This review contains spoilers from A Time to Die and A Time to Speak but only mild spoilers from A Time to Rise. You’ve been warned.
The world thinks that Parvin Blackwater is dead.
Well, she’s not. Sure, she was mostly dead for a bit there, but not anymore. After the Council had her killed, they buried her in a hasty, shallow grave and set about covering up how she died and the little detail that the Clock they matched to her reads OVERIDDEN (seeing as they are trying to convince themselves and the public that these Clocks are still a good idea, the whole Parvin dying before her Time was up makes things a little awkward for them). But Parvin isn’t going to let them get away with everything they’ve done—murdering radicals, murdering Reid and Jude, sending radicals to Antarctica to name a few of their deplorable deeds. She takes up the call of Christ and rises to bring down the Council and the Wall and set her people free. But will she find her friends again? Can she rescue Willow? How will she unlock the secrets of the Clocks and the Wall?
Where to even begin with this review. As stated at the end of my Rise Tour post, one cannot simply write a review for A Time to Rise. I had great, great expectations for this book. This single book had to somehow bring Parvin back to life (literally), finish off the character arcs of the major characters, bring a satisfying ending after everything that has happened, heal relationships in a way that didn’t seem contrived, and pack a spiritual punch to rival if not surpass the first two books (not to mention all the actual plot stuff that had to happen to).
Well, let me tell you that Nadine Brandes delivered.
After three years and three books, Parvin is like an old friend. Her character is consistent throughout the book while still growing and learning and being made new. I cannot begin to tell you how much I adore Parvin. I liked Parvin in A Time to Die, I really liked her in A Time to Speak, and I can’t say how much I love her in A Time to Rise. Ugh, it’s so hard to write a spoiler free review without going into why, so I guess you just need to go read the book. Here’s a quote to sum up why I love Parvin:
Um, Solomon Hawke. Where did Nadine Brandes come up with this character? Like, sorry, Parvin, step aside. I would like to marry him. ‘Nuf said.
Things were pretty intense in A Time to Speak (translation: the tension probably gave me an ulcer), but the reader is given a bit of a breather at the beginning of A Time to Rise while the characters regroup and figure out their next step for bringing down the Council (and the Wall and the Clocks and all that jazz). The pacing was perfect; it didn’t feel rushed or lagging.
The plot was…. comfortable but also nail-biting but also twisting and unpredictable. It was like being on a rollercoaster in the dark—I never really knew when someone was going to get shot or killed or rescued or left behind.
Now onto the really meaty stuff. A Time to Rise doesn’t skim over the not so normal parts of Christianity, of Christ, that run against the grain of our nature, like healing, forgiveness, and loving your enemies. Those were the themes of A Time to Rise. The healing theme touched every character arc in a beautiful way, whether it be a fractured relationship, a stony heart, or a lost love. It never felt forced or contrived or preachy; people just… intentionally healed.
When it comes to loving your enemies, I have never read a more powerful story where this was played out, particularly between Parvin and a certain other character who I cannot name. It never seemed easy for Parvin to love this character. It never seemed like I was getting at preached at when she rose above her hurt and anger to love and forgive, but I was.
Loving your enemies is hard. Forgiveness is hard. Healing is hard.
These aren’t things that just happen because I want them to. It takes the work of the Holy Spirit and intentional resolve, and A Time to Rise showed that. It showed the struggle between the flesh and the spirit. It showed how everything inside can cry out in hate and anger and how hard it is to choose the path of Christ. It shows how that path is a daily battle in words and thoughts and heart. It shows the daily choice between the world’s way–man’s way, the easy way that doesn’t require much effort–and Christ’s way. And it showed how Christ makes the impossible possible.
The ending was hopeful and satisfying. Like any worthwhile story, it was bittersweet. I had all my big questions answered, and there’s a promise of short stories to follow to satisfy the rest of my curiosity. I cannot recommend this series enough. I know a lot of people won’t read it because it’s dystopian and that genre is “weird”, but I think a lot of people would be made better by reading it.
It’s easy to see that God was heavily involved in the writing of this series. It isn’t just a good story, it’s a great story. It doesn’t just entertain, it teaches. Therefore, I give A Time to Rise five out of five wonderstruck stars and a PG-13 rating.
P.S. – I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
P.P.S. – Seriously, go buy this series.
P.P.P.S. – Why are you still reading this?? I told you to go buy the series!!!