This book has been on my radar for almost 2 years now I think and I always thought I’ll read it someday, but never actually picked it up. Finally I couldn’t avoid anymore when our Stars and Sorcery Book club chose this as our first BOTM of 2020 and I’m happy I finally got the chance to dive into this world.
The best part of this book is definitely the world building. It’s not always fully explained but I just loved the idea of clock towers and spirits and time being so interconnected to the cities, and the whole mythology behind it. It felt pretty unique and it’s nice to be surprised. I also loved the alternative historical London of the late 19th century, old in some ways, but modern and more industrialized in many others. What faltered for me was the overall pacing of the book. While I have really come to appreciate slow paced books which give the characters the time to breathe, it just made me feel a bit disconnected here, atleast for the first third of the book. Once the plot picked up a little and more events started to occur, then the book felt much more fascinating and I didn’t wanna put it down. The ending felt a tad bit too convenient but I hope it’s explored more in the rest of the trilogy.
I thought the author depicted Danny’s character very well – his melancholy about his dad, his panic attacks due to his own accident and just the effort it takes to go through life day to day feeling so lonely – I could totally feel his despair and kudos to Tara Sim for that. Colton’s character suffers from a different kind of loneliness, being almost immortal and stuck in a place and while I could empathize with him too, we didn’t get enough of his POV for me to feel really connected to him. Their relationship is almost instalove but considering the kind of lives they were living, I thought their relationship development felt realistic. The separations really heightened their emotions and I could really feel their desperate need to be together whenever they could. There were also some amazingly sweet moments between them, especially in the beginning of their friendship and it was just nice to see them smile and talk and not feel so alone.
Cassie is a great side character and best friend to have and I loved how much she cared for Danny, but showed her worries only by always asking about fixing his auto. She is also immensely supportive of him and I was glad he had her in his life. On the other hand, Danny’s mom felt very disconnected from life in general which pissed me off in the beginning but I slowly came to realize how debilitating her grief must be. Brandon and Daphne were interesting additions to the cast as well and I hope we’ll get to see more of them in the future.
At the end, I can say this was an interesting beginning to a different kind of fantasy which didn’t completely blow my mind, but kept me engaged enough to continue. It has great world building, a lovely cast of characters, a cute but forbidden romance and a fascinating mystery that’ll keep you guessing. I might not be rushing to pick up the next book yet, but I’m very interested to continue the series – particularly because the sequel takes place in a British occupied India and I really want to know how the author weaves India’s colonization into this story.