Timekeeper: Review, Spotlight, Audio Excerpt, Interview & Giveaway

March 25, 2017 Blog Tours, Giveaways, Reviews 11 ★★★★

Author: Tara Sim

Narrator: Gary Furlong

Length: 8h 50m

Publisher: Forever Young Audiobooks

Genre: YA Fantasy

Release date: Feb. 14, 2017

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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.

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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. Follow her on Twitter at @EachStarAWorld, and check out her website at tarasim.com.

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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.

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Timekeeper is a combination alternate history, mystery, and romance. It’s also labeled as steampunk, though, I have a difficult time seeing how the novel fits into that category. Maybe because of the gears and clocks? And yes, there are automatons and dirigibles. But, that’s not really the focus of the story. The focus of the story, for me at least, is the characters.

Danny is a mechanic, tasked with keeping the clocks in his area of London working. While working on one particular tower, he meets Colton, who just happens to be the clock spirit. It takes Danny a bit of time to figure out that Colton is the spirit, and not an apprentice mechanic. Colton goes so far as to damage his clock to get Danny’s attention. Danny puts his career in danger to be near Colton. It turns out that falling in love with a clock spirit is not a good career move. I really enjoyed the scenes with Danny and Colton flirting and getting to know each other. Danny teaches Colton to read and tells him stories like Rapunzel. These scenes are very sweet and adorable. Now I know what you are thinking. How will falling in love with a clock spirit work out? Danny asks that same question a couple of times during the novel. And it was definitely on my mind as I listened to the novel. I’m ok with the concept of falling in love with a spirit. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is one of my favorite movies! But I did wonder if everything would work out for these two.

In addition to Colton, we meet some other clock spirits, including Big Ben. I really delighted in meeting the different clock spirits, especially learning how what happens to the clocks manifests on their physical bodies of the spirits. Big Ben’s spirit has the same exact plaque tattooed on his arm that is on the tower. Colton has a cut on his face when the clock face is damaged. I found the connection between the clocks and their spirits very clever.

I enjoyed the writing in Timekeeper. It is imaginative and quick-witted. The aspect of the story that I didn’t really follow, however, was the story-building behind how or why time works in this alternate world. There is some interspersed mythology of Aetas who invited the magical clocks. I really had a difficult time following these chapters and I might have enjoyed the novel better without them.

I appreciated the narration by Gary Furlong. It enhanced my reading experience considerably. The narration was smooth and concise and the characters were distinctive. The added bonus of Mr. Furlog’s Irish accent has me looking into other books he’s narrated.

Overall, Timekeeper easily earns my recommendation. Especially if you are a fan of alternate history.

 

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Forever Young Audiobooks. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Today on the blog, we have an interview with narrator Gary Furlong. Read on below!

Q: How many books have you narrated and do they have a common thread or theme?

A: I have 30 books available on Audible at the moment.  There are more coming!  I try to be as diverse as possible.  So you will find steamy romance as well as practical non-fiction.  I personally love to narrate science fiction and Fantasy books.  So you can imagine how excited I was when Timekeeper came along.

Q: What do you love most about narrating audiobooks?

A: I really enjoy learning about the characters and figuring out what they sound like.  And it’s really nice to be able to read so many different books.  I’m learning new things all the time! 

Q: Do you prefer to read in print or listen to stories in audio? 

A: I definitely prefer to listen to audiobooks.  I love reading but I find I don’t have a great attention span when it comes to reading for pleasure.  I feel like I have to be moving or doing something.  With Audiobooks I can move around or go for a run while taking in a story. 

Q: How do you select a book to narrate? Do you prefer a specific genre or types of characters? 

A: There are definitely some genres I prefer to narrate, but if the content is a well written and engaging story then I am on board! So usually I’ll look to the content of the story, do I find it interesting and can I do it justice.  If I can say yes to all three and the author will have me then I will narrate that book.

Q: Do you read a book several times before you record the audio? Or *gasp* do you just about memorize it? 

A: Usually there is only time to read the book once.  So, I’ll read through the book, take notes on the characters and how they sound.  I sometimes make very short recordings, a sentence or two, in a certain character’s voice as a reference.  I’d love to meet the superhuman who can memorize a whole book.  

Q: How do you decide on the specific voice and tone to do for each character? 

A: A lot of the time I will work with the author to find the right voice, and then many times the instruction is right there in the text.  You can get the general mood of the characters, their tone and attitude right from the story itself.  Then you can use the context and setting of the story for accents.    

Q: Do you have a ritual or routine you do before sitting down to record the audio (such as anything to strengthen your vocal cords)? 

A: I do some vocal warm ups before recording.  I really notice how effective they are when I don’t do them.  The difference is huge.  You can maintain breath for longer, your diction is improved and you are used to speaking.  I record first thing in the morning so I really need the warm up.

Q: Name an audio book you just loved to listen to. What about that narration makes it special?

A: It’s very hard to pinpoint any one book.  But I really love The Stormlight Archive books by Brandon Sanderson.  They are narrated by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading.  They are both fantastic narrators and part of the reason I started narrating.  I love how they voice their characters and their narration voice.  I learn a lot every time I listen to them. 

Q: What qualities make a great narrator? Share some tips for aspiring voice actors.

A: Audiobook narration is a balancing act.  You have to have great acting chops but you don’t necessarily want that to be the main focus for the listener.  Reading is such a personal thing, you pick the narration voice in your head, you pick how the characters sound etc.  With narration you almost want the listener to put your voice to the back of their mind and just enjoy the story.  Yes, some of us love to do character voices and I do think that can enhance the story.  But at the end of the day you want the listener to say:  “That was a fantastic story” rather than “Wasn’t that narrator just amazing”.  

Q: Is there a scene you just loved to narrate? Is there a scene that was especially difficult to narrate?

A: I don’t want to give away any specifics, but in Timekeeper there is some delving into ancient legend and the mythos behind the nature of the clock towers.  Narrating this book was a joy but I loved narrating those scenes where all of that was explained and expanded upon.  

 

 

 

Timekeeper Giveaway #1

Timekeeper Giveaway #2

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Rating Report
Plot
Characters
Writing
Narration
Overall: 4

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