I love a good dystopian story, and A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes did not disappoint. Every time I picked up the book to read another chapter, I thought to myself, “I’m going on an adventure!” (In Bilbo Baggins’s voice, of course.) And that’s exactly how I would describe this story. As an adventure.
Brandes takes the reader into a dystopian world where Clocks determine how long you live. The heroine, Parvin, doesn’t want to die with “empty numbers”. She wants her life to matter. And I think that’s something that resonates with everyone. We all want to have a voice. We all want to make a difference. And that’s why Parvin is immediately likable—because she does something about it. The reader is taken across the Wall, through a pack of wolves (the most vivid scene in my memory of the book), and through some primitive colonies. She drags us through the endless dregs, and finally leads us to a futuristic city of tightropes and some cool technology.
Parvin’s relationship with her family was quirky and realistic. This being a dystopian book, it wasn’t overly violent. As a Christian book, it wasn’t overly preachy. I think even non-christians can identify with the need to find “shalom”, or peace— the way things were intended to be.
As a hopeless romantic, I would have liked the romance to be taken up a notch, but that’s just a personal preference. ;)
There were a couple scenes where Parvin was placed into simulations to face her fears, and they were a *bit* too much like Divergent. BUT they were short and few, and still had original elements.
For the most part, the story had good pacing, but there were a few parts seemed to drag. After she passed the wolves and was traveling away from the Wall, for example. And then there were the Dregs. I kept wondering, “When are we going to get out of here?!” But maybe it was necessary for the reader to experience what Parvin was going through (since she was the one traveling it).
The book was amazing, with a good, strong (and shocking) ending. An exciting, page-turning piece of fabulousness. Nadine Brandes is a master plot weaver, and her three-dimensional characters and original story-world will stick with you long after you’ve finished the book. I will definitely read the sequel.