Saturday, November 17, 2012

Book Review: The Dead of Night by John Marsden

The first book in this series, Tomorrow, When the War Began, ended on such a cliffhanger, I couldn't help but read the sequel. In this Australian YA series, Australia has been invaded by an unnamed country (it is implied that it is Asian, but that's really all we know.) It has been a few months now, and Ellie and her friends who were camping out in the bush know a little bit more: New Zealand and New Guinea are helping, but those are small countries. The politicians escaped to America which is considering helping in non-military ways (this is the one thing that really didn't ring true for me as of course the U.S. loves military intervention, and I would think that an ally as strong as Australia would merit a truly ferocious ass-kicking, BUT if the country in question were one as potentially militarily strong and also economically vital like China, well, I guess we might think twice. But really we shouldn't. No one gets to invade someone else. But I'm going off on something that was just mentioned in passing.)

The teenagers have been scavenging in town and have supplies and food, but they are still desperate for news of loved ones, and they're also growing increasingly tired of having too much responsibility, having to make too many important decisions with little to no information, and they really want to hook up with some other rebels, which they've heard on the radio are out there. So most of them (leaving one with the supplies at the campsite) set out to find the adults. Will they find them? Will they like what they find? Will they continue to find ways to thwart the invaders? Will they survive? Will they be captured? Injured? Killed?

This dystopian novel doesn't beat around the bush at all, with death definitely an option, and there is a sex scene although it's handled both with subtlety and safety (condoms are used). These books certainly should appeal to teens. They have a lot of similarities to the Hunger Games series in fact, except that it's happening NOW, not in the future (albeit, the book was written in 1994 and I did snort at a mention of "electronic mail" but overall it feels like now.) The book luckily has a glossary of Australian slang terms like "fair dinkum." I whipped through it, staying up late to finish it in just two days. While some questions are answered, and the ending is heartbreaking, more questions are left unanswered, and so book 3 is now going on my To Read list.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend. 

I checked this book out of the library.

1 comment:

Julie P. said...

Great review. I bet it was interesting to see the author's predictions and compare them to today.