A Time to Die (Out of Time Book 1) is a powerful dystopian novel by author Nadine Brandes. It’s all the more incredible that this is the author’s first novel. Brandes writes a story every bit as compelling as Divergent, Hunger Games or my favorite, Saving Mars, but A Time to Die comes with a Christian twist which transforms the story into a dystopian novel with hope.
Parvin Blackwater comes from a Christian family in a futuristic society which bans parents from teaching children about religion. In this world a Wall separates the USE from whatever is west of the Wall. Everyone in the USE receives a clock at birth. The clock tells exactly how much time the person has before he or she will die. The clocks have the interesting effect that no one is afraid of unexpected death (it’s impossible to die before your clock runs out), and yet it is easy to become a slave to the clock. If you destroy your clock, or if you don’t have a clock, you are labeled a radical and are cast out through the Wall to die.
At age 17, Parvin knows that she has only a year to live. Feeling she has wasted her short life, she is inspired to create something that will make a difference. She finally decides what she wants to do with her last year, but unexpected events turn her somewhat boring plans into something more real and intense than she possibly could have imagined.
The appeal of dystopian fiction is a mystery to me, however I simply could not put this book down. A Time to Die is very original and also unique because of the Christian elements which flow through the novel but are not at all heavy handed. The book actually made me think about time and how I use it. My only criticism is that the story seemed to move very slowly for a while before it catapulted into high gear. There is nothing slow in the rest of the book! So if you enjoy dystopian fiction, I highly recommend this book, and I highly recommend that if you find it slow at first, hang in there. I could tell you the exact moment when the pace picks up, but then I’d be giving you a “clock” just like the characters have. Keep reading. You won’t be disappointed.