I don’t always read for pleasure, but when I do, I read speculative fiction in the dystopian genre. That’s kind of a joke, but not really. The last series I read was The Hunger Games, which I really enjoyed. And so here I am with a new series in a similar style, but with a Christian perspective. There are 3 books in the Out of Time series. Last year I read Book 1, A Time to Die and just a couple weeks ago, Book 2, A Time to Speak was released. I had the privilege of being a part of the launch team for A Time to Speak. I received a PDF copy of the book to read in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
A Time to Speak Book Description:
Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.
The Council uses Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes.
Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?
Parvin- I like her, but I don’t love her. I’m so glad that she’s done some maturing between Book 1 and 2, but she still carries a moodiness and pride that makes her hard to connect with. Maybe she is misunderstood, I think we all are at times. I like that she makes mistakes, but I wish she showed a little more compassion toward others. Maybe this is all part of her journey to faith. I’m really glad that nobody can read the thoughts in my head because I’m sure you wouldn’t like me either. She is an anti-hero on a coming of age journey, learning who she is, who she wants to be and what she wants her life and death to stand for.
Mother- She was quiet and not really what I would expect from a mom in this situation. It seemed like she only spoke when she was spoken to and I wonder if she was really necessary to the plot of Book 2.
Chark- Okay, so he’s not a main character, but he’s my favorite. I really hope he makes an appearance in Book 3. He is quirky and odd, but really funny and clever. I could listen to him talk for hours.
Skelley Chase- I really wanted to like this guy, but it seems as if I can’t. He is up to no good and still smells like lemons. Yuck. Anyone who smells like lemons cannot be trusted.
The book started off a bit slow for me. After finishing Book 1, I was hoping the scene would take off with the energy it ended with. Now once you get into it, the action builds and hardly slows down. There are a lot of exciting and intense action scenes, but it is also very violent and there is a lot of death. Most of the gruesome details are spared, but it still leaves you with a sadness. Being in the dystopian genre, you expect things to be bad, but being a Christian and seeing glimpses of God throughout the story, you just pray that the end is full of redemption and glory. We shall see.
I really liked getting to experience some new settings and places. Brandes does an excellent job with scene description, almost too good. There are a couple times where I had to bundle up to keep the bone chilling cold out…..and I might have even climbed into a hot bath after reading, just to thaw out. Haha- That’s good writing!…..but in Book 3, could we spend some time in a warm tropical location, like Hawaii? 😉
I enjoyed the way that Brandes wrote the book in a first person point of view. We are either in Parvin’s head or seeing things from her perspective. It is interesting and really lets you know how the protagonist thinks. At the same time, it drove me a little crazy with how much Parvin questions everything over and over again, often repeating the same questions or information in her thoughts that we already know. One minute she’s confident and in charge and the next she’s wishy washy and selfishly timid. I did enjoy some of her internal humor. I’m glad that she can laugh at herself even in intense situations.
The overall spiritual feel of this book was much more mature than Book 1, but still simple to understand. I really appreciated the growing spiritual depth. The use of scripture was powerful and aligned to the overall theme of the book. I enjoyed how Parvin would talk to God and pray. I wouldn’t mind if this happened even more in the next book.
I liked hearing about the new technology and inventions. They get my mind thinking about what is possible for the future, what I might want to happen and what I don’t want to happen. It’s fun to speculate. And since Hoverboards haven’t really been invented yet, like Back to the Future predicted, I think they should be written into Book 3. Parvin might not be able to ride a bike, but I bet she’d soar on a Hoverboard. Okay, enough silliness….but seriously, write that one down: Hoverboards.
I thought Brandes did an exceptional job with the last few chapters, really getting us involved. It is the first time in the series, that I really felt a unifying of people. I liked seeing a team come together for the same goal, imitating the body of Christ, whether they knew it or not. Parvin is so used to doing things alone, that I really felt like this was an important step in her faith and trust in God, to allow Him to use others to help her. But I won’t give it all away. It was an intense ending that leaves us begging for Book 3. Do I really have to wait another year? I definitely recommend the Out of Time Series. I thought A Time to Speak was even better than A Time to Die. Now go order your copies of both books and get to reading!
Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold 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, editing fantasy novels, or being a Harry Potter super-nerd, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out chasing adventures.
She is also my sister-in-law! I am so proud of your accomplishments, Nadine. I think about writing a book and am completely overwhelmed at the thought. Your creativity and knowledge is so impressive, not to mention your patience. I love hearing about your adventures and seeing you succeed. Keep writing! Blessings!
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