1. dmdutcher says:

    Eh, it’s not really selling me on the book from this review. Premise doesn’t really sound that unique; a society that condemns the young to death or exile has been around since Logan’s Run set the template for it in the 1970’s. The clock motif has been used before- the movie”In Time” by Justin Timberlake had a great variant on it by making a person need to buy time to stay alive. You don’t have enough, you drop dead on the spot.

    Might be a case where the good parts can’t be said due to spoilers, but my worry about this book is that it’d be another generic YA dystopia.

    • What I gave of the story, DM, is just the set up. And the young aren’t condemned to die. Each person has their own clock with their own numbers. Someone else might have 85 years on theirs. It just so happens that the clock Parvin shares with Reid zeroes out in their 18th year. And no one can extend their time. The “when will I die” has been removed from that society. That in itself is interesting to think about. What would society be like if everyone knew exactly when they would die? But one of the tensions all novel long is whether the clock is Parvin’s or Reid’s.

      And the Christian aspect, so perfectly woven into the story, sets this novel apart from any other. Here’s an example.

      God? Are you there? Does He even listen? My prayers feel like a pious form of talking to myself.

      I open the Bible and let it flop to an open page. I scan the page for divine guidance, but all I see are a hundred repetitions of the word begot surrounded by names I can’t pronounce. I flip a chunk of pages to the right and stop when I hit what resembles a poem. It starts with, “Pray then like this:”

      Wow, coincidence?

      When I start reading, I hear Reid’s voice in my mind: “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name.”

      I’ve heard Reid pray this so many times before, but never focused on what it meant. Is it truly instructive on how to talk to God?

      “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name.” What does hallowed even mean? Farther down in the poem there’s mention of bread. “Give us this day our daily bread.”

      Mother’s banana bread is almost gone. Maybe God will make the last slice regenerate every time I look away.

      I read the five verses three times, repeating them in my head, and they stick like honey. For once, I’m proud of my memory. My peers used to say normal people don’t remember words like I do. They called me a freak. Reid told me they were jealous, but I think they were snobs with a higher income. They had access to paper and didn’t have to memorize.

      Even with the verses now in my head, I don’t like the formality of the prayer—I never have. Hallowed makes me think of Halloween.

      I reword the passage and mutter it aloud. “God, help me figure You out. Do with me what You will, please give me food, keep me safe, and forgive me for whatever I’ve done wrong.”

      As I finish, I think of the Newtons [a neighboring family the Enforcers sent over the Wall] and cringe. Regret sinks even lower knowing my punishment for helping them would have been exile across the Wall. I’d be in the same position I’m in—but they might be alive. [This quote is from an unedited Advance Reader’s Copy and may have differences from the final version]

      No, not generic, from my perspective.


  2. Pam Halter says:

    I just finished this novel, too, and agree with your assessment of A Time to Die. It did start slow, but once Parvin got to the Wall, things picked up. I also was not prepared for the level of violence in a couple of parts. It wasn’t a book that left me feeling good at all, however, I’m looking forward to the next installment, which sounds kind of strange, huh? But it gripped me and I find myself thinking about it, even though I’m done reading. Nicely done, Nadine!

    • Good point about the violence, Pam. It comes up so suddenly, it really is unexpected. When the action is intense, it’s really intense.

      I know what you mean about the end. I thought it brought the story to a definite conclusion, but I still have so many questions. There’s obviously much more story, and I can hardly wait.



What do you think?