Thursday, September 03, 2020

Exciting Apocalyptic Novel Timely and Affecting

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

After leaving the doomsday cult in which she's been brought up, 22-year-old Wynter Roth is learning how to navigate a strange new world populated with things she's always been taught were evil: television, rock music, skin-bearing clothes, etc.  Just as she's beginning to get a handle on things, a strange virus sweeps through the U.S.  The disease acts swiftly and causes a terrifying type of early-onset dementia, which leads to confusion, violence, and fear.

Even though Wynter was never a hard-core New Earth believer, she's not entirely surprised to discover the Prophet's revelations about the imminent collapse of society coming true.  The End he always raved on about is happening before her eyes.  And she's just as helpless as everyone else when it comes to stopping it.  Then Wynter's older sister, the Prophet's wife, shows up on Wynter's doorstep.  Sick with the virus, she shoves a carrier full of tissue samples into Wynter's hands, begging her to take them to a veterinarian in Colorado.  Even though the government is warning people to shelter in place, Wynter knows she has to get the samples to someone who can help eradicate the virus.  And she has to do it now.

As Wynter flees Chicago in a desperate race against time, she encounters Chase Miller, an ex-Marine who promises to help her travel across the country.  Wynter can't tell him what she has in her possession and Chase is keeping plenty of his own secrets.  Can Wynter trust her newfound road trip pal?  Can she get the samples to Colorado in time?  Can anyone save the population from descending into complete and utter madness?

Although we're in the middle (at the end?) of a global pandemic, I still enjoy reading novels like The Line Between by Tosca Lee.  After all, disaster/survival scenarios are way more fun to contemplate in fiction than to experience in real life!  I've read loads of these kinds of books and, honestly, The Line Between doesn't bring anything super unique to the table.  And yet, it's one of the most memorable apocalyptic novels I've read in some time.  Why?  Well, it features likable characters, an exciting plot, a timely premise, and solid writing.  What's different about it is that it's cleaner and more uplifting than most books of its ilk.  Yes, it deals with difficult, disturbing subjects.  However, it does so in a way that is thoughtful and faith-promoting without being cheesy or preachy.  While The Line Between is technically a Christian novel, it doesn't feel like one.  It does ruminate on religious subjects, which—as a person of faith—I found both refreshing and thought-provoking.  Statements like this one stayed with me long after I finished the book:  "It occurs to me that none of us should have entered these walls.  That we have never been 'in but not of the world' here but in another world completely.  That this was never faith, but seclusion in a place so safe that faith need never be tested even as we lived our lives of duality" (388).  This element of the story may turn non-religious readers off, but I hope it doesn't because The Line Between really is an engrossing, affecting read.  I loved it.

(Readalikes:  its sequel, A Single Light by Tosca Lee; also reminds me of Agnes at the End of the World by Kelly McWilliams and The Hallowed Ones and its sequel, The Outside, by Laura Bickle)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence, blood/gore, non-graphic references to disturbing subject matter (rape, sexual abuse, forced marriage, etc.), and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of The Line Between from Changing Hands Bookstore with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.

6 comments:

  1. I'm so glad to hear you liked this one so much. It's on my TBR list and one I really want to read it. :D

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  2. This sounds 'excellent' but I can't read apocolytpic books very easily at the best of times, reading one now would finish me off. LOL!

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  3. This sounds a little too close to the present not to feel creepy.

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  4. Honestly, I think it had me with the snow on the cover! Ha! I like the sound of this one and, like you, I don't mind reading about situations like this as long as they are fiction. It's why I can't read true crime books, but can read crime novels all day long. Making a note...

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  5. Wow...this one combines two of my worst nightmares for its end of the world scenario. A killer virus that leads directly to dementia akin to Alzheimer's? I can't imagine anything much worse than that.

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  6. I haven't gone near any apocalypse books during this crisis-I guess I'm not quite ready for it yet! I do love the genre though and will get back to reading them at some point.

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