How would you live if you knew exactly when you’d die? Would that strive you to make the most of your days, or cause you to squander the time you have. What if you carried a physical clock that ticked away each second, a constant reminder of the precise moment you’d take your last breath? Those and more are the questions that drive the dystopian series, Out of Time, by Nadine Brandes.
I first met Nadine at the best little Christian Speculative fiction writer’s conference (say that five times fast) called Realm Makers. I wrote about my experience at that conference right here. I first met Nadine at the Splickety after party and picked up the first in her series the next day in the conference book store.
I’ve read a few dystopian series. Most of them feature a young girl as the main character. This average girl struggles to find her place in society, goes through a rough bit of Hero’s Journey and ends up leading some type of rebellion. A couple chapters into A Time to Die, and I knew that this story was anything but a run-of-the-mill ride.
Think about it: How would the knowledge of your last moment change the way you lived? In the story world, a cataclysmic event rocked our modern world into chaos. To maintain order, the governments of the world united under a new type of clock that matched itself to a person at conception, ticking down the exact time that they would live. Schooling, jobs and social status were all based off how long you would live. Some chose to smash their clock, and live without that knowledge. To separate the clock-abiding citizens from those who lived seemingly savage, chaotic lives, a wall was built protecting those inside from the dangerous wastelands, and keeping them safe in the protection of the government.
Those who lost their clocks, or smashed them to live free of that life-changing knowledge, were branded as Radicals and sent to poor areas. They were rejected from society, removed from their homes, and in some places, they were banished across the Wall.
A Time to Die starts with a young girl named Parvin who has one year left to live. But she’s not even sure if the clock she carries belongs to her or her brother, Reid’s. Her and her two brothers were born as triplets, but during childbirth one of the babies died, taking one of the two clocks provided by government for the chance of multiples. Parvin and Reid share the clock, never knowing which of them would die at eighteen. A Time to Speak forces Parvin to find her strength in God, and have the courage to step past her fear and step into the call of God. The conclusion of it all, A Time to Rise, brings Parvin to the point of walking with God and seeing the change that comes with a submitted heart to His will.
If that’s not enough to send you whirling to Amazon and grab the first book, let me share with you what I gained from reading this series.
Over the hopeless society that Nadine paints in her series, past the broken relationship that Parvin has with her mother, beyond the wild wastelands and savage peoples, even beyond the Wall, This series points an amazing picture of how big our
God is. This series reminded me that if God is for me, who can be against me. You see, at first Parvin is a good girl who thinks she knows and loves God. But she’s bitter, and spiteful, and a little selfish. Over the course of her journey Parvin blooms into an example of what life can be when you trust God.
The Out of Time series is an overtly Christian series. Sometimes Christian published books can get hokey, or dry, or use God as an outside influence that just moves the plot along. Nadine did a fantastic job at voicing God as He would speak. Parvin’s relationship with Him starts off minimal, and by the end, she’s learning to trust Him, and trust those who He’s put in her life.
I had the privilege of getting an advanced copy of A Time to Rise, which is the final book in this series. What starts in a small village, with a timid, fearful girl, ends perfectly with a globe-trotting mission to show God’s peace to everyone who learns the name, Parvin Blackwater.
Please go check out Nadine’s website. She an awesome writer, and an incredibly kind person. If you’re interested at all in this series, or want to learn more about Nadine, check out the Launch party for A Time to Rise. It starts on Tuesday, October 18th at 6pm. There will be giveaways, and stories, and fun for all!