Release Date: June 1st 2006
Published By: Scholastic Australia
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Rating: 4 out of 5
A few months after the first fighter jets landed in their own backyard, Ellie and her five terrified but defiant friends struggle to survive amid a baffling conflict. Their families are unreachable; the mountains are now their home. When two of them fall behind enemy lines, Ellie knows what must happen next: a rescue mission. Homer, the strongest and most unpredictable among them, is the one to take charge. While others have their doubts about his abilities, Homer has no choice but to prove them wrong – or risk losing everything to the enemy.
Review: The Dead of Night takes place not long after the first book leaves us. It’s been a few of months since the teenagers blew up the main bridge, and not much else has changed. The soldiers are still invading Australia. Sick and tired of hiding away in Hell and doing nothing, they decide it’s time to take some action.
With Corrie and Kevin now gone, it’s now only Ellie, Lee, Homer, Fi, Robyn and Chris left. With guerrilla style tactics, the teens fight back any way they can. They do not have heavy artillery, but they do have the home ground advantage, and they know their home town better than anyone else. By using their smarts and getting around as the title suggests in the dead of the night, they’re out for some revenge.
John Marsden has this incredible way of writing that really paints the scene. This is true blue Aussie fiction at it’s best. I can close my eyes and imagine the streets, the houses and the town. I can picture what Hell is like and the surrounds. I like the down to earth manner in which he writes the characters. They are three dimensional – flawed but real.
I really felt as though Ellie grew a lot in this book. At the start she was still coming to terms with what they had all been through. But when their lives are at immediate threat she shows how strong she can be at least for the sake of everyone else.
We see in this book the progression of Ellie’s relationship with Lee. I find the couple to be pretty cute in their own way. They’re not overly romantic or sweet with each other, but they do care for one another and there are some very tender moments between the two.
We see some very similar incidents and themes in this book as we do in the first. As the war rages on, there is more death to soldiers, civilians, and even one of the teenagers (without naming which one).
There is some inner turmoil as each of them start to question their morals and the lengths they would go to stay safe. These themes were much more prominent in this book than in the first as Ellie starts to question what she’s become and what she’s willing to do.
In particular, one quote I believe really sums up some of the major themes in The Dead Of Night:
“One of the things I find strangest and hardest is that we were having such conversations. We should have been talking about discos and electronic mail and exams and bands. How could this have been happening to us? How could we have been huddled in the dark bush, cold and hungry and terrified, talking about who we should kill? We had no preparation for this, no background, no knowledge. We didn’t know if we were doing the right thing, ever. We didn’t know anything. We were just ordinary teenagers, so ordinary we were boring. Overnight they’d pulled the roof off our lives. And after they’d pulled off the roof they’d come in and torn down the curtains, ripped up the furniture, burnt the house and thrown us into the night, where we’d been forced to run and hide and live like wild animals. We had no foundations, and we had no secure walls around our lives any more. We were living in a strange long nightmare, where we had to make our own rules, invent new values, stumble around blindly, hoping we weren’t making too many mistakes. We clung to what we knew and what we thought was right, but all the time those things too were being stripped from us. I didn’t know if we’d be left with nothing, or if we’d left with a new set of rules and attitudes and behaviours, so that we weren’t able to recognise ourselves any more. We could end up as new, distorted, deformed creatures, with only a few physical resemblances to the people we once were.”
This so far has been a really solid series… I am going to be moving on to the other books in this series shortly – definitely would recommend this to others!
Movie Trailer for Tomorrow When The War Began (Based on Book #1):