Danny and Colton are finally living in a sort of peace. Mechanic and clock spirit, their romance is flourishing. But when clocktowers are being blown up in India, and yet time isn’t stopping, Danny is sent to find out exactly what is happening. But to do that, he has to leave Colton. What is happening in India, and what has been stirred up by the recent occurrences in both England and India?
Chainbreaker, by Tara Sim, is the second novel in the Timekeeper trilogy. Fantasy, steampunk, and time all intersect in Tara Sim’s world where clocktowers control time and the mechanics keep them running.
Before I dive into this review, I will say that there may be some spoilers for the previous novel, so you might want to stop now if you haven’t read the first novel, or you can read my review to Timekeeper and then just continue reading. You’ve been warned!
OK, so I’m going to start on the plot, since that’s what’s mostly on my mind. We’ve got this whole mystery going on from the beginning: these clocktowers are falling and time isn’t stopping. This plot point and what develops from it is actually what leads the novel forward, rather than any other aspects of the book. I was following the plot very excitedly, reading very quickly, until I was hit with a pretty big curveball. I won’t say how, but I will say that this new major plot point completely changed my perception of the world Sim had created and I’m not sure if the novel is actually big enough to handle this plot point. I guess I’ll be finding out in the third and last book, though, since it’s not completely resolved (and ends on a bit of a cliffhanger too!).
The plot did lead us to a brand new setting, though. A large part of the novel takes place in India, which, while it has some fantasy elements, is still based on India and its history of being conquered by the English. Sim actually has Indian ancestry, so introducing India in her books must have been close to her heart. The character Daphne too must have meant a great deal to her, as they both straddle two completely different worlds. And I loved seeing India through the characters’ eyes, and while it was in a fantasy novel, I still found myself learning. There was even a helpful few pages at the end that discussed the history of our own India. A great setting, and introduced a lot more plot and some new characters, and while this new Indian plot completely diverged from the plot in the first book and the main overarching plot, I thought the depth it leant the characters was valuable enough to keep it in.
So now that I’ve touched on the characters, let’s talk some more about the characters. Danny has some plot points happen to him, but he’s not the interesting one here (although I do like him as a character). No, let’s talk about all the others! OK, Colton. All we learned about him in the first book, other than that he was a sweet and lovable clock spirit, was a bit about his personality. But the question about how clock spirits came about was still present. I am pleased to say we learn a lot about clock spirits in general and about Colton in particular, and this lends him a complexity and depth as he begins to learn more about himself and his past and doesn’t just see himself in the present.
I had briefly talked about Daphne earlier, and I’m going to mention her again. In the first book in this trilogy, she went through a lot of development, but in this second novel, she really came into her own. Sim did a great job depicting Daphne working with these two parts of herself and trying to figure out who she was, and I loved reading her chapters.
We also get a few new characters in India: Akash, Meena, and Captain Harris stand out in trying to figure out their emotions in the context of the British takeover of India. I can’t say more, but you really need to read it for these guys.
Oh, one last thing. There’s very little romance in this book, as Colton and Danny spend most of it separated. However, there’s so much plot that there’s actually almost no room left for romance, so I didn’t mind.
So what is my final verdict? An enjoyable sequel that does a great deal to develop a brand new plot separately from the first novel, but also works a lot on the characters. Again, not super thrilled at the final twist, but I’ll make up my mind once I’ve seen how the final novel deals with this new complication. I do recommend this book, though, especially if you’ve read Timekeeper. And, so far I definitely recommend the series too!
Have you read Chainbreaker? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!