Friday, January 18, 2019

Book Review: Chainbreaker

Chainbreaker (Timekeeper, #2)Chainbreaker by Tara Sim

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Be prepared, I'm about to gush. This is probably the most underrated Young Adult/Teen series of the last 5 years. I am so disappointed every time I see how few people have read Tara Sim's Timekeeper series. Not only does this series have a cool time premise, but it also features a male hero who is gay. And oh my goodness is his boyfriend just the best!

No Second Book Syndrome
Generally in most trilogy series (especially fantasy) there is second book syndrome that happens. It's when the book is really just a stepping stone from book 1 to book 3. Second books tend to have little real action, no true climax curve and end on a cliffhanger. And while there is a cliffhanger in Chainbreaker, there is no way you can say nothing happens or that there isn't enough action. In fact there might be more action and events happening in Chainbreaker than in Timekeeper.

NOTE: Spoilers for book 1 are below! You're been warned!

Diverse Depth
There are so many topics Sim tackles in Chainbreaker; the most prevalent being the relationship between our lead hero Danny and his yummy (if I do say so myself) time spirit boyfriend. We are lucky enough in Chainbreaker to see the world from multiple points of view including that of the time spirits and other stakeholders around Danny.
Chainbreaker takes on politics (not unlike London's political climate today), racism (towards India's population), homosexuality and even the dynamic of having a best friend or colleague that are the opposite gender of you. For an easy to read, fairly fun series, it really does tackle a lot of every day realities that teens are living and breathing. The average adult reader might find there's nothing special about some of these comments or moments; but if I imagine myself as a teen I feel there is a lot of nuggets of information to be gained just by reading the story. Most important is these tidbits of social culture and tactics to use are not lectured but subtly placed in a way that people will consume them without even realizing they've consumed an ideal or perspective. It helps that more than half the book takes place in India (which our author knows well and portrays honestly).

I know my book 1 review rants and raves about the time construct in this series but I just have to bring it up again. As Sim progresses in the story of book 2 we learn a lot more about how time got set-up the way it is and why. Without giving away any spoilers let me just say that it's beautifully constructed and I adore the worldly span that we are given in regards to how time passes on Earth.

Male Lead
A lot of young adult books these days are female leads who went from being no one to being a 'chosen one'. This past holiday I was searching for a new series for my 13-year-old nephew and I realized how few teen books have a male lead AND aren't just about a boy falling in love with some fancy girl. It's so refreshing to have our lead boy in love with another boy in the Timekeeper series. Additionally there isn't a lot of macho crap (like Maze Runner) or wooing the 'princess' type concepts here. Instead Sim gives us an average boy who is good at his job and falls in love with a spirit that complicates his life. There's such a genuineness to the core story that I can easily relate to and I feel will reverberate down the age groups. I also like that because we jump perspectives enough (and Danny isn't an annoying macho hero) this is a book that both girls and boys, men and women will equally enjoy because it has enough diversity and changing points of view. But even if we stayed with Danny 80% of the time he's such a well-built, realistic character that I believe anyone could find a way to relate to him.

I won't hide that there is a good chunk of romance and yearning in this middle book; but I wasn't annoyed by it and so I can confidently say there is a lot of action and plot that happens throughout so I don't think it's overwhelming (like some recent teen books).
Truly this is an underrated series that I'd love to see get a lot more attention!

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1 comment:

Leonore Winterer said...

I remember when you reviewed the first one, and I'm glad the second one is just as good! I really need to get to this one, but my SUB is just toooo big!