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.
About the Author
Nadine Brandes writes stories about authentic faith, bold living, and worlds soaked in imagination. She lives in Missouri with her husband and works as a freelance editor. When she’s not writing, editing, or taste-testing a new chai, she is out pursuing adventures.
Read an Excerpt
There was once a time when only God knew the day you'd die.
At least that's what they tell me. I wasn't alive then — back when life bore adventure and death held surprise. I guess God decided to share the coveted knowledge. Either that, or we stole it from Him. Personally, I think He just gave the world what it thought it wanted: control.
My thin rectangular Clock sits on the carved shelf across the room, clicking its red digital numbers — red like blood. Today marks the first day of my last year alive.
Three hundred sixty-four days, seven hours, five minutes, and sixteen — no, fifteen — seconds to live. I've always thought it cruel they include the seconds. But people want absolutes. They demand fine lines in a fuzzy world.
My toes curl like pill bugs when they touch the cold wood floor. I creep to the open window, flick a shivering spider off the sill into the October breeze, and close the shutters. Wind still howls through.
I pull on a pair of wool socks — a frequent Christmas gift of which I never grow weary — and ignore the mirror. It's the same face every morning: tangled hair, bleary chocolate eyes, and a waspish glare that doesn't leave until after coffee.
I push through the bedroom door into the kitchen and just miss a collision with my mother. She sweeps past bearing a mixing bowl of steaming cinnamon oatmeal. Pity her morning greeting isn't as warm as the breakfast she slams on the table. "Twenty minutes, Parvin."
"It's my time I waste sleeping, not yours."
The rectangular kitchen glows under the heat of the cooking fire on the opposite wall. A metal wash tin and a red water pump sit to my left, beneath our only glass window. Cold morning light reflects off the soapsuds. The rough kitchen table crowds most of the walking space unless all four chairs are pushed in tight. I plop into the closest seat.
"It's already six-thirty." She blows a stray hair away from her face. "You've wasted seventeen years, let's not spoil your last one."
Ah, mother-daughter love.
She slides a wooden mug filled with coffee across the table with one hand, and reaches for the creamer with the other. My morning pick-me-up splashes over the rim. I shrug. More room for cream.
Once I've transformed my coffee into a liquid dessert, I spoon oatmeal into a dish and calculate my schedule: Five minutes to eat, five minutes to change, ten minutes to walk there. If I stick to my planned detour, I'll be late for Assessment. I don't care. The hearing is more important.
My coffee turns to vinegar. I force a swallow against my shaking nerves. I won't be nervous today. I have to be strong.
A life depends on it.
"Get out of those thin shorts." Mother barks the command as she stokes the cooking fire, then places the blackened kettle over it once more. "And stop sleeping with the window open. No wonder you're cold at night — you've got legs like twigs. I don't know why you make such impractical clothing."
"They're practical in summer." And more comfortable to sleep in than the wool underclothes you insist on wearing.
I take a bite of oatmeal. My sewing fetish is my version of rebellion and independence. At least I'm in control in some manner, although sewing never helped my popularity.
After three more mouthfuls of oatmeal, I practically inhale my coffee before going to change into a grey wool shirt and black vest — self-tailored to fit my short torso. I pull on my double-layered cotton trousers and boots lined with speckled rabbit fur. The blend of dark colors makes me feel serious and firm — exactly what I need for the hearing.
Mother brushes my hair into a burgundy-umber fluff. I scowl and braid it down one side before jamming on an ivory cap.
She tucks my Clock into my vest pocket. "Forty minutes."
No way I'll be home in forty minutes. "Eighty." I'll probably be longer.
I stride up the uneven stone sidewalk of Straight Street. Mother never bids farewell anymore, not now that the real Good-bye is so near.
Weak rays of dawn peek over rows of identical wood-and-thatch houses. Flickering morning candlelight shines through every shutter. In the few homes with glass windows, homemade gadgets or goods line the sills — socks, herb teas, paper notebooks, candles, wax tablets, hair ribbons. Tiny price cards sit beside them.
I scan the sills for an old newspaper, rubbing my fingers over the last coin in my pocket. Crumpled black-and-white paper catches my eye. I stop and scan the headline:
10th Anniversary of Worldwide Currency 'Specie' Celebrated with Increased Dividends
My eyes flit to the date to confirm my sinking hopes: October 06, 2148 Three days ago. I've already read it. Besides, the price card tells me it costs two specie, and I have only one to spend.
With a sigh, I look between the houses to the horizon still shrouded in shadow. Barely, just barely, the Wall is visible through morning fog. The stone spine looks as menacing as ever, stretching a thousand feet high along the west border of my state, Missouri. It's hard to imagine it encircles the Earth's longitude, but that's what they say.
I break my stare and quicken my pace. Red maple leaves fly through the air like autumn snowflakes. I hug myself and cross the narrow, muddy street, nodding to the milkman on the corner as he organizes his various bottles between the wood slats of his pushcart. He waves a gloved hand, which returns to his side as if out of habit, rubbing a square bulge in his trouser pocket.
I've seen his Clock — four more years and a thimble-full of days until his zeroes line up. Longer than I have even though I'm younger, but I don't begrudge him. We're all a population of walking second-hands, ticking toward the end.
A wooden arrow painted white points toward the center of town — Father's handiwork from his carpentry shop. My fingers brush across the smooth top of the sign. The black letters glisten, painted to withstand the upcoming winter: Unity Village Square.
Unity Village. The insinuation in the name is far from the disposition of its people. Seventeen years haven't been long enough for me to change this. Instead, I've conformed to the cold separateness we cling to. The concept of unity is now a nostalgic whim from the past — like gentlemen doffing fedoras, free ice cream on a hot afternoon, barefooted children hoop-rolling. Selfless consideration is rare, except from the Mentors. And they only fake it.
Mentor. The word turns my stomach and my shoulders tense.
A few yards from the village square, my trudging slows like a dying wind-up toy. I stop and allow the mud to creep its fingernails into my boot leather. Straight ahead, a weathered wooden platform rests dead center inside a square of empty market booths. Leafless dogwood trees surround the square as if trying to fill the silent space.
Harman, the master gardener, stands rigid between his stocked vegetable stand and the Enforcer car parked beside him. It shines like a black stinkbug, its warning to the meager crowd of onlookers as palpable as any stench. A painted gold backward E shimmers against the black paint as the sun peeks over a thatched roof.
Atop the platform stands a middle-aged stranger. Grey facial hair quivers as he chews on his upper lip. Two Enforcers flank him, statue-like, with black coats brushing the dirty platform floor. A backward black E marks the left side of each of their faces.
I avoid their eyes and grip the Clock in my pocket. God, let today be the day.
"Martin Foster is reported of being an unregistered Radical," the Enforcer on the right says. "Is there anyone to vouch for his Clock?"
The square remains silent. A handful of people mingle, as if trying to ignore the question.
"Can anyone vouch he has a Clock?" The Enforcer widens his stance and clasps his fist behind his back.
Mister Foster's chewing stops. He stares at his feet.
Look up, I think to him, as if he'll catch my projection of courage. Be brave. I've never seen his Clock, but I went to school with his son. Mister Foster has a life. He has purpose. He has a family.
"I vouch for his life," I squeak.
The Enforcer glares at me. "That is not applicable to the question at hand, nor will it affect our decision."
"But his life matters. Not his Clock."
The other spectators avoid my eyes. Will they ever speak out? Can't my village come together to save a single life?
Mr. Foster's gaze lifts, finding mine. This moment will burn in my dreams tonight, like with every other Radical I've unsuccessfully vouched for these past three months. Not that it's done any good. If only I'd started doing this sooner. Years ago.
His eyes hold glassy hope — not that his life will be saved, but that his life has made a difference and someone has noticed.
I have. But I'm helpless.
"If no one can vouch for Martin Foster's Numbers" — the Enforcer shifts into mechanical monotone — "then he is sentenced to the Wall."
"No!" I step forward. "That's not the law. Register him as a Radical."
The Enforcers lead Mr. Foster back to the car in three swift steps.
"He can choose relocation!" My courage withers. I can't swallow. My eyes never leave Mr. Foster's, even when a thick film of tears blurs the scene.
The door shuts and the car rolls away through the mud with a high-pitched electric whine.
I sink to my knees, immune to the wet chill the mud sends through my pants. Today wasn't the day. Another innocent will die, sacrificed to the mystery of the Wall. God, why do You allow this?
My Clock is cool against my sweating palm. I didn't even realize I had pulled it from my pocket. I can't look at it. I want to smash it, but if I do, I'll be the one on the platform.
My sorrow returns to its cage of resignation. I stand and leave the square, tense against the probing stares of others. When I reach the border of Unity Village, I stop.
The slick county building towers like a bland government pillar, resembling a giant Time Clock tilted up on one side. Even the windows have red rims like the Numbers. A long electronic post board covers the outside wall facing the village, still blinking: Hearings: Martin Foster — Oct. 09.
I hate Clocks. Each one is a constant reminder that my life is not, and has never been, in my hands. The possessive, all-controlling nature in me rears its irate head, but it can rear all it likes — The Numbers are never wrong.
I move toward the county building, and my fingers stray again to the lump in my pocket. 364. 364. That's plenty of time. Deep breath, chin high, and a perfected look of defiance. I ascend the steps and enter through the heavy doors.
The lobby has a marble floor with a trickling water fountain and stiff yellow lighting — one of the few Unity buildings with plumbing and electricity. My steps echo. A rat-nosed receptionist sits behind a desk across the room. She doesn't look up, but I don't care.
Instead, my eyes wander to the grinning man with dark hair standing beside the woman's post. My persona slips and I break into a run. "Reid!"
His arms envelop me and I breathe in his scent of forest and travel. "My little Brielle."
I laugh at the name to keep from crying. I haven't heard my brother's voice in almost a year. Brielle is my middle name — a name only Reid calls me because, he says, "It sounds so soft."
"I didn't think you'd come back so soon," I mumble into his coat.
"We're in this together, sis. You're not alone."
I sniff and survey his face. "You got freckles."
"Too much sun tends to do that." He tilts his head. "You got thinner."
Most girls seek this form of compliment, but when Mother calls me Twig Legs and Reid says I'm thinner in the same day, I'm irked. "So what?" I step away. Why must he point out my smallness the very moment we're reunited?
He frowns a little, but he'll say nothing more. I read his face as well as my own since they're nearly identical. We're triplets, well, what's left of them. Our older brother, William, died at birth.
"Parvin Brielle Blackwater?" Rat Nose asks in a nasal, smoker's voice. I flinch. Reid gives my arm a comforting squeeze.
I turn to her. "Yes?"
"You're here for your Last-Year Assessment?"
"Mm-hmm." I haven't allowed myself to consider how I want my life to end. It seems too morbid. Truth is, I've been too scared to think about it. Now ...
I have to.
She peers at me through oval glasses. "Your Mentor, Mr. Trevor Rain, will see you." Then she turns to Reid. "And now that she's here" — she jerks her head in my direction — "will you please join Ms. Monica Lamb? She's on a tight schedule."
"Aren't we all?" Reid murmurs.
I giggle. It feels foreign. I lean close to him and lower my voice. "Thanks for waiting for me." I eye the snappy receptionist.
"Why were you late?"
Mr. Foster's face flits across my mind's eye. I sigh. "Oh, you know me — slept in too long." Someday I'll tell Reid about my recent attempts to vouch for Radicals. Someday ... when I save someone.
We step into the elevator. As the door closes, I place one hand on a wall and the other on Reid's arm. I never get used to moving upward in this metal box. I should have taken the stairs.
Mirrors cover three walls and I stare at Reid. He's grown taller, more rugged, and now he sports a five o'clock shadow. It's strange seeing something so adult as facial hair on him.
I pull the wood box from my pocket. "Do you want the Numbers?" Each second taps against my fingertips with a dull click.
"Ah, who cares about protocol? You keep it. Trevor's stricter about checking Numbers. I'll pretend I forgot mine. Monica loves to add another tally to her list of why men are immature and irresponsible. If today's the day our Mentors discover we've illegally shared a Clock, so be it. We've made it seventeen years."
We told the Mentors we have two Clocks with the same Numbers. It's a common occurrence between close friends or siblings, which often means they'll die from the same cause: a boating accident, natural disaster, or something of the sort. But our single Clock was an unfortunate mishap.
The elevator doors slide open. I try to clear my throat but seem to have forgotten how. To compensate, I take a deep breath and lift my chin.
"There's the confident mask I hate so much." But Reid adopts his own carefree façade and struts down the hall to Monica Lamb's door.
"I'll see you at home." I walk the opposite direction.
I push open the maple-paneled door into Trevor's long, blank office. He sits on one side of a mahogany desk, perusing my thin file, perhaps to appear as if he remembers me. An empty plush red chair rests on the other side of his desk, facing him.
My soft boots tap-tap over the slick marble floor. Trevor looks up. His hair is black, dusted with grey. A strand falls into his face and catches in his rectangular glasses for a moment. He pulls a comb from his suit pocket and smooths the strands back. His smile doesn't reach his eyes. It hardly makes crinkles in his face.
"Ah, Parvin." His voice is annoyingly soothing, as if he knows I don't want to be here.
I resist responding with, "Ah, Trevor." Instead, I give a curt nod.
He gestures to the plush chair in front of him. Like there's anyplace else to sit. "How are you feeling?"
Should I be honest? I settle for neutral. "I'm okay." I lower myself into the seat.
"Did you bring your Numbers?"
I place my Clock upright on his desk. He squints at it, then at the open manila folder. "You turn eighteen in April?"
"Your brother too?"
"And both of your Clocks have the same Good-bye, next October?"
I gulp. "Yeah."
The word sticks at the back of my throat, and something pinches in my chest. Every lie I tell is a mental tattoo that glows in the dark when I try to shut it out, to pretend I didn't say it. But this lie I must tell — to protect Reid's and my dwindling lives. Right now, Reid's probably lying, too. Does he feel the same guilt I do, or am I merely weak?
My eyes stray to the thin wooden box. The Numbers face away from me. If we could get a second Clock, then we wouldn't have to hide the fact we're stuck with just the one — and that we don't know whose it is. But no one controls the Numbers, not even the government. And Clocks are merged to a person at conception.
I dread this Last Year because one of us will zero out and the other will become a Radical with no Clock. We don't know which one will die.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "A Time to Die"
Copyright © 2014 Nadine Brandes.
Excerpted by permission of Third Day Books, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Would you live differently if you knew the day you were going to die? For Parvin Blackwater, and those living in the dystopian world created by Nadine Brandes, this is reality. A life where your Clock tells you how much time you have to live--and the day you'll die. Up until her eighteenth year Parvin has played it safe. Her life has been vanilla when she was hoping for cinnamon. With thoughts of her final days on the horizon, she begins stepping out in a feeble attempt to save Radicals from unjust governmental rule. Her actions fall sort, but spark something inside of her. A desire for her life to stand for something. Being forced through the Wall, as is the form of justice, Parvin finds more than she ever could have imagined. What can I say about this book? It was an emotional roller coaster for me (in the best way). I really felt carried along by Parvin and her ideals, thoughts, and actions. There were times when I was excited for her, frustrated at her, angry with her, sad about the circumstances, and oh so happy for her. I think, as is the case with a lot of first person books, there were times when I was a bit fed up with Parvin, yet I was able to see a truth about humanity in her. We make our decisions, but we're often faced with the reality that our convictions waiver. We falter, even when we're passionate about something. That's what made Parvin real to me. I enjoyed the discovery of the world of A Time To Die. This first book left me wanting more of the world and more information on certain characters. I'll also say that the ending was...wow, awesome as well as tough and yet right. It sets you up perfectly for book two (which I'll likely be starting tonight ha!). I definitely recommend this book to YA fans and those who enjoy a great dystopian novel. Fans of Hunger Games, Divergent, and Maze Runner will find similar themes and a story they can sink their teeth into. Be prepared to be pulled in, emotions and all! My Rating: 4.5* Originally posted on my blog: http://eahendryx.blogspot.com/2015/10/a-time-to-die-by-nadine-brandes-review.html _____________________ I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, but was under no obligation to read the book or post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.
I’ve been stalking this book for a while. Why? Because of the cover. Us readers and reviewers totally judge books by their covers and this one by Kirk DouPonce is pretty fantastic. Fortunately, the inside of the book delivered what the cover promised. A Time to Die is a powerfully written YA novel with action, drama, suffering, growth, and one of the most human characters I have ever read. Author Nadine Brandes makes a bold choice for Parvin Blackwater. She makes her weak. She makes her vulnerable and wishy-washy and self-absorbed. For the first fifty-plus pages, Pavin spends much of her time thinking and wandering Unity Village, and yearning to do something–but not doing it. While this did made those pages drag some, it also made a powerful statement about how much Pavin needs to grow. Most novels tend to prefer some kind of idealized or noble character as the hero, but Brandes instead shines a light on the truth of man’s weaknesses, and I applaud her for that. Furthermore, Parvin has a fine sense of self-awareness and doesn’t take herself too seriously. Her inner monologue is well formed, and every time she almost goes too far into the Dregs of Despair, there’s a twist or situation that pulls the plot forward. Moreover, the writing craft in A Time to Die is stellar, particularly in terms of Parvin’s emotions. Whether flattering or unflattering, they are entirely authentic. Like the emotigraphs in the story, Brandes makes you feel every step of Parvin’s journey. It’s not a ‘feel-good’ journey, but it is a powerful one. This also makes for very intense scenes and some cringe-worthy violence, so beware of that–like Chivalrous, this book is definitely older YA. As a future-world dystopian, the world-building is woven organically into the story. Some intriguing elements include tune chips, moving tattoos, and tight ropes used in everyday life–not to mention the Clocks. Plus, Brandes shows a variety of different perspectives on life through the lens of a Christian worldview. A Time to Die is a book grounded in Christian faith, but committed to showing the broken realities and doubts in followers, rather than a candy-coated, superficial perfection. Final Verdict: if you are a fan of authentic heroines overcoming difficult obstacles with grit and the power of Christ, all wrapped up in a speculative universe, this is a book for you. Like Pavin Blackwater, this book isn’t perfect, but it is raw, genuine, and compelling.
Wow!! This story kept me turning the pages-I finished it in just over two days! Immediately I was intrigued by the premise of what if I knew the date of my death? How would I chose to live? That's exactly the question Parvin Blackwater faces-only it's the final year of her life and she's left with the "gift" of choosing what she will do in her final days. Certain she's wasted every minute of her short, eighteen year, life, Parvin wants to do something to be remembered by. She believes living by a clock, her breath being ticked away with each passing second, is cruel. Even more so for those who don't have a clock... In a desperate breath, Parvin decides she'll write her biography with the help of a famous biographer who promised her story, her truth, will be something everyone will remember her by but she must first live this last year of her life on purpose. In a twist, Parvin finds herself on the other side of the wall only she's not dead... On the adventure of her life, Parvin is thrust into an unfamiliar world facing unknowns that bring her to her knees questiong if she has a purpose in what remains of her life. She must fight, trust, believe, and hope in the only One who knows for sure... This award winning novel by Nadine Brandes left me breathless, frustrated, and wondering what I would do if I was facing the same challenges as Parvin. The setting is emotionally and physically rich with detail that captured my imagination. I would recommend this book to all ages although there is an ax scene that might be too intense for younger readers-although Nadine doesn't go into extreme description of the incident. This is an intense dystopian novel that rivals its competition (Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Divergent). It was great read and I'm looking forward to it's sequel. *This novel was provided to me by the author for free in exchange for my honest review.
I started this book after dinner one day and didn't stop until bedtime. It was that exciting. The tension is non-stop, and I had a complete lack of self-control in finishing it. :P There were a lot of things I loved about this book. First of all, Nadine's world building is really solid. Her technology is incredible (anyone else want a tune chip for music?) and I loved the electronic journal and updating newspapers. It felt real, believable, and so creative. Not only technology, but the terrain, the cityscapes, and the different cultures Parvin encounters have a harsh reality that really fits in with the atmosphere and themes. I'd like to read this book again just to re-encounter everything and catch more details. I like the fact that Parvin has a real family in this book. A mom. A dad. A brother--all living and very much loving her. That's rare to find in stories, and they have a realistic dysfunction--troubles, but not so much that deny the fact that they're a close bonded family. In fact, wherever she goes, Parvin creates or finds family. It's a key need fulfilled, and a safe place for her. Shalom is found in two are better than one--especially in the context of family bonds. Parvin herself is a good example of a heroine who really grows well throughout the book. She starts out weak, but not whiny or dislikable--very relatable. Gradually she grows stronger, wrestles with things, finds help, suffers mentally and physically in some pretty big ways. At one point I was completely shocked with what Nadine was putting her through. ;) But through it all, she's a realistic example of growth as a Christian--I could really relate to her feelings at one point when she's made a decision and then regrets it, and can't let go of the regret. The way she talked with God, and refused to accept the brokenness in the world around her was really, really good. I loved Jude. He's a pretty special guy, which his humor chemistry with Parvin, and his tenacious sense of protection and guidance. Lots of aww moments that felt completely natural and soul satisfying. And yes, Hawke was pretty cool too. The only part I didn't totally connect with was the romance aspect--at first I really liked Parvin's insecurity and inexperience about how she should feel in a romantic way, but then it got a little distracting with wondering what was a right way to touch Jude (nothing inappropriate, but I just enjoy it more when plot focuses on how a couple relate to each other with personality chemistry). There is so much potential for future books both in the plot line and in the spiritual themes. Questions to be answered, growth to be achieved--I definitely want to see what happens next. I received a free e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
A Time to Die Out of Time #1 By Nadine Brandes Parvin Blackwater has a year to live. She lives in a society that syncs a person's life to a clock at conception. There is just one problem with Parvin's clock, she doesn't know if it is truly hers. She and her brother Reid have been sharing one clock their entire lives. For 17 years one of them has been living a lie. One of them has been living without a clock. Convinced that the clock counting down the last year of life is hers, Parvin decides that she has to live her remaining days so that she can make a difference. Parvin wants to be remembered. But how can someone from one of the least important cities every rate remembrance past death? Can revealing her story be the path to remembrance? Unfortunately the truth may cost her more than she ever imagined when the authorities learn of it. No one lives beyond the Wall and those who live in defiance of the law are sent to the other side. Parvin is about to meet her fate whether she ready to meet it or not. The world as we know it has ended. The USA is no more, the west has become a desolate wasteland of instant death. A Wall has been erected to keep those in the east safe from what lies beyond. One can't rise above the life they are born to, though they can fall if deemed a Radical. And Radicals can fall so low that they can be sent through the Wall. This is a book that will tug at your emotions as Parvin deals with life and all it presents to her. Be warned you may want to have a box of tissues nearby. I highly recommend this moving book - this is a book that both teens and adults will enjoy reading and sharing. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
A Time to Die did not disappoint in giving readers an intense plot that leads to the profound depth one encounters in books of the Christian genre. Personalities that reflects the true nature of humanity, from questions, to mistakes, to strength, courage and even evil tendencies, were well represented. Nadine's astuteness in providing a main heroine that is not perfect, and in fact full of flaws relates to readers on a more personal level. The many twists surprised even me, a seasoned reader. The action, especially when things are coming together, when you think it's going to be a certain way, you encountered the heartfelt changes alongside Parvin. Ahhh, the many life's questions, the many "whys" and "hows" we ask God, comes away inspired and even encouraged. That is A Time to Die. "'He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion" (95) - Phillipans 1:6 This review first appeared on Just Commonly blog. Head over for the full review. NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.
I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I began this book. It sounded so interesting when I saw it in the bookstore at the RealmMakers Conference in July, and it turned out to be so much more than merely interesting. From the very first line (“There once was a time when only God knew the day you’d die.”) to the cliffhanger-ish ending, A Time to Die doesn’t slow down, nor does it let you down. Absolutely stuffed with intensity, from the thoroughly fleshed characters to the intricately drawn story world to the plot that keeps you wanting more, Brandes’ début novel is extraordinary. It is so much more than just a great story, too. It’s a fictional, yet at the same time personal, journey of self-discovery. Parvin ask questions of herself and God that we all find ourselves asking at some point in our lives… what’s my purpose? Am I wasting my life? What do You want me to do? Are You even here, God? And within this tapestry of fiction, Brandes deftly braids silky strands of Truth for us all to weave into our own stories. My heart soared and plummeted; I smiled and I cried; I did not want the book to end! So, it’s a very good thing to know that this is only the first book in the series!
I almost gave this book five stars but two scenes held me back from that. I it more personal preference than anything else but I just really dislike reading scenes where the character is in massive physical pain. Especially if that involves a lot of blood, which these did. I think this book could have still worked without the, there was quite enough emotional pain. Emotional pain connects at a deeper level and I really feel for the characters experiencing that but when the physical pain gets as bad as it did in here I just want to put the book down and stop reading. But apart from that this book is so amazing! This is a book you have to read at some time, the MC is 18, but I think younger people would enjoy this book too, though that would depend on their ability to handle book characters almost being shredded to pieces and having to sew themselves up and such (I will say no more than that otherwise it would spoil the story). I really enjoyed watching Parvin's faith grow, her walk with God, it is a very refreshing book in comparison to a lot of other books out there. She and other characters really drive the story. It is full of surprises. Things that as reader I was fairly sure would happen at one point in the book, in another point in the book I changed my mind and had no idea because the story had taken yet another unexpected turn. A Time to Die is really thought provoking. It's a fast paced adventure that I could not put down (except for about 5 minuets twice). The world building was very well done two, as I turned the white and black pages all I saw was another world unfolding before me and Parvin journeying through it, somehow surviving. I almost felt Parvins emotions radiating from the pages as I opened them. The writing is just beautiful. The story is so interesting. The plot full of the unexpected, and all the time there is literally a ticking clock (well digital, but anyway) counting down the time she has left to live, the time she must complete her calling in. I did wonder at first if there would be some Deus ex machina (meaning God comes in and solves conflicts and problems) but the characters of this story do it all, in the strength of the Lord.
Everyone has a clock counting down the time, to the second, until their deaths. Or at least, everyone is supposed to have one. Some people’s clocks are broken accidentally; other people willfully break their own clocks; and still others, like Parvin Blackwater, are not sure whether their clock belongs to them or one of their twins or triplets. It’s illegal to not have a clock, and the punishment is being sent over The Wall in the unknown wasteland beyond. So far, Parvin has survived by sharing her clock with her only surviving triplet, Reid. But there is only one year left and neither of them know which of them is going to die. Is it too late for Parvin to make a difference in the world before her death or banishment? A Time to Die is epic, awesome, amazing, fantastic, and so much more! I love it so much! It has a little bit of everything that makes a story great – adventure, high stakes, romance, fantastic world-building, interesting characters, plot twists, and deep questions. Let’s call it my favorite book of 2015! How do I tell you about this book without giving everything away? For her last year, Parvin determines to write a “biography” of herself, determined to show people that life can still be lived when you don’t know your death date. But she doesn’t consider all the consequences – in doing so, she has to reveal her secret – that she and her brother have been illegally sharing a clock. When a famous, mysterious man named Skelley Chase, who can “do anything,” gets involved, things get interesting. He pressures her follow her brave words with actions and go over The Wall. Oh, Skelley. Do we love him or hate him? He’s a pretty epic villain, that’s for sure. Throw in an accident, secrets kept hidden for years, a kind enforcer, the unknown, and an epic adventure and you have A Time to Die. I loved the spiritual depth of the story as Parvin seeks out the meaning of life; after all, what is the point when you only have 18 years and you haven’t done anything with them? The story takes advice, a character, and a name right out of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs in Parvin’s search for meaning. The world is also very well researched, for a futuristic, dystopian setting, that is. Ever heard of classical conditioning? And then there’s the albino village. It sheds a whole new light on honoring Mother Nature (and racial prejudice?) and the extent to which it can progress. Humans are worth more than plants, after all. The whole story is fascinating and amazing and I couldn’t put it down. It was better than I’d predicted, and I just had to by the print copy as well as the eBook. But, I forewarn you. The author, Nadine Brandes, is most definitely not afraid of hurting her characters. **moans in frustration** And be prepared for an epic cliffhanger. Be prepared to read book two directly afterward so you’re not stuck waiting in stressful anticipation. I highly recommend this New Adult, Dystopian Fiction!!!
SO, so good! just the kind of book I love. And oh the feels! great characters, interested plot, and very well written. In my opinion its a unique idea and a departure from the normal ya dystopian books. Something new! Give this book a try, I don't think you'll be disappointed! I can't wait to get started on book two.
I have mixed emotions and thoughts regarding this book. I was incredibly intrigued by the premise, though I’d never read anything from the dystopian side of the genre. In spite of that, I was so curious and had read so many great reviews that I just couldn’t resist. This book definitely lives up to all of it’s great reviews and I really enjoyed it. Nadine Brandes does an excellent job of bringing her setting to life, and making things futuristic without going so far over my head that I couldn’t figure out what on Earth she was talking about. I loved some of the new gadgets she invented and the interesting things my imagination encountered in this book. Nadine does an great job with descriptions and “showing” us the world she’s created, without anything being overdone or gory. The story does get a bit dark at times and I found myself almost crying at one point, so I might not recommend it to younger teens (under 15), but it is without a doubt worth the read. The narrative is definitely unique and unlike anything I’ve ever read. I found myself engaged within moments of turning the first page and was constantly curious as to what would happen next. I did find my attention waning a bit about two-thirds of my way through the book, though the ending was definitely worth preserving for and I have every intention of reading the second book very soon. Pavin Blackwater is the main character this story revolves around and her perspective is the only one we see. I confess to struggling a bit to connect with Parvin, at first. The story starts on the first day of her final year, according to her Numbers. When we start, she has what I kind of thought of as small or maybe selfish dreams, but the further I went, the more she seemed to find her purpose. She begins to search, to question, to stop being comfortable with the status quo. I loved seeing her come alive and stop accepting the all of the “no”s she encountered. Parvin is forced to become strong and to keep pressing forward on her journey. I began to feel I was on that adventure with her, which was great! Though Parvin is the main character, we are also introduced to a fairly large cast of characters that all play a part in her story. I enjoyed seeing how each one impacted her and how they helped her on her journey. Though I was (and still am a bit) mad at the author over one of the characters. I won’t spoil anything, but suffice to say that had I been holding a paper copy, the book may have gone soaring through the room in that moment. Despite that, I’m really curious to see what happens with Parvin’s new friends in the next book. I also really enjoyed the spiritual side of the story and seeing Parvin grow in her new faith. She has to learn to trust God in her weakest moments, and I appreciated the focus on “Shalom” and her desire to see things become the way they are supposed to be. Though God isn’t mentioned on every single page, He is very evident throughout the story and I loved the hope shown in the darkness. I’m excited to see how her faith goes forward after the final pages of the story. Nadine definitely left me with incentive to scoop up the next book and read until dawn! Overall, I’m giving this story 4 stars due to the slight lag in the middle, and because I’m still a bit peeved about that character. That said, I do very highly recommend it and you definitely don’t have to love the genre to enjoy this incredibly unique tale! My thanks to the author for a copy of this book!
A great thought-provoker! Don't miss out on Parvin's adventure. . .and, it's so much more than that. Please read, and then read A Time to Speak, which is 3 times as good (as if that were even possible). Action, Adventure, Purpose, Romance, Faith, Inspiration. . .it's all here. Parvin was so life-like in her way of thinking that I related more with her than any other fictional character I can think of.
A Time to Die is the first novel by Nadine Brandes and in a dystopian trilogy. The story has an intriguing premise: everyone has a clock that shows how much time they have left. But Parvin has a secret. She shares a clock with her accomplished older brother, which is illegal. It only has a year left, and Parvin is convinced it is her time left, and she's tired of wasting it. When Parvin is forced across the Wall to the wasteland that was once the Western United States, she takes an opportunity offered by an author wanting to tell her story - document what happens and he'll make sure her story lives on. Parvin isn't sure what she'll encounter when she crosses the wall, but she wants her short life to count. Despite the rumors of terrors across the Wall, she'll be fine. She can't die for a year. This is an intriguing entry into the YA dystopian realm. A Time to Die is full of twists and turns. Some you may think you've seen coming, only to have it zig instead of zag. There's a lot of unique situations that Parvin encounters, and there's a lot of adventure here. Like any debut novel, there's areas where the plot could have a little more action, or sections that could've been trimmed more. However, the important things in a novel such as a likeable character, interesting voice and plot, and suspenseful twists all shine through. I enjoyed reading this book and I'm excited to read the sequel, A Time to Speak, which releases soon.
A Time to Read an Intense Debut Dystopian! The concept of a society in which you knew when you would die (often represented by a ticking clock or counter) has been tackled by several speculative fiction authors and in Hollywood. "In Time," a 2011 dystopian film starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried comes to my mind first. However, in A Time to Die, Nadine Brandes gives her own unique take on the concept in a dystopian that kept my e-reader on up until the wee hours of the morning! One of the most important parts of a dystopian novel is the world-building. Brandes' vision of a post-apocalyptic North American society (in Missouri, to be specific) and their technology and government is fascinating. While I was still left with questions on how exactly the Clocks are matched at conception and why with all the technology seemingly required for these Clocks, they wouldn't be able to ultrasound or determine how many children a pregnant mother was carry (perhaps it will be expanded upon in future books), I was able to accept the idea of the Clocks existence for the story's sake (plus, it's just a really neat concept). However, "A Time to Die" goes beyond your typical dystopian. Perhaps a bit reminiscent of YA survival stories that began with Gary Paulsen's classic "Hatchet," our teenage protagonist fights to survive the wilds: fending for herself outside the Wall. Some of this portion of the story seems to stretch credibility: Parvin's described multiple times in the story as thin and not very strong, yet the amount of physical injuries she is able to sustain with a bare minimum of sustenance (not to mention a later handicap) ... I don't know how accurate that would be, but I also understand you can't underestimate human tenacity and the will to survive, so I employed literary suspension of disbelief. ;-) Regardless, it's definitely intense and Brandes has no qualms about pushing her protagonist into huge, life-changing situations that have permanent effects ... dare I say, shocking? There's lot of things for readers unpack, think about, and discuss, for sure! Fortunately, Parvin is a character that I think teens and other YA fiction readers will be able to relate to. She makes mistakes, learns from them, and struggles with those big "Who am I?" questions: "I consider my own question. Am I supposed to make decisions? Or should I wait until I know God has told me something? Have I ever known? No. So then how do I find out God's plan for me?" And wow. The ending. I'm just glad the sequel will be releasing later next month in October ... Part dystopian, part survival story, along with a dash of romance and some crazy plot twists --Brandes' "Out of Time" series is off to a unforgettable start! [Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the author for review purposes.]
I know the author who wrote this, we go to her and her husband Daylen's house every friday night.