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What: Firestarter (Timekeeper #3) by Tara Sim

Who: Sky Pony Press

When: January 15th 2019

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Sky Pony Press for review via Edelweiss.

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.

Timekeeper is one of my absolute favourite books of all time, and I thought its sequel, Chainbreaker, did a pretty good job of following that up. Unfortunately, Firestarter ended up falling a little bit flat for me.

One of the main things I loved about the previous two books in this series was Colton. He was this sweet, naïve little clock spirit that made you want to wrap him up in a blanket and protect him from all the evils of the world. His sweetness and naiveté were so refreshing to see in a love interest because we all know love interests tend to be brooding and ~evil~. Now, in Firestarter Colton underwent a character change that made it difficult for me to relate Colton of the first book with the Colton in Firestarter. He changed so much that it was almost as if he was a completely new character. I understand that gaining his memories made him different because of the terrible things that had happened to him, but I just couldn’t buy into them changing him as a person so completely. It was so sad to see the Colton I had grown to love so much just disappear.

Another thing that fell flat for me in Firestarter was the plot. I felt like it was far too slow moving, which doesn’t usually bother me if it’s coupled with heavy character development. However, the slow plot in Firestarter was not coupled with anything except for conversations and the gang waiting around for things to happen. There were definitely moments of suspense and action, but I really feel like the plot needed tightening to keep everything interesting. The only time that things really started speeding up and felt super important were the last few chapters which felt too late.

I am a firm believer in not writing in deaths for the sake of character development and emotional turmoil. In fact I quite loathe it because it feels like a gimmick. Which, unfortunately, is how the two main deaths in Firestarter came across to me. I felt like they were in there for emotional impact, and yet I didn’t feel very emotional about them at all because I could see through them. I don’t think a fantasy finale requires character deaths to be impactful. Deaths don’t immediately make a journey harder and/or more life changing than a journey with no deaths. I just felt cheated by the deaths in Firestarter.

This paragraph will contain spoilers for the ending… The ending of Firestarter left me bereft. Technically we get a happily ever after with Colton and Danny… but Danny had to sacrifice half of his remaining life for that to happen. So it wasn’t really a happily ever after because he’s going to die around age fifty. This… is not okay. I felt like it was a pretty shitty way to bring Colton back from the depths of time. Surely Danny and company had all done enough to be granted one little thing by the gods and that could have been Colton coming back. I just don’t see why Danny had to sacrifice half of his life for it. He’d already sacrificed so much and this just felt far too close to a Tragic Queer Story for my liking. Just give them a happily ever after, don’t tarnish it with a shortened life. (End spoilers.)

All in all, Firestarter wasn’t exactly what I wanted it to be. I still enjoyed it but it just didn’t quite live up to the first book that I had adored so much.

© 2019, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning

use of ableist language, abduction, torture, self harm, self sacrifice (could be read as suicide), mother in psychiatric hospital, reference to loss of limb via explosion, murder, explosions, death/murder of friends, colonial themes, death themes, gun fights, physical assault, death/murder of parent

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Posted on: April 30, 2019 • By: Chiara

2 Responses to Firestarter by Tara Sim: A Fine Finale

  1. Sarah says:

    That’s a shame Chiara. Nothing worse than the last in a series being a let down. It’s one of the reasons i’m always apprehensive going into the last book of a series, that and i don’t want the story to be over.
    Never the less, lovely review :-)
    XOXO Sarah.

    • Chiara says:

      I often find that the last book in a series lets me down. Except Champion by Marie Lu. It was the best book out of the series and it was the third and last!

      Thanks, lovely <3

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