Book Review: A Time to Rise by Nadine Brandes

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It’s over? I don’t want it to end.

Yet all good things must come to an end.

With A Time to Rise, The Out of Time Series has officially reached its conclusion. I’m not quite sure how to feel about that. Reading this book came packaged a mixture of emotions.

  • Excitement at discovering what would happen, how the story would end.
  • Amazement at the mind-numbing twists.
  • Sorrow that this part of Parvin’s tale was over.

Basically, this book, this series, is necessary to life. Like double fudge brownies and Doctor Who.

***WARNING***

No spoilers in the review, but if you haven’t read the first two books, I’d highly recommend you do that first. If you really really want to forge ahead that bad…who am I to stop you? 😉

Consider yourself duly informed.

***WARNING ENDED***

a-time-to-rise-coverBOOK SUMMARY:

What more can you sacrifice than your life?

Parvin Blackwater is dead.

At least that’s what the Council and the world thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless.

Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world?

Plot

Ever driven over a twisting road through the mountains? Blind curves. Steep drop-offs on one side and towering cliffs on the other. That’s what this plot is like. Except you’re speeding around those hairpin bends in a Ferrari powered by rocket boosters.

Hair-raising. Blood-pumping. Pure reader ecstasy.

I’ll admit, I found it difficult to get into at the start. Life was busy, and lots of other things demanded my mental and emotional attention. But I needed to finish my ARC in a timely manner, so I sat myself down on a sunny afternoon last week and dove in.

A few days later, and I’d barely surfaced for air until I reached the final words of the epilogue. Words that brought a chill to my skin and were so fitting I had to grin at the perfect way they wrapped up the series. I sat there, less than an hour from midnight, an emotionally compromised statue.

What a whirlwind of a finish. I literally had no idea how it would end. I wanted it to, because…MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS! Yet I could have kept reading for days, weeks, hundreds of more pages and been satisfied.

Setting

One of the strengths of The Out of Time Series was its adventurous nature.

  • Across the Wall
  • Through the mysteries of the West
  • Off to Prime
  • Down to the frigid desolation of Antarctica

The setting was rich and vivid, familiar in some respects, but so completely foreign in others that the differences make you sit up as your imagination takes charge. No spoilers, but the theme of escapades to distant places continued.

A Time to Rise revealed more layers of worldbuilding. More cool inventions, more places to explore, more fascinating tech.

As a writer, my imagination gobbled it up like birthday cake. As a reader, I felt fully immersed in the world.

Characters

Two words: Skelley Chase. Ahhhhh, Skelley, you complicated knot of humanity. It’s not fair, twisting my emotions casually back and forth. I wanted to say so many things, but all I could do was plow forward, mind spinning, because I never knew quite what to expect. And I LOVED it.

Oh, wait, there were other characters too?

Yes. Quite important, in fact. Some newly introduced, many who felt like old friends by now. Biggest positive? They acted real. Their motivations made sense. They suffered from flaws, some pretty significant. In a word, they were human. Relatable.

Nadine isn’t afraid to put her poor minions—ahem *characters*—through the proverbial fire. I felt sorry for them, but it made for a riveting tale and compelling character arcs.

Some shortcomings were present, mainly with Parvin. At times her reactions—more like overreactions—seemed unrealistic. Yet those were minor when compared with the countless things to love about her.

Also, Parvin and Solomon were adorable together.

Conclusion

The spiritual themes underpinning the plot were more regularly woven through the pages than in the previous books. At times, it felt overdone to me. That said, it fit with the progression of the series and Parvin’s journey. I appreciated the fact that it felt realistic, not something to be shoehorned into the plot because Christian book must equal obvious Christian message.

Two years, and what a journey this has been. Nadine has created something special with these books.

Read this series. That is all.

A Time to Rise earns a spot on Shelf Excellent

BUY A TIME TO RISE

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There’s a Facebook party happening tomorrow evening. Do yourself a favor and come. They’re an absolute blast.

a-time-to-rise-fb-partyAbout Nadine

nadine-early-release-2I am an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. I never received my Hogwarts letter, but rest assured I’m no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family-size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. I write about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. My dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged me to pursue shalom, which is now my favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When I’m not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, me and my knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.

Who’s your favorite character in The Out of Time Series? I’d love to hear your thoughts here or on social media.


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