Title: The Dead of Night
Author: John Marsden
Genre: YA dystopian fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the library
First line: Damn this writing.
Spoiler alert: This review will contain spoilers of the plot of Tomorrow, When the War Began. If you haven’t read it yet, please skip the rest of the review.
Ellie, Lee, Homer, Robyn, Chris, and Fiona are back in Hell, regrouping after Corrie was shot and Kevin left the group to take her to the hospital, which required turning himself in. Not only is the group reeling from this loss, but also from the various reactions to reading Ellie’s account of events so far. Fiona is hurt that Ellie revealed her relationship with Homer. Lee is hurt that Ellie confessed that she had feelings for Homer before she got together with Lee. And yet, Ellie continues to write, pouring out events and thoughts on paper.
The group decides that they need to get Corrie and Kevin back, and so they venture back into Wirrawee. They find things have changed a bit – no more “clean invasion.” The invading enemy army isn’t as civilized to their prisoners as they had first thought, and each member of the group is forced to answer the question: How far will I go to fight back?
Marsden, through Ellie, demonstrates how much war changes a person. These people are teenagers; they should be worrying about dates and dances and college. Instead, they are guerrilla fighters, engaging in missions against the enemy. It is fascinating to read the different reactions to this. Some of the kids become better than they were – they access reserves of strength and courage and endurance they never knew they had. Others retreat into themselves, so horrified by what they are experiencing that they can’t cope.
When Ellie and the group meet up with another group of underground resistance fighters, this time a group of adults led by a member of the reserve Army, they are disgusted that the “daring” raids this group have accomplished are nothing compared to what the group of teens has been able to do – and yet the adults’ first instinct is to treat the teens as children.
The group is also forced to face the idea of traitors in the midst of their families being held in Wirrawee. How could people not only give in to the invading army, but collude with them against their fellow citizens?
I am really enjoying this series of YA dystopian fiction – and look forward to reading the rest of the series.