Book Review of A Time to Die (2014) by Nadine Brandes.
Published by Enclave Publishing, 5025 N. Central Ave., #635, Phoenix, AZ 85012, www.enclavepublishing.com.
“This book is dedicated to the personal and loving Master of my life, the bringer of shalom, Yahweh.”
We are all going to die. And unfortunately, life is not long. It fleets by. A mere vapor. This dystopian novel projects us to a future world where the government assists and administrates the known time clocks of people’s lives. Parvin Blackwater is an independent 17-year-old who longs to finish the last year of her life in such a way that memorializes her for generations to come. If she is going to die, why not die in a big way? Dying famous could help with the meaningless of life. Parvin craves neither wealth nor power. She hungers for prestige, the acclaim that she has made a radical impact, a revolutionary difference in people’s lives.
But even in one’s final days, life has a way of dishing out the unexpected. We try to control our time. We might even attempt to buy more years. But there is always the twist in the plans. The curve ball.
Parvin is cast out of her society, thrust into the wasteland. Yet it’s a death sentence that is laced with adventure. Mostly, very bad stuff. Our young heroine reminds me of an outdoor Idaho/techno geek girl on steroids. Surviving in the woods, she battles beasts and environmental purists. Living in the high city, she is tested with the latest technological advancements. And through it all, there is one reality that scars her in both worlds – broken shalom.
Perhaps you have read the Hunger Games trilogy. I read a part of the first book in the series. I sensed anticipation, action, and future deliverance. But then I skipped the second book and went straight to the last to see a conclusion of no purpose. Life is meaningless. A fantasy of peace demolished to a ground zero.
Yet I can tell that our author has been spending some time with a wise and wealthy philosopher, the preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes. Nadine interweaves some ancient wisdom motifs into the fabric of her debut novel.
She is passionately pursuing like a hound dog one central idea:
“Shalom—wholeness and completeness in God. The way things were intended to be.”
There is hope. It will be interesting to see how she unfolds this with Parvin in her next novel, A Time to Speak.