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After waiting two whole days for this to arrive at a Brisbane Borders bookshop during my lucky, nomad traveller days, I devoured the entire book in one reading, and one bottle of wine. The Dead Of The Night is the second book in a seven book series - The Tomorrow Series - by John Marsden, and the ending of the first book Tomorrow When The War Began was so unexpected (and unexpectedly emotive) that I took the time to order a copy of this book whilst I should have been sunning myself on Fraser Island!
The beginning of this book opens with the very occurrence we spent the last book hoping wouldn't happen, and the group have been unable to do the one thing they set out to do; stay safe. The book opens with an awful sense of loss, defeat, and worse of all, hopelessness. On a mission not only to rescue their friends, but to rescue a sense of purpose, the five remaining group members set out for Wirrawee Hospital, on a dangerous mission. Every twist and turn is felt, and the action is ramped up from the very first chapter of the book.
The innocence that was evident in the first book is all but lost as we see the group acting more and more like guerrillas at war. Lee's actions become more and more those of a desperate person, a killer or a survivor? You are forced to question his actions, and you even begin to dislike him, even though he is simply doing what he must, not only to survive but to ensure the survival of his friends. A selfless act, but it's difficult to see it this way.
Whilst the main storyline obviously deals with some violent and ambiguous actions, we still see the development of the relationships within the group. It's not just a book about action, but about human nature and relationships, and the loyalty that the youngsters feel for each other.
Two books in, I found myself bonding with the characters (don't judge me!) and when they come across 'Harvey's Heroes' my heckles were raised! I found myself feeling as suspicious and untrusting as the characters, and felt an instant dislike of Major Harvey... If you read the book I bet you'll feel the same way! This is the groups' first adult contact since the war began, and I found myself saying "You have managed this long, you don't need them!" My own survival instinct was setting in!
I thought that the ending for the first book affected me, but I was totally unprepared for the ending of this one. Shock is an understatement and I found myself closing the book feeling just as dejected and hopeless as Ellie and the gang. I couldn't possibly leave them this way, but I had to catch a flight to New Zealand the next day! Never in a million years did I think I would feel quite so disappointed at going somewhere quite so beautiful! It meant that I couldn't order book three until I got back to Brisbane twelve days later... how on earth could I be expected to survive that long?
Suffice to say, my flight from Wellington to Brisbane landed at 10.05 am... by eleven I had ordered The Third Day, The Frost and was happily reading away on the balcony two days later.
These books really do get under my skin and I feel a real companionship with the group. The writing, and most certainly using first person narrative means you can't help but bond with the characters and even worry about them. (Again, don't judge me!)
Another excellent installment in The Tomorrow Series, and every time I read it, I find myself thinking "Thank goodness there are five books left!" You know you've got a blinder of a book when you feel that strongly about the experience never ending!