Book Review: A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes

Title: A Time to Die
Author: Nadine Brandes
Published: September 2014, Enclave Publishing
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy / Science Fiction
Series: Out of Time, Book 1

About the Book (from the publisher):

How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?

Parvin Blackwater believes she 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 government’s 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.

My Thoughts on the book:

Wow. This book knocked my socks off. It took my expectations and turned them completely on their head. The outcomes of certain situations were not at all what I was expecting, which was pretty fabulous from a can’t-stop-reading must-see-what-happens-next perspective.

This book is Parvin’s biography, her pilgrimage, her quest for purpose and meaning in her life before she faces death. And she knows exactly how much time she has left. Or does she? This story’s premise is fascinating, and its text is beautiful and at times heart-wrenching.

Parvin feels like a real person with real struggles and weaknesses. I loved watching her character growth over the course of the story as she learns from her mistakes and from the people around her. And her first person present tense telling gives this story an immediacy that drew me in, both to her thinking and to her world.

And the other characters in the story? Each is unique and interesting in his or her own way. Jude makes a great hero and romantic interest. And Skelley Chase? He definitely keeps things interesting. Willow, Reid, Hawke, and the Newtons each have smaller roles in the story but their influence is definitely felt in Parvin’s life and in the world around them.

But I think the best part of this book is that it makes you think. About what constitutes a calling – “Am I supposed to make decisions? Or should I wait until I know God has told me something?” (Chapter 27) About weakness and strength – “I used to think it showed me as weak, but when I think about where I’ve come – where God’s taken me and what I’ve survived – it’s a testament to His strength.” (Chapter 34) About how we might use our time if we knew exactly how limited it was, and more.

This book is one I would highly recommend to fans of speculative and dystopian fiction. I’ve been looking forward to future books in this series with eager anticipation ever since finishing this one. And as of this month, Book 2 (A Time to Speak) is here!

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