Book Reviews

Review: Firestarter by Tara Sim

Based on my utter love for the entire Timekeeper series, you know I’d get my hands on Firestarter.

Summary

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

(Disclaimer: I received this free book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Reading Firestarter was like coming home after a long day of errands. It was like watching “The Return of the King”. That feeling when you reminisce on your long journey, the friends gained and lost, the days lived and set your feet back upon your doormat. Yes, this book also destroyed me emotionally, I cried and had to be consoled with hot chocolate and hugs. But this book also put my heart back together again. With more tears.

Let me break this down for you. Firestarter had everything I loved in the series from the fantastic world building from Timekeeper all the way to the characters I know and love from Chainbreaker and only made them better, deeper, and more heart rending. It had Daphne’s challenges being a white passing biracial Indian girl. There was swoony and heart breaking scenes between Colton and Danny. And there were actual gods and godesses. Yes, you read that right.

Characters & World

I felt Daphne’s feelings and struggles so acutely. The way it feels when no one can see your heritage under your skin. The way you feel inadequate and have to prove yourself. (Her story development throughout the book was like a love letter to the feelings of inadequacy in my heart). Even more so, Sim introduces more characters you can’t help but love, even when they’re kidnapping you and saving you from gunfire. The characters are really where the series excels. Without a fierce love, readers wouldn’t adore this series so much. We are introduced to new ones that nestle their way into your heart. Even now I can’t pick a favorite. We have queer characters, brown characters, and more. I’d read anything from Sim and spin offs for each of these would be great, thanks!

(We had some great snippets of conversation from Indian characters about how they viewed the clock towers, colonialism, and the current rebellion. This was an element in Chainbreaker but is further developed in Firestarter.)

There’s also the delightful parallel between Zavier and Danny which is built upon in this book which I adored. It’s delicious in the best way. As we examine their choices to protect the ones they love.

I’ll never get tired of how inventive and imaginative the world building is in this entire series. In Firestarter it’s even more pronounced as in the previous books. How does Sim keep all these amazing details and threads in one head? The origin of clock towers is deeply examined all the way from individual towers to the nature of controlling time itself. The world is intricate and I’m not even sure I’ve grasped it all – which only means it’s time for a re-read of the entire series. But it’s a true testament to Sim’s amazing world building capability.

Themes

A huge theme in Firestarter is the nature of choice. What will we sacrifice for the people we love? How will we choose our own actions, our fate, our ending? The matter of choice is only complicated further when we take into consideration love. How often we are so willing to sacrifice it all for the one person we love. Especially considering the nature of the creation of clock towers. And, the most terrifying possibility, what if we do what we think is right, but it ends up costing the most? Various characters all have to examine their own choices and what it will mean for the entire world.

Would you tear the world apart for the one you love? And is this the right choice? How do we choose the life we want to live?

Overall,

Firestarter is an emotional roller coaster. I think if you’ve read either of Sim’s other books then you will need little to no encouragement on my part to pick this sequel up. You’ll need to read about what happens to Colton and Danny, to Daphne, all the new friends they will meet, and what will happen to the world as we know it. Sacrifice, choice, and agency is crucial to Firestarter and the entire series. I could rave all the time about Sim’s gorgeous writing, amazing world building ability, and characters that make you laugh and weep at the same time. But Firestarter is an homage to a fabulous series, to an inventive world, and to a series that is worth reading (and adoring).

Find Firestarter on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.

Discussion

What book made you cry the hardest?

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