A Time to Die

A Time To Die by Nadine Brandes

“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.

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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.”-summary of A Time to Die from Goodreads

A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes is one of the few books I consider to have rocked my world. The first time I read it, I was in a book coma for the rest of the day. Powerful, moving, and heartbreaking beyond words.

Parvin Brielle Blackwater is an inspiration. She is an amazing character who endured so much for what she felt was worth fighting for. Nadine Brandes does a stellar job of telling the story through Parvin’s eyes giving the reader the ability to truly live out the story in Parvin’s place. First person narration is very popular in the YA market nowadays, and I can say that I have yet to see an author who can carry it off as well as Brandes. Well done, Nadine.

One of the best aspects of the book is the amazing world it is set in. The author crafts the scenery expertly, leaving the reader immersed in a brave and terrible new world. Terrible, because of the brokenness and lack of hope that resides in the USE, but brave and beautiful as well, shown by the forward-thinking mindset and ingenuity of Ivanhoe. No, it’s not a utopia by any means, but enough light shines through to give the reader hope for the future.

The plot is very interesting in itself as well. It’s hard to get a reader to connect with an already-doomed character. After all, why bother to care about her if she’s just going to die anyway? However, as we get to know Parvin and experience life through her eyes, we begin to start pulling for her to make that last year worthwhile. We want her to win, and as her clock steadily counts down, we already begin to grieve that she won’t have more time with which to make a difference.

There’s a lot of beauty in this book, but with that comes a lot of pain. Even the second time through, when I was bracing myself for the several heart-wrenching scenes, they still hurt. I won’t go into detail so I don’t spoil it for you, but it might be wise to keep the tissue box handy.

Overall, I rate A Time to Die with five glowing stars. It’s inspiring and touching, balancing pain with whimsy. I highly recommend this book to readers 15 and up (due to a few disturbing moments and scenes of peril). I leave you all with a few reminders from Philippians that fit the tone of A Time to Die perfectly:

Philippians 3:12

“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:23-24

“But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.”

Content guide (parenthesis may contain minor spoilers):

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Violence/Graphic: 10/10 (attacks by wild animals, stitches, amputations, injuries, much mention of death and dying).

Sexual: 2/10(brief kiss on the cheek, thoughts about kissing, admiring a man’s muscles, shirtless scenes-all kept in an innocent light).

Language: 0/10.

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