A Time to Die

Out of Time Book 1

Fiction - Dystopia
400 Pages
Reviewed on 06/05/2015
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

Author Biography

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Nathan M. Beauchamp for Readers' Favorite

Christian fiction tends to come in two flavors: books written for other Christians, and books written for a secular audience (though usually with some sort of apologetic goal such as Tosca Lee’s work). A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes is solidly in the first category. A Christian dystopia, it features a Christian heroine, and a strong Christian message. While a commendable and well-written novel, it will not appeal to those who don’t have pre-established Christian faith.

Parvin Blackwater has a year left to live. In the Eastern United States, everyone receives a clock at birth that tells them the exact second they will die. The clocks don’t simply predict when genetics will cause a natural death; they predict accidental or violent deaths as well. When Parvin loses her clock, Enforcers (the de facto police force) shove her through the continent-length wall that splits the Eastern United States from the rest of the country — the punishment for “Radicals” as those without clocks are known. She must survive in a harsh new world that her sheltered life in Unity Village has not prepared her for.

A Time to Die weaves a strong premise, interesting science fiction, a spiritual message, and a likable heroine into a compelling, well-written novel. Brandes is a fine writer, adept at visual details, arresting images, and imaginative environments. Full of entertaining extrapolations, the science fiction elements shine as well done and overall believable. The story suffers from some pacing issues in the middle third of the book, but they’re offset by the inherent grittiness of the narrative. Brandes isn’t overly protective of her heroine, and doesn’t shy away from the necessary violence the world she’s created demands.

A Time to Die never gives a fully satisfying answer to the question of how the clocks work; whether they are “magical” in the sense of always being accurate (the novel hints this might not be the case) or if they’re subject to interpretation or manipulation of some kind. Though mentioned in passing, Brandes did not address the question of what happens when people seek to avoid their demise a la final destination. Suicide is explained away with a single sentence (nobody does it in the Eastern United States). Perhaps these questions will be answered in future installments, but for me, the ending wasn’t fully satisfying because the fundamental question surrounding the clocks wasn’t answered.

That said, the world building, imagery, and excellent prose kept me eagerly turning pages and left me hungry for the next installment. Brandes has a real gift for words and the imagination to back it up. I can’t wait to see what she does next.