- Audio CD: 1 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio and Blackstone Audio; Unabridged edition (29 January 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1508282366
- ISBN-13: 978-1508282365
- Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.8 x 14.2 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 227 g
- Customer Reviews: 118 customer ratings
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The Line Between: A Novel Audio CD – Audiobook, 29 January 2019
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A tight, fast-paced thriller, with a winding, twisty plot and an intrepid protagonist...Perfect for fans of cinematic, plot-driven novels.-- "Booklist"
Moving...Lee gets readers to invest in the characters, particularly her well-defined and sympathetic lead.-- "Publishers Weekly"
Lee's perfectly crafted dystopian thriller will keep readers up all night and have them begging for a sequel.-- "Library Journal"
The perfect blend of spellbinding and heart stopping, The Line Between is an absolute must-read...Emotionally wrenching yet utterly believable.-- "Nicole Baart, New York Times bestselling author"
About the Author
Tosca Lee is a New York Times bestselling novelist. Her works include the critically acclaimed Demon: A Memoir, Havah: The Story of Eve, and the Books of Mortals series, cowritten with Ted Dekker. Tosca received her BA in English and international relations from Smith College and has also studied at Oxford University. She lives in the Midwest.
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The reader is introduced to Wynter Roth as she is about to be “delivered to Satan for the destruction of her flesh.” In other words, she’s being exiled from the cult community she’s lived in since she was six years old. Tosca Lee may as well have provided a lone drummer beating the solemn “POM. POM. POM.” that accompanies the condemned on their walk to the scaffold, so emotionally weighted was the scene. Without knowing anything about this community or why Wynter was being excommunicated, I was hooked.
From there, the story alternated between going back in time to fill in key parts of Wynter’s history, eventually unveiling why she was cast out of the New Earth community, and moving the story forward in the present as Wynter tries to adjust to life outside New Earth, where a new, virulent, and deadly strain of the flu is pushing people to madness. The insight into Wynter’s time in the cult was both chilling and intriguing. I shuddered at the subtle way truth was twisted to keep these people enslaved to their way of life, and the more I knew of cult leader Magnus, the more my skin crawled. But I loved the anticipation that built as the scales fell off Wynter’s eyes even as she became more tightly ensnared in Magnus’s plans.
As the book progressed, the focus narrowed until it was squarely on Wynter’s efforts to get the samples to Colorado and then her determination to rescue her young niece, Truly, from the New Earth community. The momentum never let up, and it was quite a ride to the finish, but I couldn’t help feeling that some of the biggest challenges Wynter faced resolved a little too quickly and easily, particularly right at the end.
That said, there’s a follow-up due to release later this year, so perhaps things aren’t as resolved as they seem? I’m looking forward to finding out!
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
Top international reviews
Now, once Wynter found herself in turmoil, she was thrown into the outside world, where an unexplainable outbreak of dementia started spreading across the nation. Wynter's characteristics of strength and bravery impressed me from the start. Her badass attitude and overall adjustment to the change in environment shocked me. She is one firecracker you don't want to mess with!
Throughout the chapters, Tosca beautifully intertwined both the past and present. I learned a lot from Wynter's time in the cult, and adored the dystopian feel behind the mysterious outbreak. I was constantly on the edge of my seat worrying about the well being of Wynter and the important task that only she could carry out.
Tosca's writing is top notch! As a respected and bestselling author, she does not disappoint. Every scene flushed me with excitement and I became engulfed in the outcome. And wow, what a conclusion! I will patiently wait for my next dose coming soon. One of the best, heart stopping novels I've read in years. Quote me on that! If you're into thrillers or dystopian fiction, I suggest you get on the Tosca train because I'm not getting off anytime soon.
We meet Wynter Roth in the middle of her story - she's being forcibly removed from The Enclave, the home of the cult known as New Earth. She leaves with one goal in mind - to return and rescue her sister Jaclyn and Jaclyn's daughter Truly. There's just one problem - Jaclyn is married to the leader of New Earth, a man named Magnus. And he's the one kicking Wynter out into the world that he has taught his followers to fear. Thankfully, she's barely past the boundary of New Earth when she is met by an old family friend, Julie, who is determined to help Wynter get her bearings. Julie and her husband Ken let Wynter move into the apartment over their garage and they make arrangements for her to see a therapist when she becomes overwhelmed by all the sudden change in her life.
The outside world is a strange place to Wynter. She's never used a smart phone, watched television, or "surfed" the internet. And the world she's entered is facing a serious problem that is only just becoming apparent. Numerous people are struggling with what seems to be an early-onset form of dementia and the doctors are baffled as to the cause. Especially because it seems to be contagious. To make matters worse, the power is going out and the gas stations are running out of fuel. Outside forces using the health scare to their advantage perhaps?
Beautifully weaving flashbacks together with Wynter's current experiences, Lee takes the reader on an emotional ride through the events that led to Wynter's expulsion from the Enclave and places her squarely at the center of a national health crisis. She reconnects with a former cult member that had supposedly died and even gets a chance to see her sister (outside of the Enclave) who entrusts her with the monumental task of transporting precious cargo that could hold the answer to curing the epidemic that is sweeping the nation. Along the way, she meets Chase, a former Marine who makes it his personal mission to help Wynter make her very important trip (once he forces the truth out of her, that is). And that former cult member? She introduces Wynter and Chase to Noah who has gone to great lengths to provide a safe, secure hideaway for just the type of crisis currently taking place.
Underlying all of this is Wynter's own personal struggle to figure out just what or who is worth believing in. As a child, Wynter's faith in Magnus and his teaching was firm and unwavering. In her adult years, she learns things about Magnus that cause her to question everything she once believed. So is she really sorry to be leaving when Magnus casts her out? And just exactly how does Jaclyn, the wife of The Prophet, come into possession of items that could prove invaluable to the CDC in treating and stopping what is shaping up to be a pandemic?
Tosca Lee knows how to keep the pages turning; at various points, I did not want to put the book down. Her plot moves along at a great clip without being exhausting. It strikes me as a mix of The Handmaid's Tale and more modern books about the end of the world, such as One Second After. Seeing cataclysmic events through the eyes of a former cult member was also a good choice. Wynter does not just believe the chaos and epidemic of rapid early onset dementia is the end of the world. She knows it, because she's had it drilled into her head for fifteen years that something like this will happen. That creates some heavy psychological and spiritual tension I wish Tosca had capitalized on more (I'll get to that).
The conflicts of The Line Between's plot drew me with their uniqueness. For instance, here, it's not foreign terrorists threatening to destroy America--it's bioterror in the form of a highly contagious disease. Serious illness and the dark side of the medical world are among my biggest fears, so I definitely had a vested interest in seeing if everyone would be okay. I also appreciated the twist Tosca threw in about 70% into the book, wherein Wynter must run for more than her life.
The Line Between does have some problems. First, because this is such an action-driven story, the characters often feel two-dimensional. Some, like Magnus, feel stereotypical. Not that an evil cult leader with serial wives isn't a good threat. It is, partially because people like Magnus do exist and make their livings deceiving and destroying vulnerable people. But between Jim Jones, David Koresh, Warren Jeffs, and various documentaries and iterations on Dr. Phil--well, we've seen it. A lot. I would have liked some kind of twist, some special element, that set Wynter's experience apart from the rest. I also craved more about Wynter, Jaclyn, Chase, and the others--deeper looks into their emotions, motivations, spirituality, and so forth.
Spirituality is another problem. I love a Christian book that makes the Christian element subtle, and Tosca delivers. However, I didn't get the sense that any of these characters were putting their hope in God (the real one) or trying to find Him. Wynter does a little bit, but I wanted so much more. Tosca gives her a good setup, in that she's dealing with religious PTSD, so naturally, she's going to be cagey about anything to do with God, Jesus, faith, etc. But then that tension fizzles in the face of the action. I understand, and maybe Tosca will cover it more in the next book, but...meh. Tosca also took a bit of a risk letting a few characters curse and say or do things a lot of Christian readers will not like. It pans out, sort of, but did we need it? Not sure...
Overall, this book is probably more a 3.5, and I'm glad I read it. I could've used a lot more character and spiritual depth, but if you like plot-driven stories, this is probably one of the better ones out there. If nothing else, it will make you think.
Believe me when I say with any of Tosca Lee books, and The Line Between included, you will NOT be disappointed!!
I love how Tosca integrated the cult escapee into a pandemic survival plot. It's an interesting dynamic of how Wynter handles the crisis- filtered through the lens of all the lies she's been believing and the brainwashing she endured. Yes, it's a bit of a stretch how well-adjusted Wynter seemed to be coming out of the cult. I think she'd be pretty worthless in such a high-tension situation, but I've decided to attribute it to the influence of Shae that she was still semi-attached to all things outside world and could assimilate faster than a normal escapee. Unlike zombie-apocalyptic stories, I like how this disease created zombie-like people (irrational, violent, and unpredictable) in a realistic way-early onset-dementia caused by an ancient bacteria that we have no vaccine or immunity for. (Insert plug for the Atlantis Gene trilogy if you like these kind of books) It was also fun to have the book set in my neck of the woods- good ole Des Moines and the Midwest- no one writes books about such geographic treasures!
The book was fast-paced and lived up to it's 'thriller' label. I am very much looking forward to the sequel to this book and seeing how the disease-riddled America fights back. Well-done.
Lee’s writings keep the reader on the edge of their seat, along for a wild and crazy ride. The Line Between is one such ride, twisting and turning from a Doomsday cult in Illinois through the backroads to Colorado.
After growing up New Earth, a doomsday cult, Wynter Roth is kicked out after her refusal to become the second wife of its leader. With her she was permitted the clothes on her back, and knowledge the leader of New Earth was unaware she possessed.
Like many fresh out of such a cult, Wynter found herself confused by what she was taught as truth and what was actually truth. With debilitating anxiety, she seeks the assistance of a therapist who suggests she not watch tv or listen to the radio or go online, in order to adjust her mind and body to her new environment. After a time, she slowly begins to watch the news once again, quickly coming to an awareness that the horrifying things she hears is somehow linked to the knowledge she carries with her.
When her sister shows up at her doorstep with samples, Wynter realizes the knowledge is somehow a major part of what is in that box of samples. Racing west to get the samples and information to someone who can potentially slow the atrocities occurring across the country, she meets Chase Miller, former military who joins the race. It’s a race full of detours and those who will do anything to stop them.
The Line Between, does one read it non-stop to find what happens next or does one take their time, savoring the journey, knowing at the end, waiting is a serious book hangover? Quite the conundrum. I chose to read it almost non-stop, leaving me breathless and yep, hungover.
One more thing, 🥓.
Thank you to NetGalley, Howard Books and Tosca Lee for my advanced digital copy of The Line Between. I loved it so much that I had to preorder my very own hardcover copy!
I should say, I was attached to this book initially because of the apocalyptic, pandemic plot. I did get a feel it was similar to a zombie novel. That definitely sold it for me! However, important to note, I was won't and there are actually no zombies here, no reanimation or paranormal. That said, I easily overcame that hope quickly. It was engrossing, well written and overall a solid read. I'll be checking out the other books from this author.
I'm thrilled the story will continue!
While guiding you through the impossible adventure, you enjoy the small victories as you march steadily to the climax and the somber yet satisfying conclusion. This is a story I hope to see imagined on a big or small screen, and with its well-crafted, well-written, flowing prose, it’s worth a re-read (or two).