Seventeen year-old Parvin Blackwater has less than one year left to live. Her Clock started counting down the moment she was born. Until now, Parvin has hidden from that fact, burying herself in sewing projects and sleeping late. Now, with only months left to live, she wants her life to count for something. She wants to be remembered.
As Parvin pursues a noteworthy life saving Radicals and writing her story, she becomes tangled in a political web that reaches much farther than her small town. As an outcast on the other side of the Wall, she faces death at every turn. With newfound faith and a team of unlikely allies, Parvin races to bring the truth to her people before her Clock runs out.
Though the title makes this story sound like a suspense novel, it’s much more a dystopian fantasy. In this story, the United States has fallen and is now divided east from west by a Wall only crossed by dissenters and lawbreakers. In the east, most believe that crossing the wall is a death sentence. And indeed, Parvin finds the west to be a hostile world.
The story world and characters are a little bit uneven. Some descriptions and characters are vibrant and detailed and others seem more vague or stereotyped. The premise is the real power punch in this novel.
The countdown clock keeps the story moving and the stakes climbing as Parvin’s time on earth grows shorter and shorter. As time dwindles, Parvin obsesses over how little is left. By contrast, her companion has thrown away his Clock and refuses to let what it said rule his decisions and choices. It’s a fascinating question – if you could know how much time you have left on earth, would you want to? How would it affect your daily life?
Parvin wants to follow God’s plan for her life but often instead constructs her own plans. She often puts her faith in the Clock – if she has so many days left, that means she can’t die tomorrow, so whatever venture feels less risky.
She encounters a tribe of people who believe in protecting nature to an extreme. Anyone who breaks healthy branches or cuts down a healthy tree will be subject to severe punishment.
All descriptions are brief.
Several people are punished by a tribe (see above) for harming trees.
Two people battle on wires, trying to throw one another off balance until one person falls.
An unidentified man shoots one of Parvin’s allies and threatens to harm Parvin unless he cooperates.