Book Review: The Dead of Night by John Marsden

deadofnightTitle: The Dead of Night
Author: John Marsden
Genre: YA dystopian fiction
Publisher: Scholastic
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the library
First line: Damn this writing.

In The Dead Of Night, John Marsden picks up the story very shortly after the events in Tomorrow, When the War Began.

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.

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10 Responses to Book Review: The Dead of Night by John Marsden

  1. Kathlen says:

    I couldn’t read too far because of the spoilers. Your post reminds me that I have discovered YA fiction this year and have wondered why I have shied away from it in the past!

  2. Michelle says:

    Isn’t this a great series? I’ve just finished the third book and have ordered the reamining in the series (as well as the three from the subsequent Ellie Chronicles) and am seriously thinking just reading them all straight through.

    Marsden paints such a realistic picture of how war affects people, particularly children. I don’t ever feel like what they do is unrealistic or too over the top. The circumstances make sense and it all just flows together so well. It’s fabulous!
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Sunday Salon – November 1 =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Michelle – i think that’s why I love it so much too – it’s so realistic, and I love the characters.

  3. SuziQoregon says:

    Isn’t this series great? I’ve read the first two, but probably won’t get to the 3rd one till sometime in December. I’m really looking forward to continuing with this series. Good to see another fan out there.
    .-= SuziQoregon´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday #5 =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Suzi – I only discovered the series because my library had the first book listed under “new titles” as an audiobook. I listened to the first one – the reader was terrific – but the rest they only have in print, so I’m reading them. Book three just came in to the library for me yesterday. I’m trying to resist the temptation to just dive right in, though, because I’m in the middle of three other books. 🙂

  4. This is such a fantastic series, I’ve loved every single one of them, Ellie is such a fantastic character!
    .-= Bart’s Bookshelf´s last blog ..Discuss: What Makes a Book of the Year? =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Bart – I love Ellie, too – I love how she has discovered her inner strength, but she is still a teenage girl.

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