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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Thursday, January 10, 2019

ARC Review: Firestarter by Tara Sim

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25761057-firestarter
Please Note: I received an advance copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
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.


Review:
I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of the first book in this series, Timekeeper, back in 2016. I fell in love with the fun steampunk style, the diverse characters (especially bi-racial Daphne), the heartbreaking romance, and the suspenseful story.  The final book, Firestarter, continues to deliver all those elements in a sweeping finale.



What I Liked:
Narrative Recap:
Thank you so much, Tara Sim, for recapping the events of the other books!  As a reader, I really appreciate this, as I can never remember what happens in a book that I read over a year ago!  Having said this, if you haven't read the first two books, Timekeeper, and Chainbreaker, you should.  The richness of the characters and story are best appreciated if you have read the other books first.

Steampunk setting:
The universe of this novel is set in Victorian England but is filled with futuristic technology such as automobiles, airships, radios, and automatons.  This makes for a great mix of reality and fantasy.

The roles of women are more modern, as well.  Women have jobs as clock mechanics, wear trousers, and don't need to walk with a male chaperone.  All of these would have been unheard of during the Victorian Era, but because this is a steampunk book, it works.

Diverse Characters:
I love, love, love all the diversity in this book.  There are gay characters, characters from India, and biracial characters, as well.  I love how accepting Danny's parents are of his relationship with Colton.  There is initial shock on their part.  But I think it's realistic, and makes when they accept Danny's choices all the more wonderful.

Daphne is half English and half Indian.  She has very light skin, so most people don't know her heritage right away.  Indians don't consider her a "true" Indian, and British people treat her differently once they know she is not fully British.  I love this because so many people, myself included, find themselves straddled between two cultures.  But this is the first book that explicitly addresses this complex situation.

Romance:
There are two main romances in this book, and both are compelling.  Daphne is attracted to Akesh, an Indian she meets when she visits India.  As she starts to connect with that part of her heritage, Akesh shows her the respect that is her due.  He doesn't try to define her, or push a notion that she is not Indian enough.  In Daphne's position, that is so refreshing!

Danny and Colton have a classic, tragic love story.  Colton is a clock spirit, so he has already lived his life.  As their relationship grows, the inevitable resolution of their situation becomes dire.  If Zavier is successful in freeing time, Colton will disappear.  If he lets another group, the Builders, succeed, a sinister plan will cost many of the clock mechanics their lives.  And if Colton continues on as a clock spirit, what will happen as Danny ages?  Will Colton have to spend eternity alone?





Story:
There are several competing groups that want to change the world order.  Rebels want the British to leave India.  The Builders want to control the clock towers to seize power.  Zavier's group wants to free the time god so that there will not be a need for clock towers and mechanics at all.  All of these groups are vying for supremacy and are willing to do anything to achieve their ends.  This includes acts of terrorism, kidnapping, and torture.  Some of these scenes in this book are brutal in their realism.  But this also makes for a page-turning story.

Overall, this is a worthy third book.  The story was so compelling I wound up staying up reading late into the night.  I cried as people were tortured, and when couples were torn apart.  
Basically, I was enveloped in this world and it's characters.  This is the best kind of reading experience, and I highly recommend this book.



Rating: 



Release Date:  January 15th, 2019

Author:  Tara Sim

Publisher:  Sky Pony Press

Genre:  YA Steampunk Fantasy

Page Length:  488 Pages

Source:  Edelweiss 

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  A worthy conclusion to a fun fantasy series.

 
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