Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes

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

Author: Nadine Brandes
Published by: Enclave Publishing (2014)

My Rating: ★★★★★


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.

MY REVIEW: **note: there are spoilers, but they are hidden. Highlight to read.**

Wow…I have no idea where to even begin this review. The amount of thematic and deep elements in this story were 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, probably because I have been wanting to read a good dystopian and this one fit that description and beyond. I was captivated by the idea of Clocks and I was almost instantly absorbed in the world. I connected to Parvin, and I loved Reid and the other characters. 

I have so many many positives but just a few notes—not negatives, directly, just notes and questions—that I’ll address first. I was confused a bit about Parvin and Reid—they’re supposed to be twins, yet Reid is so much more the older, protective brother, calling Parvin “my little Brielle”. It just seemed a lot more like older brother-younger sister relationship than twins. Also, Skelley Chase had me a bit on the edge of my seat. 

SPOILER (highlight to read)

I was convinced in the beginning that he was going to end up being good all along from the way it was written, but then, needless to say, he wasn’t.

One other thing is I didn’t get the huge significance of Hawke and Jude being brothers. I mean, yeah, it’s cool but I didn’t know that it’s the huge plot twist it’s painted as.

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—and I think another reviewer addressed this as well—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. The plot could be seen as a little cliche, but the way it was written and the way it played out made it seem anything but. 

At first, I was worried Parvin was going to be stereotypical, but then she defied my worries, becoming 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! She knows the truth and 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 too. I feel she was very easy to relate to—her desire to become something more, to do something more, to find purpose will surely resonate in readers’ ears, especially readers who long for so similiar.

In this way, I think the author perfectly wrote this in to embellish on that desire and wrote it 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 went about portraying this desire and turned Parvin’s longing for Jesus to lead into something more physical— with literal weakness and more. The loss of her hand symbolized more than I ever thought it could, and I’d say almost anything in the book is some kind of symoblic thing for Christ’s strength. Different settings and atmospheres provided natural and not at all cheesy opportunities for her to grow, and to see Christ’s provision and presence. I thought the way the author did occasional words from God was good, and so close to truth. I didn’t find it cheesy at all; rather, Parvin’s decision to follow Christ comes as a part of the plot to find purpose rather than being preachy or cheesy. It was woven together skillfully.

There was a level of violence in this book, though nothing gory or graphic. Parvin’s bravery through her injuries was incredible and mind-blowing. I also appreciated the way the story stayed true to real life—i.e., the wounds actually stay in the story long enough to heal rather than miracously disappearing when a new plot twist appears, and she has her injuries throughout the course of the story and she responds accurately. The way her 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 (highlight to read)When Parvin loses her hand, you feel her pain so strongly that I came away from this book truly feeling like I myself had lost a hand, and then it turned to praising God for my two hands. In this way does this book make you think and really appreciate things you took for granted; this is just one example.

The ending. Oh my gosh the ending. 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 and 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!!! 

SPOILER (highlight to read)
I can’t BELIEVE the clock is Reid’s!! Another way to prove what I said earlier about my writer instinct disappearing….I could have easily seen that coming, BUT I DIDN’T. Even though I knew there were sequels, so Parvin in theory shouldn’t die, I THOUGHT SHE WAS, and I COULDNT 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.

I appreciated the fact the romantic levels were kept to a minimum. Yes, characters are attracted to each other, but there’s not even any kissing. Completely clean and wholesome.

I’ve touched on this, but again, the setting of this pulled me into the book and took hold. Down to the last detail was described. 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. The depth of this book captivated me even after the book was finished. 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 sure-to-be depth in the second book. READ THIS BOOK!!!!! 5.0 stars!

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