Audiobook Review | “Timekeeper” Book No.1 of Timekeeper Trilogy by Tara Sim, narrated by Gary Furlong

Posted Sunday, 9 April, 2017 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Digital Audiobook by: I am a blog tour hostess with Audiobookworm Promotions wherein I have the opportunity to receive audiobooks for review or adoption (reviews outside of organised blog tours) and host guest features on behalf of authors and narrators alike. Wherein I have become quite happily surprised how much I am now keen on listening to books in lieu of reading them in print. My journey into audiobooks was prompted by a return of my chronic migraines wherein I want to offset my readings with listening to the audio versions.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “Timekeeper” via the publicist at Audiobookworm Promotions (of whom was working directly with the author Tara Sim) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Why I was curious about this audiobook:

I personally love stories involving ‘time’ in all the variants literature will afford the writer to create within their scope of world-building, genre and character journey. I oft-times broach how much I love time slip, time shift and time travel stories but that is only one part of how I love seeing ‘time’ manipulated in fiction. Within the Steampunk spin-offs – I appreciate Automation, Clockpunk and other such variants of where ‘time’ can become mingled with Hard Science Fiction elements as much as Victorian worlds which progressed forward in time at a different pace than our own reality.

I liked the premise of this one simply because of how unusual it would be set an entire series around ‘time’ and how ‘time’ is perceived to be controlled and/or bent out of order whilst the maintenance of ‘clocks’ were directly connected to the continuum of time itself. Whilst reading The Clan Chronicles, time is a key component of the series – especially in regards to how travel can become bent or wielded rather through different portals which can transport objects and people if you know how to use the energy properly which not only pertains to ‘time’ but to matter, energy and everything else combined. I guess you could say I love finding a ‘thinking man’ story-line where part of what you love curling inside a narrative such as this is seeing beyond what is being said and envision the mental map of how the writer originated the foundations of the tale itself. I like seeing if I can ‘see behind the veil’ sometimes, and these stories are readily curious due to the nature of their frameworks.

I am also an open-minded reader – wherein I like reading stories about different lifestyles and perspectives which parlays itself through multicultural traditions or religions and for all stories which fall under #ownvoices and #WeNeedDiverseBooks movements whilst pertaining to what I consider the fuller scope of how #diverselit leads into #EqualityInLit via the essay I wrote a few years back.

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Audiobook Review | “Timekeeper” Book No.1 of Timekeeper Trilogy by Tara Sim, narrated by Gary FurlongTimekeeper
by Tara Sim
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Gary Furlong

Two o’clock was missing.

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

Places to find the book:

Genres: Clockpunk, LGBTQIA Fiction, Science Fiction, Upper YA Fiction


Published by Forever Young Audiobooks

on Valentine's Day, 2017

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 8 hours 50 minutes (unabridged)

Published By: Forever Young Audiobooks (@FYAudiobooks)

Converse via: #UpperYA, #Timekeeper and #Clockpunk

About Tara Sim

Tara Sim

Tara Sim is the author of Timekeeper (Sky Pony Press) and can typically be found wandering the wilds of the Bay Area, California. When she’s not chasing cats or lurking in bookstores, she writes books about magic, clocks, and explosives.

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A clock mechanic and a clock spirit:

Danny struggles to overcome flashback nightmares of the accident he survived which had roll-over effects of not only disturbing his night routines but his daylight hours as well. Danny found himself fumbling with his confidence whilst he was around Brandon. He couldn’t help himself being distracted by the clothes Brandon chose to wear on the job but also, there was something about his personality which intrigued Danny, even if he wasn’t ready to admit it.

The more time Danny and Brandon spent with each other working on repairing the clock tower, the more opportunities they had to get to know each other better. Brandon would encourage Danny to share more of his personal story, including what befall his father (as this was one of the most shared stories of the area) whilst endeavouring to understand Danny better than he did. Danny in turn found the whole situation curious as he wasn’t used to people asking him questions about ‘known events’ and humoured his friend with stories and information. He felt he could confide in Brandon without his words being re-shared with others; a comfort was found in this exchange as Danny was too often jaded by losing trust in others.

Danny did not initially realise nor recognise Brandon’s true identity as a ‘clock spirit’ if he had he might have protected his heart a bit more, as he had grown up with the lore around clock spirits. Of how humans who fell in love with the spirit of clocks would bring untoward danger to both the continuum of time but also the order of the days in which they lived. The two were not meant to be intermingled nor drawn together to such a degree of connection as it was dangerous to merge two entities which exist concurrent to each other. A clock spirit is so intimately tied to ‘time’ to fall in love with this spirit would be unwise.

Despite the warnings of distancing himself from a clock spirit, Danny found on thing united the two together: their love of stories. Danny would share fiction and mythological stories with the clock spirit, leading the two boys into though-provoking conversations and dissections of what the literary stories were attempting to teach them. And, then there was the small matter of Brandon’s real name…

My review of Timekeeper:

An entire hour goes misplaced and agitates the locals, but no one moreso than Danny who is the clock’s master keeper. As a clock mechanic, it’s up to Danny sort out the reason behind the clock’s unusual ticking ‘out of step with time’ whilst keeping his head held high as those around him (including the mayor) start to allow doubt to soak inside their musings on whether or not he can handle this situation. Danny has issues with panic attacks and the overwhelming fear of the very entity in which he was natural gifted to fix; or rather to heal past these inconsistencies: the clock tower itself.

When a new apprentice is discovered inside the tower to provide help for Danny (Brandon), Danny is at a proper loss how to handle getting used to another apprentice. He has a long history of having issues of behaviour towards apprentices; as there is well-sustained history of bullying. This new apprentice, however, had the worst misfortune of not being the most talkative of individuals, which put Danny in a bit of an awkward situation.

There is a theory of where time is as fragile as a piece of thread, where time can become fragmented and broken in certain places to where if those pieces are not properly addressed all of time might be put at risk. This is where Danny is a natural at understanding the power pulsing through the clock’s tower where he can touch the very fabric of time through it’s threading; by using tools which would not only repair this splintered junction of time but in effect, each re-stitched piece of time allowed time to be restored. At the moment of restoration, the lost ‘hour’ or passage of time would allow the clock tower to reflect the regained bit of time on it’s clock face. It’s a clever assertion of how time can be both restored and recaptured once jettisoned into the unknown dimensions past our world-view.

Sim slowly let’s out the back-story of what affects Danny’s mindset and emotional well-being regarding his innate fear of clocks and the methodology in healing them. He was once a riser of the ranks amongst all clock mechanics; an ingenue of sorts, of whom others’ could only hope to come close in both knowledge and skill. Until of course, his past caught up with him and his inability to find a way to move past the assault of memories which start to cloud his present with added strife whilst he’s on the job. It is only when he starts to realise the larger scheme of things that he tries to take heart against this blockage of fear: he hasn’t lost his position amongst his peers but he’s in danger of losing the confidence of the man who places him assignments.

What held my interest is how anything out of the ordinary happening to the clock towers – such as misplaced gears, parts or even the pieces of the clock on it’s face – would off-set the natural order of life within the tower’s reach. This was interesting because ‘time’ was running normally elsewhere but wherever a tower had fallen to needing repair, that is where the people had the most trouble living through their regular routines. Everything was ‘off’ for them; including how to pace their actions and how to live through hours which were not equally being kept in ‘time’ nor ‘sequence’.

There was a mix-up in identities regarding ‘Brandon’ – where Danny started to piece together the key issue wasn’t necessarily an identity issue but rather, a misunderstanding of who the original apprentice was in reality. When Danny first meets the real apprentice assigned to him, he sees the truth of the ‘other’ Brandon – thus bringing to light the presence of ‘clock spirits’; the very spirits he was warned about throughout his life. There were small hints towards who the original Brandon was but Danny never quite put the observations together with the information he knew about clock spirits; thus confusing the situation or rather, to accept a truth he took on the surface rather than confirming who the boy might have actually been.

Mathias and Danny had a close friendship but when Colton became a strong part of Danny’s life, he found that he had to keep a distance between his best friend and the growing connection he was feeling for Colton. Mathias was the one who had mentored Danny and helped encourage him when Danny was down on his luck; especially after the accident. What Danny was having trouble reconciling is why Colton felt it was necessary to self-harm his clock tower if only to draw attention to the tower by having visitors tend to it’s wounds. This is the first time I’ve seen a layer of mental health and personal harm intermingling within the backdrop of  a Speculative story-line which fits into the narrative quite organically; because you can perceive the point-of-view Colton is coming from; the desperate choice he was making to simply find companionship and a way to interact if only short-term. It was almost as if this was showing a foreshadow of how quickly depression can set in when you’ve become isolated and alone. The reason Danny had to choose to forestall telling Mathias about Colton is because Mathias had fallen in love with his own clock spirit to dangerous end results.

Colton didn’t realise how much he was meant to be the guardian of his towne – of Enfield, to ensure it’s continuity of time was not faltered by breaks in time’s sequences nor in the splinters of how time can unravel unevenly and miscount the hours. Colton was only thinking of his personal woes – of how he couldn’t handle being alone and in effect, the missing ache of his heart he had from not seeing Danny. He thought by self-harming himself (ie. the clock) he could bring Danny back and thereby, find a way to keep from feeling depressed. This was a life lesson moment for Colton; whose selfish actions were taking on a tragic after effect from pushing ‘time’ too far against itself.

At the same time, Danny was struggling with realising his issues with his father’s disappearance was wrapped up in the personal heartache of regretting how he left things with his father before he was gone. His mother isn’t handling the situation any better as she only wishes to relocate closer to where the father was last seen; for he’s trapped inside a towne whose clock tower is not only malfunctioning but the whole area is lost in time; almost as if that area is no longer keeping track of the hours alongside the rest of the region but rather, has become inverted on itself to where reality doesn’t exist. Danny and Colton find a ready confidence in confiding in each other; they trust each other and find they can talk openly about heady topics without fear of rejection or misunderstandings. This in effect drew the boys closer together. And, this was the greatest worry in Danny’s heart; how to remain true to himself, his emotions and his heart if it meant placing everyone else in danger?!

This is such an emotional story to listen too, as Sim has interwoven such a soul-centred narrative where you truly feel the emotions of her characters. The oppressive weight bearing down on Danny is not just realistic but heavily felt as you tune into the angst of what he is faced to choose between: the clocks, his father or Colton. He’s caught in an impossible situation – does he own his heart’s truth or does he sacrifice his heart and the love he feels for Colton to save everyone else? And, what is of the truth behind the attacks on the clock towers? Who would have the best advantage if the clocks froze or ceased to clock time at all? This is what your thinking about as your listening whilst trying to piece everything together as Danny tries to determine what he should do. Sim gives you so much to think about – the past adversities affecting Danny, the impossible situation of the present involving Colton and the curious unknown of the future which seems to sit directly on Danny’s path – where his actions would determine everything.

I truly heart this series and cannot wait to see what Ms Sim does with the next two installments to complete the story by which this sets a strong foundation! I am very grateful to have ‘met’ this whilst the series had a debut and is just starting to wing it’s way into reader’s hearts!

On the mythology aspect of Chronos:

Part of the arc of this world-building is built around the mythology behind ‘Chronos’ and how the Gods had taken an absence from the world to allow humans to retake the control of the world. Chronos was the original ‘time keeper’ but he has since given his duties over to others; the clock mechanics especially to carry on his work. There is a hinting towards how this world is rooted in the mythos of Gods/Goddesses (ie. stepping out of Greek Pathos) wherein the concept of religions outside this context is not as readily explored but is mentioned; mostly as an off-set to where Chronos was pertinent to this society’s history and accountability to where religious orders were attempting to reconvene the world on a path towards One who oversees all and provide a different foundation for the people who live in this world. It’s similar to Urban Fantasy mechanics where the ‘fantasy elements’ endeavour to cross-enter into a contemporary setting/world by bringing their fantastical elements straight into a different dimension than the one they originate.

Chronos is not the only mythological person mentioned in this series but is a key component given that the series revolves around ‘clocks’ and ‘time’ whilst influenced by those who are the keepers of time itself.

On the writing style of Tara Sim:

Sim pulls your inside Danny’s world by giving you a reason to champion his efforts, as you walk alongside him during the latest ‘unexplained’ issue of ‘lost time’. She breathes life into her world by shifting back and forth through the environment of clock towers and what goes through the mind of one of their mechanics put in charge of their maintenance and repair. She has stitched inside her novel a bit of cheeky humour – where she pulls back the tension with well-placed humour to cut the thickening of the scene from boiling over too much in angst or suspense.

There is a pallor cast over this world – everywhere you look there is a bit of a gloomy edge to the scenery and the setting of where we entreat into Danny’s world. There are hardships present here and as the background seeks to express the emotions of the characters and of the positions of the clock towers; you see the harder lines of how in this reality, life is lived under a pressure boiler. Sim taps into how to fuell the back-story of her characters by presenting different points-of-view to give the reader a proper chance to envision how this world and the differences in classes can relate to our contemporary world; especially due to how many things both worlds have in common with each other. This is a story of the working middle-class and how there are everyday struggles to not just survive but to rise above where living by paycheck is not commonplace; where life can encourage more out of the hours than what was necessary.

I definitely consider this a strong entrance into Clockpunk – the variant of Steampunk, still lodged in the Victorian past but with a strong influence of clocks to where the stories interweave through technology which is limited by the presence of clocks and the full use of their technology to carry forward.

On Equality in Lit:

Sim openly explains how Danny came to understand his sexuality and when he chose to come out of the closet. He understand the gravity of being ‘out’ now when the rules had been changed to allow his sexuality not to remain hidden but could be presented quite forthright to both his peers and society at large. You can sort out see a bit of foreshadowing towards this revelation – especially when you stop to consider how Danny first reacted towards seeing Brandon; how his observations of his character and appearance might tip forward how he felt about the boy without coming out directly to stipulate his own sexuality.

She has written a series which fits organically inside LGBTTQPlus section of literature but also, a telling narrative about forbidden love, self-harm, mental health, depression and overcoming events which could lead to PTSD.

On choices of language and content:

Sim made choices of strong language where there are moments where the words are stronger than what you would typically find in YA. I didn’t find this to distract me from listening to the story, as I had already felt this story would be placed in Upper YA shelves vs being a more traditional YA story which would be for all audiences without worrying about language or content being too mature for younger ears and minds. I do think a mature reader who falls under the Upper YA section would appreciate this story if they have outgrown the stories for their own age. It is a good story for transitional readers who are about to fly into Adult Lit and want a stronger story which opens the door for different points of view and philosophies, which in the end could be explored through conversations with their peers, parents and guardians.

Likewise, there are semi-adult situations throughout the story-line which would be realistically true to a story such as this one. Again it is a good story to start a conversation and have a hearty convo about the themes of the story and the harder context of how destructive the disturbances of time were to the overall continuity of the story.

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specifically in regards to the audiobook:

As I am relatively new to reviewing audiobooks and listening to them with a greater frequency than of the past, I am appreciative of Ms Jess providing a cursory outline of how best to articulate my listening hours on behalf of this audiobook and the others I shall be blogging about or reviewing in future. I’ve modified the suggestions to what I felt were pertinent to respond too on my own behalf as well as keeping to the questions I felt were relevant to share.

About Gary Furlong

Gary Furlong

Gary Furlong grew up in Wexford, Ireland. Throughout his life he has worn many a hat: He has worked as a teacher in Niigata, Japan; a puppeteer in Prague; an improv artist in Memphis, Tennessee; and as a singer and actor all over Ireland. He started narrating audiobooks in late 2015 and hasn't looked back.

Gary made his acting debut in the musical Godspell as a student. Since then he has pursued acting both on the amateur and professional circuits. Notable roles include Tom Collins in Bare Cheek's production of Rent in 2010.

Over the course of his five years in Japan, he was an actor, director, and audio producer. It was during this time that he discovered his interest in audiobooks and voice-over.

He now works full-time as an audiobook narrator and voice actor from his home in Ireland.

Regards to the Narrator’s Individual Character performances:

Danny Hart: One interesting bit is how the narrator changed his voice for Danny between spoken dialogue or internal thinking bits to his narrative passages where you can see the shift in the voice he uses to distinguish the two for the reader.

Brandon/Colton: A soft-spoken apprentice with less knowledge of the job, Danny would hope someone of his age would have but one who was a bit of quick-study where he could pick up the basics of the job quite quickly.

My favourite exchanges were between Colton and Danny, as this seemed to be one of the stronger individual character sections of the novel; where you can see the joy of how this narrator embraces his characters to such a realistic extent of believably. He allows the vulnerability of their connection to come through his voicing of their characters but also the soulfulness of innocent love and the uncertainty of the future all relationships face.

Danny’s Mum: Her tired voice and the exasperation of attempting to keep everything together is evident in how she expresses herself.

Minor characters: There is a distinct separation from Danny’s character’s voice and the supporting cast, where the transitions between characters falls into a rhythm of how the narrative is paced. I especially loved the changing accents; there were thicker accents for some of the characters which were vindictive of their occupations and places of residence.

The only time I felt the narrator might have faltered a bit is when he’s shifting to a woman’s POV and voice, as this comes off a bit stilted as you can’t distinguish the gender but rather take it point of fact the ‘voice’ is meant to be feminine.

How the Novel sounded to me as it was being Read: (theatrical or narrative)

This is what I would call spoken narrative with short pauses of becoming more interactive and near-theatrical in how the narrator chose to change his voice and/or put empathsis on certain phrases, words and scenes. It’s an interesting mixture of spoken narrative set to a fast pitch of a pace, but not one that is too fast to follow the narrator into the context of the story. If anything it felt like the narrator was embracing the characters and the world-building, to where he could find the rhythm this world befit narration; giving an organic credence to his choices.

Regards to Articulation & Performance of different sections of the novel:

You can barely detect the accent of the narrator, but it his how he chose to narrate the story which was most fascinating. I personally liked the narrator’s approach to this story with the one flaw being of articulating ‘female’ characters as noted below. It is the second time I’ve heard a male voice narrating a novel and I have come to acknowledge I truly love male narrators with accents; one from the UK and one from Ireland. I clearly need to listen to more narrators from overseas as I find they pull me into stories quite well vs narrators from other locations.

Notes on the Quality of Sound & the Background Ambiance:

Although there aren’t any additions to the soundscape, in of itself, the narration provides it’s own swell of ambiance due to how the narrator is choosing to reveal the character’s thoughts and speech patterns. You could almost see how this delivery of words and pacing proved to be It’s own unique ambiance for both ‘time’ and ‘setting’ within this world.

Preference after listening to re-Listen or pick up the book in Print?

I honestly liked how this was presented as an audiobook – I might change my mind in the future, but for right now, I’d be game to re-listen to this ahead of the second installment of the series being released. I am unsure if I want to tempt fate and pick up the print edition for I have such a strong preference for the audio version.

In closing, would I seek out another Gary Furlong audiobook?

Yes, although what is more important is I hope he continues to narrate this series for continuity sake and for the beauty of listening to the trilogy with one singular voice who understands the voices, the pacing and the world-building of the author.

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 This blog tour is courtesy of Audiobookworm Promotions:

Host badge for Audiobookworm Promotions.

Whilst participating on:

Timekeeper audiobook blog tour hosted by Audiobookworm Promotions

My apologies to the author and publisher; my seasonal allergies this year have truly been troubling as they have turnt my reading life upside down. I have severe to extreme pollen allergies and the past fortnight (especially!) has quite grueling for me as the pollen levels have been to such an extreme high level, I haven’t been able to continue reading nor blogging. I’ve tried my best to meet my deadlines but a few fell short of their due dates as I’ve been struggling to find a balance between my allergy attacks and resuming my readings. Therefore, despite my best intentions I needed extensions – whilst I rested and recovered and dealt with the severity of my allergies. I continued to work on this review as soon as I was physically able to give more time to it and posted it immediately thereafter.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Timekeeper”, book synopsis, narrator biography, narrator photo,  author biography, Audiobookworm Promotions badge and the audiobook tour badge were all provided by Audiobookworm Promotions and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Audiobook Review Banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all. "I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story) more >> | Hire me as a betareader | Policies & Review Requests
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Posted Sunday, 9 April, 2017 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Audiobook Narrator Interview, Audiobookworm Promotions, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Clockpunk, Clockwork & Mechanisations, Clogs & Gears, Coming-Of Age, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, England, Equality In Literature, Futuristic Fantasy, Genre-bender, Indie Author, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Literature for Boys, Science Fantasy, Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Suspense, Teenage Relationships & Friendships, Upper YA Fiction, Young Adult Fiction




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