sim writes them really well and they never feel awkward (unless that is the intention), unlike in some other YA books that I’ve read and it’s so great to see on page gay sex.

There were some uncorrected proof errors, but I’m sure these will have been sorted in the final copy of the book.

The pacing was so great throughout, there was tension when there needed to be, it was fast paced when it needed to be but we were also given room to breathe and I cared so much about the characters that it didn’t matter if the plot was moving slowly, I was super invested in the story.

Tara Sim is not afraid to pull punches with your emotions, and she did that many times in this book! Being a final book, obviously not everyone makes it out of the trilogy alive, but Sim is so good at make you feel for her characters that every death felt meaningful, everything had emotion and it was just so heartbreaking, yet also wonderful to read.

The chapters were a great length, a nice mix of long and short, which is just what I like!

Even being the final book in a trilogy, there were still several surprises I wasn’t expecting in this book, some pleasant and some not, but what I loved was that nothing in this story was predictable. I was on the edge of my seat till the very last page wanting to see what happened to the characters and the clock towers and even then, I could not have worked out how the book was going to end!

There are some trigger warnings for this book, including blood and self-harming, so just be aware of that before you go into it.

The ending was just…..WOW. I don’t want to go into too much detail as obviously that would be spoiling, but I will say that I think every character got their perfect ending, and that it was an incredibly emotional ending for me, I nearly cried. This was honestly a masterclass in how to do a series finale, the stakes were high, the emotions were higher and in the end, it all tied up in a super satisfactory way. I cannot wait to see what Tara Sim does next, because every book of hers I’ve read has just gone from strength to strength!

My Rating: 5/5

My next review will be of my first read of 2019 (since both reviews I’ve posted so far this year have been 2018 reads), Leigh Bardugo’s Siege and Storm.