A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes

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Title: A Time to Die (Out of Time, #1)

Author: Nadine Brandes

Published By: Enclave Publishing (2014)

Synopsis: How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?
Parvin Blackwater has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside.
In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the crooked justice system. But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence.
What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out.
(Taken from Goodreads)

Review: ** SPOILERS– They are highlighted and set apart but just a warning **

Wow…I have no idea where to even begin this review. The amount of deep and thematic elements in this story was incredible, and I could hardly grasp it all—and what I did see was enough to leave me speechless. Not only that, but the characters and the plot were astounding as well. This book told hold of me from the first chapter. I was captivated by the idea of Clocks and I was almost instantly absorbed in the world.

The plot of this book was truly spectacular. I say this because I hate drawn-out books and this is a 400 something page book, yet not once did I feel it was drawn out. Since I’m a writer, I tend to overanalyze books, so it takes me a while to find a book I like; but in the case of this book, it threw all ideas of anaylzation out the window and all I could think of was the storyline, the characters, and the way it took hold of me.

Parvin was her own unique and beautiful person. I loved to see her character arc progress as the story continued on and on, loved seeing the way she grew throughout the course of the story and the way she handled situations. She’s almost nothing like any stereotypical YA MC, yet she still takes a hold of the reader. I mean seriously, I want Parvin to be my best friend! It’s the condition of her heart, her beautiful heart to do what’s right, that makes you love Parvin, not her outward actions or appearances, though that ties in to. She was very easy to relate to—her desire to become something more, to do something more, to find purpose is a desire that will surely resonate in readers’ ears, especially readers who long for so similiar.

In this way, I think the author perfectly wrote this in through the Clocks in the form of an entertaining dystopian, while still making the audience truly think. What would I do if I only had a year left? Has my life been of purpose? I want to do more.

And of course, these thoughts point toward the longing to know Jesus, and in that aspect I absolutely loved the way the author did the book.

Speaking of depth and themes? I loved the way the author portrayed this desire and how Parvin’s longing for Jesus lead into something more physical— with literal weakness and more. Almost anything in the book could be a symbol of Christ’s strength. Different settings and atmospheres provided natural and not at all cheesy opportunities for Parvin to grow and to see Christ’s provision and presence. I thought the way the author wrote in occasional words from God was authentic, and I didn’t find it cheesy at all; rather, Parvin’s decision to follow Christ comes as a solution to that desire to find purpose, weaving into the plot skillfully, nowhere near preachy or cheesy.

There was a level of violence in this book, and though it wasn’t portrayed in the wrong light, it did get a little graphic. Injuries are described, and there are quite a few very harrowing scenes. I appreciated the way the story stayed true to real life, though—wounds inflicted on characters actually stay in the story long enough to heal rather than miracously disappearing when a new plot twist appears, and as well remain throughout the course of the story.  The way Parvin’s physical problems were described had me almost literally feeling Parvin’s pain. For some sensitive readers, it might be a little too much, but for me, I saw it as another strong pull into the story.

SPOILER BELOW >>

When Parvin loses her hand, I felt her pain so strongly that I came away from this book truly feeling like I myself had lost a hand, which soon turned into praising God for my two hands. In this way this book makes you think and really appreciate things you took for granted; this is just one example.

The ending. Oh my gosh, the ending. It takes a lot for me to really cry at a book, but this book met all the qualifications and more. I couldn’t believe what happened! It shocked me, had me on the edge of my seat, and it all tied together PERFECTLY. Like, perfectly. It wasn’t cheesy. It wasn’t cliche. It was totally unpredicted and unexpected, yet made perfect sense!  can’t BELIEVE the clock is Reid’s! Even though I knew there were sequels, so Parvin in theory shouldn’t die, I THOUGHT SHE WAS, and I COULDN’T GET OVER IT. I mean all along I suspected and hoped she’d live past her clock, but by the end, I was ready for a tearjerking phenomenal ending about her death—EXCEPT ITS NOT HER CLOCK. I can’t get over this.

<< SPOILER FINISHED

Overall:

I appreciated the fact the romantic levels were kept to a minimum, as developing it deeper now would have added nothing significant to the story (yet–the next two books are another story. 😏) This was truly unlike any dystopian I’ve read before, and of course, I loved the Christian themes. So much. Anyway, I’m sure there’s more I loved that I haven’t covered. I highly highly recommend this to everyone; easily one of the best books I’ve ever read. On the same note, I do feel like I need a solid few days’ break before embarking on the intensity in the second book. READ THIS BOOK!!!!

Notes:

There is some violence that gets a little graphic.

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

Recommended to:  Highly, highly recommended to fans of dystopia or sci-fi; probably ages 12 and up.

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