Title: 27 Days to Midnight
Author: Kristine Kuppa
Publisher: Giant Squid Books
Release Date: May 2016
Length: 287 pages
Everyone in Dahlia’s world knows when they’re going to die. Except her.
Her father has never shown her the pocket watch counting down the days she has left to live. When he sacrifices himself to save her from her scheduled death, Dahlia abandons her comfortable home and sets off after his murderer to uncover the secrets her father died to protect…and the time research that could bring him back to life.
Then she meets Farren Reed. She should hate him. He’s an enemy soldier, a cowardly deserter, and the most insufferable man Dahlia’s ever met. Still, she needs all the help she can get, and Farren is the only chance she has to find the man who murdered her father. But Farren has only twenty-seven days left on his watch.
In that time, Dahlia must recover her father’s time research, foil a psychotic general’s plot, and learn to survive in a world that will never be the same. But the research holds secrets more dangerous than she had ever imagined. She will have to choose what is most important: revenge, Farren’s life, or her own. And time is running out.
Everyone in this world knows when they are going to die, and they live by strict rules according to their watch. They know when they are going to die. Dahlia’s father is a clockwork master. He can repair damaged watches and is known for his work. He’s been running, though, both from Dahlia’s watch and from Sebastian Macall. His time research is the key to it all…but Sebastian destroys Sainsbury.
Too bad he didn’t destroy Dahlia Walker. Or airman Farren Reed, whom he pushed from a flier and left to die – something he’s known for, people disappearing around him. And they’re coming back for justice.
Dahlia Walker – daughter of a famous clockwork master, she is saved and on a mission to take back what Macall stole
Ansel Walker – Dahlia’s master clockwork father
Sebastian Macall – an Anglian general of the Imperial Might, known for his nasty and deadly combat skills, many avoid him
Farren Reed – airman on Imperial Might, he has a major bone to pick with Macall
Keet Hawkins – an airship pilot bounty hunter out for Dahlia, married to Tiberius
Tiberius – Keet’s cyborg husband, a former surgeon
Harper – a friend of Farren’s
People could not die by natural means before their time. A serious injury could still kill, but a person couldn’t receive such an injury until their watch ran dry. If they faced a runaway carriage, they would manage to leap aside. If htey were trapped in a burning house, they would somehow struggle free. Survival was assured.
But watches and their owners were linked – if a person hurt their body, their watch suffered damage. If their watch was broken, injuries appeared on their body. And if a watch stopped working completely…so did its owner. Repairing watched while they still functioned was a delicate science, and her papa was a master of it.
“Hey,” Keet rotated her chair to face him. “You know, I think Dahlia likes you.”
Farren’s stomach lurched, nearly spewing his precious vodka all over the windshield. He clamped his mouth shut against it.
“L – likes me?” he choked.
“Yup, I can tell. Call it womanly intuition.” Keet’s smile grew as she watched his discomfort. “And you’re clearly into her, so why don’t you…you know? Make a move?”
“You don’t understand,” said Ferran. “Dahlia isn’t like that – she – she’d never want anything to do with me.”
Saying it made him feel heavy, but he knew it was true. Keet wordlessly examined him for a few moments, thinking, sparing the occasional glance for the clear sku up ahead. Her gaze made his cheeks burn.
This is stupid.
“Kinda easy to see why she doesn’t want to be with you,” Keet said, serious. “Women hate drunks.”
The Highs and Lows
- Heightened Situations. Dahlia’s country, Delmar, is at war with Anglia. Although she lives in Sainsbury and it’s not the capital, it is a populous city…and where the clockwork master resides. This conflict sets off a chain of events and develops the plot of the story. Once Macall has what he needs, he returns to Port Argun (the capital of Anglia). Meanwhile, bounty hunters are sent after Dahlia for her knowledge.
- A Touch of Fairy Tale. Dahlia (and Farren) go on a journey, and when they first meet and embark, I thought it very fitting that Dahlia’s father made sure she knew the Pathfinder Star, that it was set in the north, and if she ever got lost to follow that star.
- Dahlia’s 18th Birthday. It is significant in many ways: it is the coming-of-age for her and it is also the day of her death. Until her father uses his time research to save her – and send her on a mission. Before his death, he recorded tapes for her, directing her where she can find the mystical source to transfer time. Promethium in caves.
- The Mystery of Sita. She is Dahlia’s mother, and Macall knew her at some point. He is haunted by her, and yet Ansel and she discovered the promethium together. The mystery of how Sita fits into this puzzle of Dahlia and Macall – and revealing another facet of his motivations – had to be gleaned throughout the book. Eventually Ansel reveals Macall’s obsession with Sita in the third tape – and what a story it is! And it makes it that much more vital that Dahlia get back all of her father’s research.
- The Research. Ansel’s research – conducted alongside Sita – was developed over time and merged between cultures and how they both viewed and researched time. Together, they discover two capabilities – both deadly in the wrong hands, and one capable of serious consequences.
- The Fighting. High stakes! I found on two different occasions that my own heart was racing. That’s how strongly I fell into the story, wrapped up in the characters and their lives. It was intense.
- Vivid Detail. The descriptions and detail were so well-crafted, giving a glimmer of their world with crystal clarity. There was nothing that confused me about their world, how things worked, or Ansel’s research – it was all explained well and woven into the story and plot so well.
I read this book in one sitting. With the busyness I have this year, that’s unheard of, but I just could not put this down.
It struck me that Farren had 27 days left on his watch. Twenty-seven days and thirty eight minutes. What would I do if I knew for a fact that I had 27 days left to live, and there was no changing it? That’s a lot to think on.
I also really like Dahlia’s first scenes with Tiberius – fixing his watch and especially cooking together. How do you know how much? Just know, stir. Cracked me up!
Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip?
BUY. IT. NOW.
And thank me later. 🙂
Kristine Kruppa is a mechanical engineer, writer, and world traveler. Her days are spent designing cool new car parts, but her evenings are filled with writing and cats. She has traveled solo to seventeen countries on five continents. Her other hobbies include hunting for the perfect cup of coffee, exploring used book stores, and accidentally climbing mountains. To keep up with her adventures, follow Kristine on Twitter @kskruppa.
One (1) winner receives a hardback copy of the book (US only)
Three (3) winners receive a digital copy (INT)
One (1) winner recieves a $10 amazon gift card (INT)
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