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Out of Time #1

A Time to Die

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

Three hundred sixty-four days, seven hours, and sixteen—no, fifteen—seconds left to live. Like everyone else on the east side of the Wall, Parvin Blackwater has a clock counting down the days until her death. At only seventeen, she has only one year left.

When the authorities find out she has been illegally sharing a clock with her twin brother, she is cast through the Wall—her people's death sentence. What she finds on the other side about the world, about God, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. If she can get the word to them before her time runs out.

389 pages, Paperback

First published September 23, 2014

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About the author

Nadine Brandes

7 books2,583 followers
NADINE BRANDES once spent four days as a sea cook in the name of book research. She is the award-winning author of FAWKES, ROMANOV, and the Out of Time Series. Her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of soul-talk, Quidditch, bookstagram, and Oreos. When she's not busy writing novels about bold living, she's adventuring through Middle Earth or taste-testing a new chai. Nadine, her Auror husband, and their Halfling children are building a Tiny House on wheels. Current mission: paint the world in shalom.

(See her dorkiness on fully display on her Instagram and her YouTube)

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 462 reviews
Profile Image for Nadine Brandes.
Author 7 books2,583 followers
February 12, 2017
I'm certainly not going to write a review for my own book. That kind of defeats the purpose of reviews. BUT...I thought I'd include a parental guide for those who like to know exactly what type of content is going to be in the book.


I recommend this book for ages 14 and up, though the maturity of the reader plays a big part. So, basically, if you're a parent...know your child's reading level.

Profanity: NONE

Intimacy: There is attraction between a boy and girl, but no kissing.

Violence: This is where I advise parents to use the most caution. There is violence in this book (details below), but it doesn't get graphic. However, the scenes can certainly be disturbing to some readers. Click on "spoiler" to see the scenes in detail:

Scary scenes: These scenes may not be violent but they can be scary.

Readers, if I've forgotten anything, please say so in the comments and I'll include it in here. :)
Profile Image for Madelyn.
84 reviews96 followers
August 17, 2016
FULL REVIEW HERE: http://literarycafe.weebly.com/home/a...

I finished this book approximately three weeks ago. It has taken me the entirety of that time to gather my incoherent fangirling thoughts and write this whirlwind of a review.

I'm sure everyone has a book that they can't stop seeing around. Wherever you go, wherever you look, it somehow always seems to pop up. For me, that was this book. Why I ignored it for so long I still do not know (Especially with that gorgeous cover. Ask anyone. I'm all about the covers).

I suppose you could say this was my most anticipate book of the year. I, for some reason, am always hesitant to start them. I assume it's because I've built up such high expectations, and more often than not, they disappoint. I am happy to say this one lived up to my hopes and dreams, even more.

"Enjoy the little things in life," they say. One of my very favorite 'little things' happens to be quotes. So, without further ado, we begin:


"I enter my room and shut the door softly, like a whisper. If I could unbutton my soul and hang it up, it's downtrodden state might dry off by morning. Instead, I lie on my bed and let it float in my emotions."

"Mere survival holds no purpose. I refuse to believe God created us to just get by, so where does that put me?"

​"I can't comprehend the full emotion in his wrinkled brow and grinding jaw, but his eyes hold deeper sorrow than I've ever witnessed in my short life. In this moment, I realize how very different sorrow is from pity."


Generally, I create a long list full of specific things I enjoyed from a book (like plot, character details, resolve, etc). I'm going to change it up today and make it special because this, my friends, is a very special book. I'm going to create a few different categories and list my favorites from them under that. Sorry if that was confusing. You'll soon figure it out.


This novel (partly because it was a sci-fi) is filled with brilliant new technology. While it's hard to choose, let me introduce you to the three objects of my highest esteem:

I will just say, the suits Parvin tests out are the epitome of every little kid's 'being a spy' dream.
By the end of the book, I was head over heels in love with this idea. For those of you who haven't read the book, a sentra can be described as a small device which (by pricking your finger, wrist, neck, etc.) uses your blood to take a 'picture' of your emotion at that moment. Then by the same method, someone else can take the chip the sentra produces and feel your emotion for several seconds, as well as your fleeting thoughts. Don't you want one now?
​I'm pretty sure when I say that every teenager in the modern world would want one of these, that I'm correct. A music chip is exactly what it sounds like. A chip inserted into your bloodstream which monitors your emotions and plays music to go along with your feelings. Need I say more? I think not.


​One day several months ago I was contemplating the possibility of a race/species that had perfect balance who lived in treehouses and walked from house to house with tightropes... But Nadine made it even better by having a civilization with advanced technology operate on them. Wow.


​I know. He plays a small part. But I have a feeling that will change in the next book, and I want to go on record saying that I like him before he does something utterly heroic and steals all of our hearts. But maybe I'm wrong because I have received many warnings from fellow fangirls (who, by the way, fangirl Jude, not Solomon *cough*- hann, amanda, hannah *cough*). Who knows?
​I took a test to see which character's personality I was most similar to, and I just so happened to wind up with Skelly Chase. True Story. (you can take the test here:http://www.playbuzz.com/nadine10/whic...). Even though he's the villain, I did enjoy how Nadine crafted him.


From the Albino society, these were my very favorite names. So creative. Plus they fit their personalities, in my opinion.
​Initially, I had second guesses about this name. It's incredibly unique, and I don't believe I've ever heard it before. But as I neared the end and had become used to it, I began to appreciate how uncommon it was. For me, it was perfect because she's such a one-of-a-kind person, she deserved a one-of-a-kind name.

There you have it! I hope I wasn't too squealy​. But truly, this is now in my top favorite books list (of which there are only two. Including this one.)

Full review (with even more pictures :D) here: http://literarycafe.weebly.com/home/a...
Profile Image for C.B. Cook.
Author 6 books203 followers
February 2, 2016
Edit: Added content review

Wow. Wowwowwow. At the very least, I can say this book kept me guessing until the very end!

And as this is the first book I've finished in 2016, I though I would do a special format. Here's to twenty sixteen!


2 (phrases I'm going to try to use) - Welks (for you're welcome - guess how long it took me to figure that out!) and Tally ho!

0 (things I loved about Skelley Chase) - Let's just say that I REALLY hope he kills a tree in front of Alder. I REALLY REALLY HOPE SO. (When did I become so violent???)

1 (thing I guessed) - I KNEW Jude and Hawke were brothers!!! As soon as Jude said that his brother joined the Enforcers to try and help Radicals... I knew...

6 (WONDERFUL REASONS I SHALL READ THE NEXT BOOK ASAP) - Parvin (Will she live?????), Willow (Will she live?????), the Newtons, Hawke, Jude's secret (How's that going to play out?), and the entire WORLD. What's even going ON???

Language: None
Romance: Minor (wishing for a kiss, attraction)
Violence: Major (missing limbs, being attacked by wolves, stitching herself up, deaths) Not for the faint of heart

This is one of my favorite books already, and I'm pretty sure it'll be one of my favorite books of this year. But then again, there are a lot more books to read... Well done, Nadine Brandes!
Profile Image for ✧˖° lydia °˖✧ {semi-hiatus}.
195 reviews169 followers
April 15, 2023
3.5 stars

~edit~ 04/14/23

I've been thinking about this book a lot and I'm changing my rating from 3 to 3.5, but still rounding down to 3. This was definitely a super interesting book, but a lot of things in it weren't my proverbial cup of tea (i.e. the writing, overall plot, tropes, and some of the characters). Again, there were great themes and messages and if the premise interests you I definitely recommend checking it out! And I recommend reading Nadine's fantasy novels over this one because I enjoyed them sm more!

~Lydia has officially decided that she is not a dystopian kind of gal.~

Unless it's The Hunger Games.

happy reading m'dears (and don't mind how dramatic and emotional my original review is, I was in a mood).

~original review~ 04/10/23

Pain. Death. Sadness.

This book is made up of these things. It’s a horrifying, knife-wielding story. It’s a broken Clock ticking furiously even though every number is a bloody red zero.

Broken shalom.

The world is full of it. Since the Garden, when Adam and Eve defied their God, the perfect shalom He created broke.

This book paints that in a terrifyingly bright color.

This books testifies to how, in this sinful world of broken shalom, Christians are Radicals, transformed by God, fighting to the end of their invisible Numbers to bring the perfect shalom back, to bring everything to the way God meant it to be.

Invisible Numbers.

We don’t know the days we die. We don’t know how long we have. But in this book, we do. Before Jesus returns, we might.

If we lived in the USE, in the world this book brings to life, and we knew exactly when we’d die, would our lives be different then they are now? Would we be more motivated, more God-fearing, and more prepared?

The answer is probably yes.

It should be no.

We should be living like there’s no tomorrow and be spending every waking minute of our lives radically transforming others through the Giver of shalom.

This book shows that, and so much more.

It was not a perfect book (see my 3-star rating) but underneath its flaws it's a powerful story of fear, pain, absence of hope, and broken shalom.

It really touched me in a far corner of my heart! I hope it would do the same for you.<3

Tally ho.
Profile Image for Sarah Grace Grzy.
629 reviews839 followers
January 31, 2018
Wow. Wow. Wow. I just don't even know how to review this . . . but I'll do my best.

This book is so incredibly *deep* it almost made my brain hurt sometimes. Brandes tackles some very good - and weighty - questions throughout, and handles them in an exceptional manner. It really makes you think - which I loved. Some of the concepts and ideas just blew my mind.

The characters were a ton of fun, not to mentioned relatable, honest, and real. The MC, Parvin, is just like any one of us. She wants to do the right thing, she wants to be selfless. She wants to trust God and have faith. But yet she's scared to death, and questions God when everything seems to be going wrong. She's human. She struggles with the same exact issues that I do, and you do. Not to mention her sarcasm was pretty awesome. XD Her character arc was masterfully done, and I knew within only a few chapters that Brandes is an incredibly talented author.
Other characters such as Jude, Hawke, Reid and Willow, were also fantastic. Jude's story particularly really caught my interest. I wasn't really a fan of the romance between Jude and Parvin, and that's part of the reason I docked a star.
Hawke's character was pretty understated, but I know he will be far more prominent in future books, which I am really looking forward to.
Reid, though, was the very best. I may or may not have a brother-crush on that character. He was just the sweetest and reminded me in many ways of my own brothers. <3

The story and setting was very fascinating. There were times were the plot lagged a bit, and I lost interest, but I am glad I pushed through, as it was totally worth it. There were some aspects that I found overly-creepy, such as the albino's lifestyle? What even? Just ew . . . That first scene in the albino village had me creeped out. That, and a few other aspects were too violent for my tastes, but that's entirely just my feelings on that matter.

All in all, this book was really. really. well written. Just wow! As I said before, it is incredibly clear that Brandes is a talented author, and I look forward to reading more by her!

Recommended for ages 16+ for violence and mild romance.
Profile Image for Coralie.
564 reviews95 followers
September 26, 2023

Okay, guys. So, let me preface: I've heard Nadine's name floating around for a few years now among my writerly circles. So many of my friends are huge fans. And I've been following her IG for several months now because I love her personality and the content she puts out. Well, one day she posted a video mashup of things that represented A Time to Die and after hearing her name praised for so long and watching the most epic vibe video ever, I took the dive and bought the book. Didn't even read the blurb--so not like me. And the rest is history.

The book started out slowly for me. I loved the first line. I loved the premise. And I was intrigued by the world. I spent the whole first third of the book tip toeing around, waiting for the shoe to drop. I felt like there had to be something coming; I just didn't know what. The beginning was interesting in the world and seeing the relationships Parvin had with other characters, but the plot was slow and I had to keep sticking with it just waiting to see where Nadine was going to take this. Upon rereading, it didn't feel as slow as the first time I read it. Not sure why, but the pacing didn't drag as much in the opening this time.

Then she went over the Wall (which the back cover blurb says, so it's not much of a spoiler). Boy howdy did things pick up after that! I felt like we jumped off a cliff and free falled for the next half of the book! There were some intense sections of this story. We'd go through some tense moments and then breathe for a second and then dive right into the tension again. I swear my heart got a workout reading this book. The plot absolutely picked up. It was worth pushing through that slower beginning.

Alongside the intense storyline, the book was an emotional rollercoaster. And I am STILL not happy with that ending!! So not happy I immediately purchased books 2 & 3. I need to know what happens, even though I'm pretty sure Nadine isn't finished emotionally scarring me for the rest of my life. I learned quickly that she doesn't pull punches. Anything goes in this story and that terrified me at some points in the story.

I've long been a fan of survival stories and the wild world Parvin learns to navigate was thrilling and totally scratched that itch for me. It was really cool to see the different settings that Parvin moved through. She had unique, distinct cultures and settings that really encompassed the reader and drew me in. It really made the world feel vast and realistic, like something our world could turn into in the future. That lent an interesting gravity to the world and the story.

I will say that Parvin wasn't my favorite. I liked her. I connected with her desire to do something, something meaningful with her life, to pursue purpose. I really liked that in her a lot. But I absolutely loved Jude and Reid and Hawke. And Willow grew on me, too. The guys in this cast were amazing and I wanted to be their friends. I wanted to get to know them, to cheer them on and watch Parvin develop the relationships. It was interesting to see her distance herself from everyone, but it kind of frustrated me because everyone else was so interesting! Especially Jude. Jude was a really fun character and I loved the dynamic created by his addition to Parvin's travels.

Fascinatingly, I think I've flipped a little in the reread. I actually felt more connected to Parvin this time and slightly more annoyed with Jude. I still adore Hawke and Reid, but I don't think I've ever read a book and flipped how I felt about characters before. So, this is new territory for me. Something about where I am right now with my personal journey just connected me so much more deeply to Parvin's journey of learning to see broken Shalom and to seek restoration of Shalom. I think the first time I felt such peace, but this time reading it, I resonated so much with the brokenness. I felt the depth of pain and sorrow and the yearning for that peace.

Something else that fascinated me was the way Nadine wove in her faith. Watching Parvin grow and build a relationship with God felt so natural throughout the story. The repetition of and focus on Shalom just flooded me with peace as I read. It was beautiful to be reminded over and over that we live in a broken world and that this isn't the way it was meant to be, that it isn't the way it will always be. Not only was the story a thrilling ride, but it was an experience between me and my Creator, too.

Content: there is no foul language in the book, and very mild romance (I'M STILL MAD I DIDN'T EVEN GET A KISS!), but there are a few violent moments. Though none of them were super duper graphic, Nadine did do a very good job of portraying the horror of some of them. She's built a world and story that centers a lot on impending death and her character enters a wilderness fraught with danger. There are deep themes of worth, purpose, humanity, life, and death. So, though the book is clean, I'd recommend it for mid to late teens and up.

That said, I would very much recommend the book to others and will definitely be continuing the series. Although, NADINE HOW COULD YOU LEAVE ME LIKE THAT?! I'm torn between being very happy about this reading experience and very upset with Nadine for tormenting me the way she has. I must continue! But I'm sure she's not done with me yet!

Profile Image for Shantelle.
Author 2 books358 followers
March 23, 2017
I recently came to love dystopian. It intrigues me. Thrills me. So when I saw that A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes was a Christian dystopian, I was so excited to read it! Now I sit here, contemplating. One star? Four stars? Five stars? It was raw, it was riveting, it was heart-breaking! I suppose I won't know exactly what I think about this book until I read the second book in the series. But no, no, the one star is out of the question. A Time to Die is a too well-written and fascinating of a tale to get only one star! *smiles*

Parvin Blackwater has one year left to live. And she's only eighteen. Her clock is slowly loosing its numbers, ticking ever closer to her death. But she has yet to really live! And she sees injustice and wrongs around her that she aches to fight against. Yet what difference can she make with so little time left?
Step into this broken, futuristic world and go on a wild journey with Parvin as she discovers things she has never before known.

The dystopian aspect and world was amazing. Well thought-out. Terrible. Real. Absolutely intriguing. I saw a few similarities to Divergent and The Hunger Games pop up here and there ... yet A Time to Die was so very different than them even so. It's definitely its own unique dystopian world.

I was surprised and startled again and again. Nadine Brandes had so many unexpected twists waiting around the corner! Wow. I was hooked, and finished this story in no time.

The theme was awesome. It made me think: What would I do if this was my last year? It honestly scared me, because, like Parvin, I sometimes feel purposeless, useless ... like I've wasted my years so far. I can identify with her - that longing to leave a mark on the world. To make a difference for good. To live life to the fullest; to use what God has given you! ...But then, not knowing how. Not feeling like my efforts amount to anything. So yes. It was incredible to journey along with her and watch her grow. Poignant to feel her desperate emotions.
I also loved the whole theme with 'Shalom'. It was so very beautiful. So very deep. Every part of that was brilliant, and definitely makes a reader want to draw nearer to God. Beautiful job, Nadine! ^_^ Eep! I could go on about it, but I don't want to give any spoilers. Read A Time to Die and experience it for yourself, people!

So yes. I identified with Parvin. Despite some slightly foolish choices, I really liked her character. She wasn't the hard, "fake", arrogant, kick-butt heroine that some dystopian (and fantasy and perhaps historical) novels like to display. Instead she was someone I could relate to; someone I could cheer on. Jude was hard er to understand sometimes, but I liked him too. And Solomon Hawke was sweet. Willow was a sweetie too. Oh my word, I just want to explode right now with anger at a certain person and a certain people group ... but I'll keep myself from doing so, so I want give away any spoilers! But be prepared to be angry. Very angry. This story stirs up emotions for sure. The sheer injustice!!! The betrayal! The absurdity! The hypocrisy! The way human life no longer holds its preciousness! O.O Grrr! It just made me so mad. How could they? And then try to pass it off as righteous or "just-the-way-it-is"?

*Ahem* There was a bit of a budding romance going on; but nothing much. There was some violence. Definitely some gore. Nothing like reading The Hunger Games; but still sometimes I was left a bit squeamish or shocked.

Overall, an absolutely gripping tale. And that ending! O.O I am so very happy that I will be reading A Time to Speak soon-ish here!

If you like dystopian ... intricate mysteries ... wild journeys ... heart-pounding suspense ... tender moments ... themes of poignancy and depth ... Then you most certainly need to pick up A Time to Die and give it a try!

I received a copy of A Time to Die from the author in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Hannah Rodes.
109 reviews11 followers
January 29, 2016
A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes

Parvin Brielle Blackwater is seventeen years old and has only one more year to live. Same as everyone else in the East side of the wall, Parvin has a clock counting down to the day she is going to die. When it is found out that Parvin has been illegally sharing a clock with her brother Reid, she is thrown over the wall—her peoples death sentence. Here she finds her calling and grows closer to God. But now with only six months to live, is it too late to except that calling?

Once again I fell in love with the beautiful characters Nadine Brandes crafted in her novel. I totally felt Parvin was relatable and I loved her more the second read through. I don’t know, I just loved everything more the second read through. Maybe because I actually slowed down and didn’t read it to quickly and process hardly anything, like my first read. *scowls at self*

My goodness. This was my second time reading A Time to Die and I caught so many more things. I just seriously, want to cuddle and cry, while I think about wiser ways to spend my time. A Time to Die totally inspired me to be all I can be for God, and I just am so happy I re-read this. You just need to read A Time to Die. It will be way, worth your precious time.

(And I. Can’t. Resist. This. The. Temptation. Is. To. Strong.) Tally Ho!
Profile Image for R.F. Gammon.
527 reviews180 followers
March 10, 2018
I've seen this book hyped up since I joined Goodreads, and ended up buying the whole series in paperback with some Christmas money. I read this first one in a couple of days.

And sheesh, was the hype worth it.

-This is Christian fiction that is NOT AFRAID to get real. And dark. And I love that. Life in the Christian world is not all fun and games, and it's a little weird to go from this to Mitford....but I still love them both. <3 And the fact that the darkness is not GLORIFIED but is in there to depict that this is a fallen world.... *all the heart eyes*
-PARVIN. Her internal journeys spoke to me so so so much. I mean, she starts out so selfish and caring only about herself, wondering if her family even loves her, angry at herself for wasting her life up to this point....but her character arc is immense throughout this story and I adore it. <3
-Willow. Poor sweet little Willow. <3 And Ash! I really liked Ash!
-Jude. As an individual, however. I'll talk a little bit (in spoilers) about what I DIDN'T like about him in the next section. For now, suffice it to say: That personality! And that ending!
-All the locations and steampunky stuff! Wilber's suits! Wilber himself! Ivanhoe which was just PERFECT and I adore it! (Air/wind is my element, so the idea of a city where everything is wide open and tightropes and all of that...*squeals*)
-The messages of truth that were so prevalent throughout were just sort of YES
-I absolutely loved Skelley Chase (both as a character and...ya know...after the plot twist.)
-Parvin's parents are great!

-Elm. I'm sorry, guys, I just do not like him. :P
-Jude. So, I get that he has anger management issues and all that, but
-I mentioned above that I like the grittiness of this book, but a couple of times, it got to be just a little TOO dark. One scene in particular: WELL MY GOODNESS. For the most part it didn't bother me. But then things got weird. XD

Overall? Four stars to this one, and I love the rest of the series! Definitely not for everyone, but if you're looking for gritty Christian fiction that really doesn't shy away from the darkness in the world but still shines God's light through, I would ABSOLUTELY recommend this book. <3
Profile Image for Ava (✿◕‿◕✿).
66 reviews36 followers
April 21, 2023
God wants something more for me. He won’t leave me in this broken shalom.

✿ ✿ ✿

this book is good for your soul.

but it may also break your heart.

there is a difference. ✨😉

I wish I could give ♾️/5 stars. There are few words to describe how much I loved this 😭😭😭 I will try. When reading A Time to Die you are faced with an important question: how would you live knowing the day you’ll die? Would you travel? Become famous? Write an autobiography? Or would you try to restore shalom to our broken world?

Shalom: God’s perfect and complete peace, the way the world was intended to be. There is no shalom in Parvin’s (our mc) world- aka a dystopian America.

Parvin has one year left to live according to her clock, and she feels like her life was wasted. I won’t give any details beyond there lol you’ll have to find out what she decides to do by reading it. 😄😄😄

This story beautifully parallels with my favorite Bible verse, 1 Cor. 2:9. It says, it is written, no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart of man imagined, what God has in store for those who love him. 🤍 I encourage you to read A Time to Die with that verse in mind.

We need more well written Christian dystopian y’all ✨🥲. Nadine Brandes is absolutely brilliant and this book was so beautiful I loved every second of it. I didn’t want it to end! Thank goodness for the sequel LOL.

This gave me major Hunger Games vibes- but with an entirely different plot 😆😆😆. Though I have to say, Katniss’ story might’ve been different if she trusted in the Giver of Shalom. 🥰

Our girl Parvin has some serious backbone ✋🏻🤧 she went through SO MUCH OMG. I’ve included a detailed list of her sufferings and accomplishments.

Unfortunately, the list contains spoilers so read at your own risk ☺️☺️☺️

This was one of best books I’ve read in a long time!!! It also pulled me out of a semi-reading slump 😌😌😌 It will present you with convicting spiritual concepts, nudge you to evaluate your life and have you wondering what am I living for? Who am I trusting?

The truth is, our world is broken shalom. It is not how He intended it to be. There is pain, suffering, death. But God has something more for us. A perfect, beautiful plan beyond our imagination… if we’re willing to trust Him. 🫶🏻🫶🏻🫶🏻

This was an amazing, amazing read. If you are a Christian teen girl I so encourage you to pick this up! I promise you won’t regret it!

mwah! 👋🏻🥰

age rec: 13+
content: 2/5
content warnings: I would say this was the same violence level as the Hunger Games- perhaps a little less. There was no notable content besides that!
Profile Image for Melanie Kilsby.
Author 2 books275 followers
June 4, 2017
This is the Christian sic-fi version of the Hunger Games.

I was exhausted by the end with all that Parvin had gone through. That girl made up for the lack of life she lived before, let me tell you!

Nadine did such a great job with building this new world with: memorable, heartwarming, sweet, interesting and slightly creep characters that seem to stick with you.
I love her play on lemons. Such a unique way for readers to associate to a character. I really thought I was smelling lemons at one point! Also, the fedora helped too!
Her creative way to explain a biography was so cool. I mean, who wouldn't want to feel someones emotions at certain points in time? Isn't that why we read oftentimes, to relate? I mean, that part of her book was brilliant!

The idea of Shalom was different for me, but not quite a negative. It was the main theme that seemed to drive Parvin on through her path of finding her meaning. It brings her closer to knowing who God is and having a relationship with Him, which I LOVED!!! But, at times, it almost felt like an identity on its own which was a slight confusion for me throughout the book.

Still can't wait to continue this series and see where her adventure leads :D

Recommended as a YA Christian Dystopian Fiction Novel
Profile Image for Tracey Dyck.
Author 3 books79 followers
February 6, 2019

I still love it. My heart is still in pieces. I need book 2 ASAP—thank goodness it’s waiting on my shelf!


OH. MY. GOODNESS. This trilogy gets a lot of hype, at least in my reader circles, and I was desperately hoping it would live up to all those glowing reviews. IT DID. Bless Nadine's heart, it did.

This is one of the most unusual dystopian novels I've read, because it's infused with a lot more faith and hard questions and almost urban fantasy-ish settings than others. One setting in particular almost felt out of place, but I found it so fascinating that I didn't care.

But let's get back to the beginning. PARVIN. She is gold. I related to her so stinking much. In a society where everyone has a Clock counting down the time until they die, she has a year left and yearns to find her purpose, some way to make her last days count. She swings from apathy to passion a few times throughout the course of the novel, which was uncomfortably realistic (but in a good way). And she's something of a writer--well, technically an autobiographer--so that was neat.

Some quick thoughts on other characters:

-Parvin's mom was hard to like at first, but that was on purpose, and I felt their somewhat rocky relationship was done really well.
-Parvin's twin brother was lovable, except for a few times when he was annoyingly secretive.
-A certain man with a fedora was verrrrry hateable.
-Jude--I have conflicting feelings about this guy even now. At times I hated him too, at other times I adored him. He was flawed, temperamental, but he had his reasons. So my undecided opinion is not a bad thing! Just an observation!
-Hawke--okay, him I like. He had some moments that made me unsure as well, but in other ways he reminded me of the beloved Remko from Rachelle Dekker's Seer trilogy, minus the stutter. I want more Hawke in the next two instalments!
-Willow was precious.
-One minor character had a strong Ecclesiastes ("everything is useless!") vibe going on, which was intriguing.
-The Albinos were despicable and strange and yet some of them had redeeming qualities.

I don't even know how to sum up my thoughts on this book! I've been thinking about it for weeks since finishing it. It brought me close to tears. It resonated with me powerfully. The emotions were palpable, the writing was excellent, and the worldbuilding was fleshed out wonderfully. Low cities and high cities, a humongous wall, tightropes, wilderness, a train, the Dregs, emotigraphs, super cool suits: all of it shone through the pages brilliantly. Nadine writes with truckloads of heart, and consequently, mine was broken in a beautiful way.

Can't wait to read the next two! Five stars!

My heart is all over the floor right now. Review to come when I pick up the pieces!
Profile Image for gabi.
1,005 reviews24 followers
June 29, 2016
Wow. Just wow. I was worried about not liking this after seeing everyone love it. But I shouldn’t have worried. I loved it!

In Parvin Blackwater’s world everyone has a Clock. On that Clock the Numbers tell how long you have to live. Parvin has a year left to live. She wamts to do something meaningful. She wants to be remembered. She begins to think she is doing something right, when she is discovered to be sharing a Clock with her twin brother. As punishment she is thrown through the Wall that divides the world in half. On the other side she may find something that can save her people, if she has the time to tell them.

Usually when I love a book, it is mainly that characters that I love. It wasn’t exactly the case for this one. I loved all aspects of this book! I only liked Parvin at the beginning, but as I read more she grew on me and now I love her. She seemed very normal, and I liked that. She had a temper, which I totally relate to, but she also had an inner strength which grew as the story went on. There were moments when she was whiny, but I thought it realistic (Aren’t we all whiny at times?). I fell much more easily in love with many of the side characters. Reid was an awesome brother. He was humorous and fun, but was serious about protecting his family. I want to learn more about him! Solomon Hawke was amazing. I loved him from the moment I saw him. He was such a gentleman. He was quiet, but his presence held authority. He was trying to do the right thing, but he might be on the wrong side. Jude, ah, Jude. He seemed to care about know one but himself, but under that hard shell he was caring and loving. He was protective and aggressive. He was mysterious and had many secrets. Willow was a sweet young girl. Elm was neat. I must see more of him! Skelley Chase was a different and unique “bad guy”. I’m still trying to figure out his motives for what he’s done. I kind of liked him, but then he stepped crossed the line. So now I love and hate him.

I haven’t read many Christian dystopians, but this was probably the best one I’ve read. The world building was fantastic and unique. I loved the feel of it. I’m still a bit confused about a few of the strange devices in the world, but I get the gist of it.

The writing was great. I really do like first person. It was gripping and I found myself really connecting with Parvin in a short amount of time.

The plot was ingenious. There were a few things that felt really coincidental, but overall it was pretty realistic for the story. It was slower paced at the beginning, but it quickly sped up. It became unpredictable, intense, scary, exciting, and terrifying all at the same time! The deaths destroyed me! How could that happen? But I think it helped make the story all the more special. But now I’m scared. How many characters are going to make it through this series? The ending was so messed up! I must have the next one! It can’t leave me hanging like that!

I’m recommending this to a bit older teens and up because some of the violence was gruesome and might be scary for younger kids. Totally everyone should read this though! It was exceptionally good and I can’t wait to read more!

You can check out this review on my blog too, at: https://aheartredeemed.wordpress.com/... Thanks!
Profile Image for Rebekah.
Author 5 books45 followers
February 7, 2017
I. MUST. READ. THE. NEXT. BOOK. Seriously though. After having this series highly recommended to me by several friends, I got the first book as a Christmas a present from my grandparents. After the holiday business and starting college business, I finally had a couple days of solid reading and finished it. Finished it with heart beating about five times as rapidly as it should.
The whole idea of lives being run by clocks and all manner of electronic chips you could put in your mind was fascinating. And I enjoyed the variety of characters and settings the author wove throughout the book. A fabulous and intense read with lots of feels. I think it'll take a couple days for me to relax again after all that tension.
So if it's a fabulous book, why only four stars? Well, two reasons: first, I found myself frustrated with Parvin for most of the story and hard to relate to everything I think I was supposed relate to. The second reason, I thought the cliff-hanger endings of the chapters were overused. They lost their effect halfway through the book. If not sooner.

Also, the smell of lemons WILL NEVER BE THE SAME.
Profile Image for mary liz.
213 reviews18 followers
September 23, 2016
This is a rather tricky book to review. See, I really liked some aspects of the book, but...I didn't totally love it.

I've come to the conclusion that dystopian is not my genre. It's just not. I've tried several different dystopians, but interestingly enough, they all earn about the same rating. I guess I just can never get into it? Maybe it's too depressing for me, I dunno. :P Though I will say that for a dystopian book, A Time to Die was much less dismal than others. In fact, I would argue that it actually focuses a LOT on hope. Which is awesome! Props to the author for that!

ANYWHOZENS. I'm already rambling. *forces train of thought back onto the tracks*

// Things I Liked //

The premise of this book is extremely inventive. Oh, and it's FULL of all kinds of creative things! I don't want to spoil anything but there's a certain person named Wilbur who makes suits...suffice to say, the suits are pretty awesome, and I need them in my life. There are tightropes and cool futuristic technological things (I'm so descriptive :P) and just LOTS OF CREATIVITY. *thumbs up*

Another thing I liked about this book was the raw emotion. I absolutely love it when the author makes you feel what the characters feel. It's a sign of an amazing writer. Whenever Parvin was struggling emotionally, physically, or spiritually, I ached for her. This book made me feel. (It also crushed my heart like FIFTY GAZILLION TIMES BUT WHO'S COUNTING <3) And on the topic of characters...

I REALLY LIKED THE MAIN CHARACTER. That's always a good thing. Now, she's not my favorite character, per se, but I loved the realism that she has. Honestly, she reminded me a lot of myself in many ways. Physically unable to pull herself up a rope--check. Uses tildes--check. (We're very much alike. XD)

I loved following along with Parvin's journey. Seeing how she matured in her faith and gained more purpose was so beautiful. Really, the themes of this book are all great. The importance of using our time wisely, surrendering our life to God, and fighting for what we believe really cuts to the heart, challenging each and every reader who picks up this book. It's always refreshing to see books that stimulate our brains and make us think about important truths.

Also...I. NEED. MORE. HAWKE. <3 He is honestly the best. End of story.

Okay, now on to my dislikes. :/

// Things I Didn't Like //

This book was written in first person present tense. This is in NO way the fault of the writer--I'm sure there are lots of people who like present tense. However, I am not one of them. I had no idea it was written in that tense before I picked it up. So that was a bit of a bummer. (Although I will admit that I kind of got used to it after a while. It just wasn't my favorite.) I know this may sound like a shallow reason, but I honestly just can't get into a book as much when it's written in a tense I feel is awkward.

I also never really liked a lot of the characters. YES, I KNOW I JUST SAID I LIKED PARVIN AND HAWKE. But I reallllllllly didn't like a lot of characters in this book. I waver between loathing/loving Jude. He actually made me kind of want to throw my tablet across the room more than once. XD Honestly, the only two characters I liked a lot were Parvin and Hawke. *shrugs*

The action also tended to be...well, nonexistent. They seemed to spend the majority of the book wandering around or arguing. :P I kept waiting for exciting things to happen--and yes, they did sometimes--but I felt like every time the action would get going, it would quickly be squashed by some huge setback. Thankfully, I was invested enough in the plot and main character (and Hawke <3) that I wanted to keep reading. ^_^

There was also a certain romance I DID NOT APPROVE OF AT ALL. Nooo thank you.

Content wise, this book contains a little bit of violence and such. I maaaay have cringed during some of the scenes. ;) There is also some romance, though the author keeps it all clean. So I would probably recommend this to teens around the age of 13, just for some of the violence.

Overall, I did like this book! There just were quite a few things I didn't care for. :/ Hopefully this didn't come off as too scathing a review at the end...eheh. :P I just wanted to be honest about the book since Miss Brandes herself was generous enough to give me a free review copy! (Thanks loads, Nadine! :D)

Final Consensus: 3 Stars

So did I enjoy this book? Yes, I did. Will I be picking up the second book? ABSOLUTELY YES. I'm kind of emotionally invested now. I NEED TO KNOW WHAT ELSE HAPPENS. *grabby hands*

(Read my review on my blog. ^_^)
Profile Image for Ry.
129 reviews1 follower
December 28, 2021
I. Am. Speechless. I NEED THE NEXT ONE!

Note: Do not recommend for younger kids. SO good, but had the violent content around how much Hunger Games had. Hunger Games did not make me sick, but this book made me feel slightly sick. Sadness. Also, I'm weak when it comes to blood, etc. so that is probably just me.
Profile Image for Sierra Faith.
190 reviews37 followers
May 1, 2023
A Time to Die

Genre: Christian, Dystopian.

Favorite Quote: “You shouldn’t be placing hope in our lives, Parvin. That’s my point. I don’t know the answers of the future, but your confidence and hope need to be in God.”

Age Range: 14+ (See end of review)

POV: First person, Parvin.

Stars: 4/5

The whole idea for this book was unique; I found it very interesting. The setting of A Time to Die is a Dystopian world where everyone knows the day they die, for Parvin that day is soon.

I fell in love with Parvin, the main character. At first I thought her whiny and she grated on my nerves, but it didn't take long to change my mind! I loved Parvin's growing faith throughout the book. This story has made me ponder on my life. If I was to die tomorrow, would I have wasted my life on worthless things? This whole book just made me think.

With this being a fictional setting I felt like some aspects of the story could have been explained better. I couldn't picture some of the buildings that Parvin visited. There were also a couple of devices I was very confused as to how they worked or what they looked like (the emotigraph, for example). I would have appreciated a little more information.

For this being Nadine's debut novel she did an AMAZING job. I am super excited for her second book A Time to Speak. It's releasing sometime this fall, which is too far away if you ask me.

I would caution sensitive people due to a birth scene and several detailed "surgery" scenes.

Overall: I loved this book and I have plans to re-read it this summer!

(Original review found on: https://26countlesspossibilities.word...)
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews422 followers
November 6, 2015
This is one of my favorites of 2015 for sure.
I loved everything about this book. The writing was really great, the characters were awesome, and the concept was so incredible. I thought the idea of having a little clock that counted down to the exact second you would die was so incredibly imaginative. It kinda reminded me of that movie In Time with Justin Timberlake in a sense.
I just really loved the concept of this book and how Nadine brought it to life.
This book is just so interesting and entertaining. I read it in just a couple of days because I didn't want to put it down. I actually read this book while brushing my teeth. That's how intense the plot had become.
Overall, I loved this book. It was extremely well written and just so awesome. I'd definitely recommend this book to everyone.
Profile Image for Addy S..
170 reviews61 followers
July 14, 2018
I really enjoyed this book. I originally had this at five stars, but decided to take away a star after I really got down to the core of the book. Let me give the rundown:

-Language: a few ugly words like 'idiot', etc.
-Violence: a LOT to be on the look out for. Fighting, guns, etc. Nothing so descriptive I couldn't read it, but I would caution readers under the age of 12-13.
-Blood/Gore: a good bit in this category also. Several characters get limbs cut off (semi-detailed) and a lot of detail about injuries and illness.
-Romance: attraction between Parvin and a boy (like I'll ever tell who) , hand holding/touching, a cheek kiss [overall, not much, but what was there was sweet!)

I LOVED this. Parvin's journey has been keeping me clueless until the end of the book! (and I'm still left hanging because there are two more books in the trilogy!!!)

What I thought about the characters:

WHAT A CHARACTER!! wow. After she *mild spoiler* lost her arm, I had a deeper respect for her. Her entire journey so far has been really intriguing. I especially liked her messages with Hawke.
Um, can I please have MORE of Hawke? He was SO sweet and caring about Parvin! In the end when they finally saw each other, he was still holding her. Then the book ended. (Nadine, please stop torturing me!) I've already read reviews for the next book so I know he's coming back! #teamHawke
I must confess that I have had mixed feelings about Jude. He was sent to help Parvin, but he was hiding a lot of things and so I just didn't really trust him for a while. I really felt for him though (especially after the way things turned out. WOW! Gut wrenching for sure).
The pErFeCt brother for sure. However, I didn't care for Reid so much because of how he left Parvin. (Which isn't really a spoiler people)
what a sweet girl! and an albino too? AWESOME! Looking forward to reading more of her.

Overall, my only regret is that I don't have the next two books! I rated it four stars because of the amount of violence and blood.

Would recommend to ages 13+ and to lovers of a dystopian adventure with hints of romance. :)

Well done, Mrs. Brandes!!!
January 22, 2018
This book made me rethink everything I thought I knew about God. About life. About time. About death. About family.

Do yourself a favor and go read this gem. ❤

Profile Image for Ashley Bogner.
Author 2 books69 followers
July 3, 2016
Parvin Blackwater lives in a world where everyone knows the day they will die. With only one year left on her Clock, Parvin realizes she hasn't done anything meaningful. She tries to find a purpose, which results in her being exiled from her home and sent to the world beyond the Wall. What will she find there? Will she survive?

I thought A Time to Die was very thought-provoking and asks some tough questions. How would we live if we knew the day we would die? Do we put God's plan above our own? Do we trust Him in all circumstances? This book leaves readers with a lot to think about.

Also, I loved the first-person, present-tense narrative. I felt like I was always in Parvin’s head and saw her grow throughout the story.

The characters are interesting, and Nadine Brandes does a great job with conveying emotions. Actually, her writing is great. Period. There were times where I couldn't believe this was a debut novel. So much depth!

There were quite a few twists that were "I didn't see that coming" moments. A Time to Die is very fast-paced, and I found myself constantly thinking "just one more chapter...", but one chapter would soon turn into five. The story is unique and stands out among the dozens of dystopian novels out there.

My one complaint would be that some parts of the book were a little too gory for me (characters lose limbs, a birth scene, several scenes involving characters having to stitch up their own wounds, etc). The book, overall, felt dark and it seemed like nothing could ever go right for Parvin. But it also had a sense of hope that’s missing from a lot of other dystopian novels. And that CLIFFHANGER!!!!!!!!!!

No profanity, and sexual content is mild.

A Time to Die was definitely interesting, and Nadine Brandes knows how to tug at her readers' emotions. Parts of the book were hard for me to stomach (but I'm pretty squeamish!). Overall, I loved the themes and it was definitely a book I couldn't put down.

The sequel, A Time to Speak , is very high on my to-read list!

Oh, yes, and I love the cover. ;)
Profile Image for Zac.
46 reviews68 followers
November 29, 2015

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:

*deep inhale* All right. I'm going to attempt to write coherent words and not flail a lot while doing so.

*writes somewhat coherent words but then has a major flail attack and loses everything*

Well. Let's start over.


A Time to Die is...perfect. Yeah, that's it. *stars to walk away*

Huh? Wait, what? Oh, that's not enough? Okay, I'll continue. (Hmph. It was enough for me.)

Let me put it to you like this: you know how when you're in your room and you're suddenly hit by the brick wall-scent of baking cookies coming from the kitchen? You know how your heart starts racing, and your body starts quaking in excitement, and maybe you squeal a little bit? How you run into the kitchen, running over your siblings who have also been captured by the scent, pressing your drooling face against the glass of the stove, where you see a dozen baking chocolate chip cookies (or your cookie of choice). You know that feeling you get? Like, the highest level of excitement and anticipation of finally eating those gloriously delicious cookies? And when you do eat that first cookie, the satisfaction you get from that burst of cookie-goodness flavor? How you just want to scream out your happiness at the moment? And then devour the other 11 cookies before anyone else can.

That's what reading A Time to Die is like. Word for word, almost (excluding all the cookies, sadly). I was excited to start it, then I cracked the spine, and was hooked from page 1 until about the un-coolest "The End" ever.

I won't go into much detail (because this review is getting long already), but here we have Parvin Blackwater, a girl who has basically wasted her 17 years of life, which is about to end. Maybe. It could be her twin brother, who she illegally shares a Clock with, whose death it's predicting. But it doesn't matter--Parvin wants to make something out of her life anyways. She wants her life to mean something. So she begins to write an autobiography about her life, how she illegally shared a Clock with her brother, to help the Radicals unfairly thrown over the wall. She also seeks out the help of Skelley Chase, a renowned biographer, to help write her biography. But Skelley's edgy, risky, dangerous. And he gets her into a lot of trouble. Parvin is thrown over the Wall, expected to document her time there, and will be allowed to return the day before the time on her Clock runs out.

*sharp breathing* So. Intense. This story oozes intensity. I LOVE IT.

Parvin's journey is so uplifting. Inspiring. Emotionally crushing (I'm not even close to kidding). It's without a doubt one of the greatest journeys I've ever been on!

A Time to Die reminds me why Christian dystopian fiction is so darn awesome: because it shines light in a dark world without hope. And gives it hope--Jesus Christ. And boy, does this story ever show Christ.

Parvin is my favorite character (don't act too surprised). She's strong, like most YA/dystopian heroines, but in a different way. She doesn't force away her emotions, she's not tough as nails...she's actually weak at first. Very weak. But she knows it, and she hates that about herself. So she determines to be strong. It's so admirable. She also has her own little sassy moments, which was just hot fudge to drizzle all over those cookies we talked about earlier.

The plot of this story is like a ticking time-bomb. No, a nuke. It explodes when you least expect it, and it blows you away. (Ha. That was clever. And coherent. I've beaten this review.) I loved it.

I'm saying that a lot, aren't I? "I loved it." Oh well. I DID OKAY?

But I hated the heck out of Skelley Chase. The man's a snake. A wolf in sheep's clothing. CAN I KILL HIM NOW PLEASE?

I appreciated the boldness of faith in this book. I honestly believe this story would not have been what it is without Parvin's constant praying and talking to and relying on God. It was so beautiful. It challenged me to be more bold in my writing, and in my everyday life. I love books/stories that do that to me! Because I get more out of it than just a great story.

Jude, Willow, and Solomon Hawke were all awesome secondary characters. Flawlessly written and portrayed.

Speaking of "flawlessly written"...oh my gosh, this book is so well-written. Like, what? This is Nadine's debut novel? No way. She must be an accomplished literary novelist under a pen name.

Nope. It's really her debut novel.

And Ms. Brandes did it right, guys. All of it. It was perfection.

*wipes drool away* The light, almost nonexistent romance between Parvin and Jude cracked me up. They were both so awkward about it. It was hilariously adorable. But it was realistic, too. Which I can and do appreciate.

Okay, now I'm going to cover approximately the last 50 pages of the story, and it will be really spoiler-y, so I'll hide it. Readers who have not read A Time to Die yet, take extreme caution. Actually, just don't read this.

Whoo, now that that's over with... *exhales*

I really thought I wouldn't enjoy a story as much Storm Siren this year. But I was wrong. Boy, was I ever wrong. This is tied (with Storm Siren) as my favorite read of 2015!

I ask you (nope. Not going to "encourage" this time. Everyone needs to read this book) all to read A Time to Die. It will change you. Enlighten you. Enthrall you. Just like those warm chocolate chip cookies, this will make your innards happy and leave you craving more (especially after that ending). I would never give this beautiful story anything less than 5 stars. Because it deserves that and more. So much more.

The Highest of Recommendations.
Profile Image for Lisa Godfrees.
Author 22 books47 followers
August 22, 2014
This book has a little bit of everything.

It's dystopian, for those of us that wonder what it would be like to grow up in a world even more messed up that the world we live in. What would you do if you had to follow arbitrary society rules that weren't fair? What would you do if you were impoverished and the system was against you? Would you struggle? And what would that look like?

It's survivalist, for those who like to read about people pushing themselves past the breaking point, to overcome the odds, to be brave in the face of defeat, to struggle on even when it seems meaningless. (I'm not one of those people so I didn't like this part of the book much. But if you like to watch that show naked and afraid, you'll like this part).

It's a mystery, for those of us that just have to know what's on the other side of that wall. Which is all of us because it's part of human nature.

It's a cultural mosaic. We're not stuck in one dystopian world. We get to explore the many facets of how society invents itself. And because it's fiction, some of the people groups take themselves to the extreme. And tree huggers can be some very scary people if they become fanatics.

It's futuristic and sci-fantastic, for those of us that want to imagine what could be. Cool gadgets that we'd like to use and scary gadgets that can be abused. (It rhymes).

It's a romance--not a lot, but a little.

It's allegorical. Life is meaningless and then you die. Or is it something more than that? Could it be that our life has a purpose and we're on a journey to find it? Could it be that our greatest weakness leads to our greatest hope?

Yes, it could. Because the story is also Christian. Not a little, but a lot. The Christian themes in this book are not subtle. Parvin struggles like we all do. Is God sovereign? Is he there? Does he care? Can we trust him? Does he have a purpose for us? And how do we find that purpose if it exists? And this part, this Christian theme that is intricately woven throughout the book is what makes it great. Because it forces us to ask ourselves the question: if I only had one year left to live, how would I spend it? And who would I spend it with? If there was one thing I could do, no holds barred, what would it be?

Take the journey with Parvin Brielle Blackwater. You'll be glad you did.

Disclaimer: I was give a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Beth.
783 reviews318 followers
October 26, 2015
Living in a time when the day of your death is predicted at birth, seventeen year-old Parvin Blackwater feels she has wasted her life. According to her Clock, she will die by her 18th birthday. Determined to make a difference with the time she has left, she uses her last year privileges to request a meeting with famous biographer, Skelly Chase, hoping to find her purpose while writing her life story. Her meeting with Mr. Chase exceeds her expectations, but all is not as it seems. When government authorities find out about her illegal activities of helping Radicals escape the crooked justice system, she is banished over the Wall – which equates to a death sentence in her society. What happens once she is cast through the Wall changes her forever. With her days dwindling, can she find her purpose? More importantly, can the discoveries she makes over the Wall save Radicals from death?

The plot of A Time to Die is one of the most riveting that I’ve read in a long time. The first quarter of the book, I truly wasn’t sure what direction the story was going go, and, if I’m honest, I was losing steam and having trouble staying invested. I lost my Kindle charger and wasn’t able to read it for a few days. I ended up reading on my iPhone one day because I unexpectedly had the opportunity to do so – the very next chapter made me sit up and pay attention (and also track down my Kindle charger the moment I got home). I’m not sure what it was about getting to that point of the story; I think it was that the events were so unexpected to me, I just had to keep reading to find out what happened next.

Dystopia novels sometimes confuse me; I never feel like I have enough information about the world of the story, and that can be frustrating. I did feel that sometimes with this story, but it actually goes along well with Parvin’s character. The city she grew up in is considered a “Low City,” and therefore doesn’t have as much access to technology and resources like a “High City.” The idea of a clock connected to every person isn’t something I’ve read before; while it seems odd and something that may not translate well into a story, Nadine definitely pulls it off. It comes across as completely realistic, and although the science behind why this is possible is never truly explained, I didn’t really care because I was much more interested in the “what-if” than the “here’s-how.” The advanced technology that Parvin uses and then later discovers is very interesting and adds a lot to the story.

Parvin is such a relatable character. She’s sometimes irritable, she asks a lot of questions, and generally doesn’t know what she is doing. But she’s also brave and a realistic combination of weak and strong, as real people tend to be. I always admire an author that isn’t afraid to put their characters through realistic struggles, and that realism is found in this story. While I wished for things to be easy and was even surprised to the extent of suffering that Parvin has to endure, thinking back, I don’t think the story would have held the same gravity had things just miraculously resolved themselves. Since the story is told from Parvin’s point of view, the other characters are somewhat mysterious. Sweet Willow is a pleasant character that is a lot stronger than she appears. Jude is a bit of a mystery, but his character broke this reader’s heart. Parvin’s trials mature her and the development that she undergoes is of both a personal and spiritual nature. On the spiritual side, she desires to have a purpose, but has trouble trusting that God will bring her to it. Her life is severely shaken, and she has to rely on her faith, even when things look bleak. On the personal side, she gains a confidence and strength than she ever had need of in her old life.

There is a considerable section of the story where Parvin and her companions are simply trying to survive. In this post-war world, the land is uncertain. What starts as a vast, grave-like desert land might soon turn into a hodge-podge city. I wasn’t expecting the survivalist nature of the story, but I could hardly put the book down during these scenes because of their intensity. The excellent first-person narration that Nadine chose to use really amplifies the heightened tension throughout the story. The tension builds gradually at first, but then doesn’t let up until the end. The ending packs a huge emotional punch – I won’t go into any of those details to avoid spoilers, but I was really shocked at the way some plot points turned out. I’m hoping that the next book will reveal even more about the worlds on both sides of the Wall.

I’m so pleased that I had the opportunity to read A Time to Die. I am really eager to read book 2, A Time to Speak and see what happens to Parvin next. I feel confident that Nadine will bring about an end result that produces both faith and hope through her characters. While this is classified as a young adult novel, I think adults can enjoy this as well. I highly recommend this novel for readers of both age groups who like dystopian stories with well-developed characters, exciting journeys and daring adventures.
Profile Image for Elaina.
327 reviews173 followers
April 19, 2019
~4.5 stars~

AHH!! Have a lot of questions lol Glad I have the second book handy to start soon! I stayed up until past 1:30am to finish this off xD My emotions are everywhere...lol I'll try and do a better review when it's not so late and I can put thoughts together a little more clearly :P
Profile Image for Eva-Joy.
511 reviews39 followers
August 22, 2018
So, so great! I loved the Christian worldview - so rare and refreshing for dystopian fiction. Basically, I liked/loved almost everything about this book.
Profile Image for E.C..
Author 1 book80 followers
April 26, 2021
Wow, this book...

I tried to take notes on my thoughts, but I barely got anything down except for some weird, incoherent rambling. *hides* I'm sorry...

In all seriousness, the beginning dragged. . . a bit. But maybe that's because I'm used to shorter stories. However, I do feel that the beginning time was essential to show how complacent Parvin was, and how much she had wasted her life. But once the inciting incident happened (which I believe was when Skelley Chase offered her the whole deal to go to the West), things started picking up pretty quickly.

And Parvin. . . I feel like we're very similar, so similar that it's almost eerie. Very opposed to showing weakness? Check. Sarcasm? Check. Determination? Check. Overthinking? Check. A kind of tough sense of humor? Check.

I loved the characters. Especially Jude and Willow. The way Nadine Brandes described Jude and his mannerism was done so well, I could literally imagine the tones in which he spoke to Parvin. And Willow. . . her childishness, combined with leadership and something veering on wisdom. . . it was very well-done.

On the flip side, I feel like a lot of the characters were unnecessarily cruel. This could be because I haven't read the rest of the series yet, but I wasn't quite sure of the motive behind Skelley Chase, or how he did everything. I also feel like there wasn't super great closure at the end of A TIME TO DIE. . . but maybe that's just because I so badly wanted a happy ending for all of them. And Reid. . . he seemed too perfect to me.

Overall, I loved Nadine's writing style, and how she managed to pull everything off without so much gory description, romance, or any profanity. Not only that, but those thought-provoking themes woven in—of sacrifice, forgiveness, and living—were all so brilliantly handled, especially considering how similar I am to the main character. I closed A Time to Die wondering to myself how I want to live my life—knowing that we all, one day, will die in the end.
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