Review: The Line by Teri Hall
Author: Teri Hall
Series: The Line #1
Publisher: Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group
Publication Date: March 4, 2010
An invisible, uncrossable physical barrier encloses the United States. The Line is the part of the border that lopped off part of the country, dooming the inhabitants to an unknown fate when the enemy used a banned weapon. It’s said that bizarre creatures and superhumans live on the other side, in Away. Nobody except tough old Ms. Moore would ever live next to the Line.
Nobody but Rachel and her mother, who went to live there after Rachel’s dad died in the last war. It’s a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message that can only have come from Away. The voice is asking for help.
Who sent the message? Why is her mother so protective? And to what lengths is Rachel willing to go in order to do what she thinks is right? (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)
A Great Re-Read…
I read The Line back in 2011, before I started my blog, and soon ordered a copy of the sequel, Away. However, I just never got around to reading Away. Fast forward to around the end of October or beginning of November 2013: I realized that I still had several books to read to complete the Mount TBR challenge I’ve been participating in this year, so I made a list of books that I could read by the end of the year to still meet the goal of that challenge. Away was one of the books on the list, and I knew that I also wanted to re-read The Line to refresh my memory, and also so that I could write a review.
And luckily The Line is one of those books that still holds its own when reading it a second time. I enjoyed The Line just as much this time, and although I did remember certain aspects or events in the book, I didn’t remember everything so some of the twists actually ended up surprising me all over again. And this time around I also enjoyed the realization that I had just moved to this author’s home state, and therefore I felt like I could visualize the setting in this book even more than I had the first time around. (Plus, it’s just cool when you find out an author lives in your state!)
A Different Kind of Dystopian…
I really like how The Line starts out this series. It’s a dystopian book, for sure, and it’s like post-post-post-post-apocalyptic, but it’s so different. And by different I mean that it starts off really slow. We get this kind of portrait of life on The Property, which is basically a nice house in the country all by itself, with a couple of other buildings and a greenhouse. Ms. Moore owns the house and makes her living by growing orchids in her greenhouse. Vivian Quillen is the cook and housekeeper for Ms. Moore, and Vivian and her daughter, Rachel, live in the guest house. But there’s this looming thing going on–a barrier right next to The Property. There are rumors about the people on the other side, but no one really knows much about them. And we get a glimpse of what life is like in the towns, and we get a kind of history lesson as to what is going on in this country, but we really only get a snippet.
And I kind of love that about this book. And that’s kind of strange for me to say, because I usually LOVE action and like my reads to have tons of it. But with The Line, we get this slow build, where we know there is more going on with the government, with Rachel’s mom, and with Ms. Moore. We get little hints at things along the way, but it isn’t major, ground-shattering twists or extreme action or people starting revolutions. There is an underground movement, and there is that kind of a thing going on, but it’s all low-key and not really the focus of the story. Hall just gives us this quiet, slow, multi-layered story that just sets you up for the rest of the series, and I loved it.