Title: Darkness Be My Friend
Author: John Marsden
Genre: YA dystopian fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from the public library.
First line: I didn’t want to go back.
(Spoiler alert: This review will not contain spoilers of this book, but will go on the assumption that you’ve read books 1 through 3. If that’s not the case, just skip the review, and know that the whole series is excellent and you should definitely read them. 🙂 )
Darkness Be My Friend begins with Ellie, Homer, Lee, Fiona, and Kevin at a military base in New Zealand, where they were taken after their escape from military prison at the end of book 3. They are all grieving the loss of Robyn, and dealing with the emotional and psychological scars of the things they have seen and experienced and been forced to do in the name of war. Each of the teens deals with these issues differently, and Marsden captures their individuality as well as the contrast between their actual age and their maturity because of what their lives have become.
Just when the group seems to be getting to a healthier place, they are called on to go back into Australia as guides to some New Zealand troops who want to carry out a guerilla attack on the new Wirrawee air field. No one knows the Wirrawee area, or the perfect hiding spot that is Hell, as well as Ellie and her friends. She doesn’t want to go back, but in the end, they all agree, hoping that when they get back into the country, they can find some news of what has happened to their families.
This book is just as action-filled as the first three (my reviews of book one, book two, and book three), and I truly believe that the writing and depth of character has increased with each book. Marsden captures the conflict that Ellie feels perfectly – she so wants to be brave, but is scarred by her past experiences. She has feelings for Lee, but has no idea how to go about having a relationship in the middle of these circumstances. And as the friends carry out their mission, and things go dreadfully wrong, they are faced with some of the hardest losses yet.
I can’t wait to read the last three books in the series and find out what happens to these characters that I’ve become so attached to.