Warning: If you read A Time to Speak, you’ll become addicted. It will leave your emotions in tatters, your mind a pile of mush as you try to sort through what’s happened. Shedding tears is highly possible.
A Time to Speak, the second book in the Out of Time Series, was a shining tribute to courage, survival, faith, and hope. It took a breakneck plot, a strong theme, relatable characters, and a ruthless dystopian setting and blended them into a fabulous stew I devoured with glee.
As a reader, I was enamored. As a writer, I was jealous.
If you haven’t read the first book in the series, A Time to Die, you’re in for some major spoilers. Proceed at your own risk. If you have read A Time to Die, continue. I won’t call on my army of dagger-wielding rabbits to stop you.
What happens when you live longer than you wanted to?
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?
The action was relentless, whisking me along as I scrolled through my digital pages, anxious to find out what lurked around the corner. And there was always something ready to meet my anticipation.
Even the quiet moments, lacking much in the way of physical action, crackled with unspoken secrets, doubts, and tension among the characters.
Cliffhangers were as prevalent as skiers are here in Colorado during the winter. More than once, I decided to stop at the end of a chapter, only to reach the final line where my jaw went slack and I thought, “Don’t stop now! Must find out what happens.”
Then there’s the ending. As I type this, I’m staring at my screen, eyes wide with amazement as I recall the final line, the final page, the final chapter. It simultaneously made me sweat with fear and brought a chill of wonderment to my skin.
Waiting until book three releases will be an exercise in extreme patience.
In A Time to Die, I entered a harsh world where everything glinted with the shiny appeal of newness, of places I hadn’t been, technology I’d never heard of, customs that felt foreign, cultures simmering with odd beliefs and practices.
A Time to Speak took the world I had discovered and expanded it. I went to new places, saw new sights, learned about cool new sci-fi gadgets.
Yet the world I knew remained, and a sense of homecoming and familiarity filled me as I returned to places like Unity Village, Ivanhoe, the Wall at Opening Three. In that regard, the setting was a balanced blend of new and old, surprising and familiar.
My favorite developments were in the technology, a new version of the clocks topping the list. In terms of super awesome gadgets, this series is one of my favorites.
Parvin returns, this time not robbed of life, but of death.
She’s no longer a confused, wide-eyed teenager barely managing but a survivor…and reluctant leader. I couldn’t help but admire her, sympathize with her, wish her dreams would come true. I feared for her, and winced at every painful blow, both physical and psychological—the sign of a character you can connect with.
The supporting cast was a mixture of new and old faces. Characters who played only a minor role in book one stepped into the limelight of center stage and performed admirably. Solomon was my favorite. He’s impossible to dislike, yet shows realistic flaws—as do all the characters.
That’s one thing I appreciated most—the characters felt real. People disagreed. Some were jerks. They fought and questioned. They made mistakes. They acted human.
True to dystopian form, A Time to Speak roved through the shadowy territory of oppression, punishment, coercion, and death. Though a written by a Christian author, it didn’t shy away from digging into the dark side of fiction. At times, it was intense, ugly, brutal.
And that’s a good thing, because the story didn’t remain there. It used the dark elements to emphasize the good, the beautiful, the worthy. Faith and hope glimmered like blazing stars upon a black sky.
I thoroughly enjoyed A Time to Speak, and I hope you’ll check it out. You won’t be disappointed.
A Time to Speak earns a spot on Shelf Excellent.
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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.
If you’ve read A Time to Speak, what stood out to you? I would love to hear your thoughts.