Title: A Time to Die
Author: Nadine Brandes
Genre: Christian, Dystopian
Series? Book 1 of 3
POV: First person, present tense, one narrator
My Rating: 2 of 5 stars
About the Book (from author’s website)
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.
Sierra has a very different opinion on this book. You can read her review by clicking here.
Here it is. The long awaited review.
I know some of you are really curious to see my thoughts, especially with my two stars on Goodreads. Truth is, this review is nearly impossible to write. This book is definitely a “it’s not for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not for you” kind of book. And I don’t say that too often.
On that note, I’m not going to soften the aspects I didn’t like. I stand by the fact that these made me dislike the book. I may be overly critical because I don’t feel like I was in the right mood for a dystopian when I read this.
Let’s start off with the negative, so we can end on a positive note.
Uuuuughh. Seriously, so many of the events in this book are plot driven. Sure, God could be pushing Parvin into situations so she can grow, but it seemed too convenient. There was one time where Parvin prayed, and a tidal wave came down upon her shortly after. Was I worried? Nope. Why? Because Parvin just prayed. Of course God sent the flood to help Parvin out/prove a point. I’m fine with prayers being answered in unexpected ways, but the plot moved too fast from one thing to the next, and this happened too often to take it seriously.
Cliff Hanger Chapter Endings
I do NOT have a problem with a book ENDING in a cliff hanger. Okay, yes I do. I’ll complain, whine, and get over it. It does not effect the enjoyment of the overall book. Ending EVERY SINGLE chapter in a cliff hanger DOES effect the enjoyment of the book. I don’t believe I have read a single book that uses this device that I have liked. I find it distracting. Sometimes I’m sure something happened just so the chapter could end in a cliff hanger. Plus, on repeatedly recovering from whatever just happened, I no longer worry about anything happening to the main characters.
Parvin was Useless
And I’m not talking about her wasting her life, which she has done. Parvin is soooo annoying and
stupid naive. She makes emotional decisions without thinking first. For so much of the time, she was just being erratic. I wanted to slap her. She also had many lengthy inner dialogues that could have been cut down. Towards the end I started skimming them. Oh, and I did think Parvin had grown by the end of the book, so I could not believe when she brought up dying unkissed again. I quit reading for a week when this was brought up near the end.
Now to counter this one. Parvin reminded me a lot of Tris in Insurgent. When I read Insurgent, four years ago, it was one of my favorite books. Have I changed that much?
She also had abundant time to read her brother’s journal, which became the only interesting part of the book for a while, but Parvin didn’t read it until it was too late. I WAS SHOUTING AT HER TO READ IT; WHY DIDN’T SHE LISTEN TO ME???????
I Thought the Characters Already Know the Big Plot Twist
THIS SECTION IS TOTALLY SPOILERY – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!
(highlight to reveal spoilers) I knew Jude and Hawke were brothers. (I also knew that deleting Hawke’s contact information was the stupidest thing to do – just another one of Parvin’s erratic desisions.) I seriously thought the characters already knew this. I’m not sure how Parvin missed it. Then, while Jude is dying, Parvin finds out Hawke is Jude’s brother. It was a BIG SHOCK because I thought she already knew. Talk about ruining a character death scene….
Other “What was the point?” Moments
– I didn’t get the point of the preacher. At all. He may be explained more in later books, but for such a big build up, he was so non-essential to the plot. (other than that thing that Jude did for her that hurt him in the end) And why did Parvin still want to see him after hearing some things that proved he was not the smartest guy after all?
– I’m sure I’m suppose to feel warm fuzzy feelings for Willow…..
I cannot pinpoint what happened here, but I’m quite indifferent to her.
The premise of the book is very interesting. The start of the book was promising. I was really into learning about the world and life with the clocks. The first 50 pages went by really fast. The technological concepts were very neat to read about. The nonobook charging with solar power was the best. Why hasn’t someone come up with a solar charged phone??
The writing (other than my qualms about plot/style listed above) was good. While I will not be continuing this series, I may pick up a future book of Nadine Brandes’. And her blog is most entertaining!
This book, despite all my complaints, is very quotable. I have many highlights in my ebook.
“As I still my own nerves, the restless dragon scratches against my lungs, urging me forward. It builds like a halted breath, growing, pushing. The dragon needs air- it needs action.”
“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.”
“Mere survival holds no purpose. I refuse to believe God created us to just get by, so where does that put me?”
“I am on a pilgrimage. As Jude said: a quest to something sacred. A quest to shalom.”