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Darkness, Be My Friend (2006)

Darkness, Be My Friend (2006)
4.11 of 5 Votes: 1
043985802X (ISBN13: 9780439858021)
scholastic paperbacks
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Darkness, Be My Friend (2006)
Darkness, Be My Friend (2006)

About book: I have this little aversion to buying more than one book in a series at a time. What if I end up with, for example, books two, three and four, but I don’t like one of them? Chances are I’ll dislike the next one just as much. Well, I bought books three and four in the Tomorrow series shortly after I finished the second book and I had such high hopes of loving both of them just as much as I loved the first two. I was so disappointed with book three, The Third Day, The Frost, and I didn’t feel like it lived up to the first two books, and I put off reading Darkness, Be My Friend for over six months! I am so glad I actually gave this book a chance as I really enjoyed it and it exceeded my expectations.There is a noticeable difference in the atmosphere in comparison to my memories of book three. It focuses more on the psychological and emotional affects that the previous three books have had on the characters. Ellie, our main character and narrator, is more retrospective than she was before. Her narration is sprinkled with reminiscing about life before the war, and it reminds us that these characters are just kids that happened to escape the initial invasion, and still struggle against massive odds for their survival and freedom. They want to be reunited with their families. They want their country back.If you read the blurb above, you’ll have a pretty good idea that this book will include the friends returning to Australia from New Zealand. They’ve grown up in Wirrawee, and they know the area like the backs of their hands, and in a way, they have been recruited as local guides to quickly and stealthily lead a small group of New Zealand soldiers into the main war zone, who have the task of eliminating the recently established enemy military airport.For me, one of the things I love most about the Tomorrow series is the bond that has developed between Ellie, Lee, Kevin, Homer and Fee. There was a five month break between events in book three and four, and their bond has grown even stronger in this time. I feel it’s realistically portrayed, and their loyalty to each other – even when they don’t always get along – binds them together no matter what. This series is one of the few Young Adult series I’ve read that talks about love and sex openly and quite honestly. It doesn’t ignore the elephant in the room, and I really think more YA books and series would benefit from taking this example on board.I like that the series is continuing on with Ellie’s narration – I’d hate a POV switch at this stage. She has changed a lot from who she was in the first book. I felt that I connected with the characters more, and I like Ellie a lot more now than I did previously. I managed to empathise with her and understand the pressures she is under, and the pressure she ultimately puts on herself. Seeing Ellie open up a bit more about life before the war gave her a much needed human side. I had a little issue with her being a bit too distant in the past, and it was so nice to see the less than fearless side to her character open up.All the characters have lost so much in the war, yet they still manage to stick together and encourage each other to keep going, and fight back. I felt like I was more invested in the story this time. It isn’t as action packed as the previous books, and I guess this could be seen as a negative. But to me, I think the series would have become unrealistic if the same pace of attack was kept up in this book. I enjoyed connecting with the characters in Darkness, Be My Friend, and seeing that things don’t always work out the way we want them to, confirms in my mind just how heart-breaking yet poignantly realistic this series is. This review, and other, can also be found on my blog - Journey Through Fiction

The 4th book in the tomorrow series, we continue the journey of Ellie and her friends and we see them deal with the violence and pain produced by the war. They continue to be in danger without the guidance of adults and it is an immersive and heart pounding adventure.In this book I felt that the main character Ellie did so much recount of the past (before the war) for at least a quarter of the book. I felt she got angry really quickly and had strange mood swings which is understandable in her circumstances but I somehow sensed that it was a completely different character. However, recognition of the same Ellie as in the previous books picked up half way. The action occured in the last half of the book which was really good and made me fly through the pages wanting to find out what happens next. It was a rollercoaster of emotions I felt with the characters - fear, shock, anger and empathy.A problem I had with this book, more than the previous books in the series, was the recount of Ellie's past. The author writes in a female point of view which must be hard but I find some of the things he writes aren't really what goes in the mind of females. For example, "Lots of boys in New Zealand wear shorts to school. They have a Seventh Form too and even some of the Seventh Formers wear shorts. It looks kind of silly, because they seem too old for it, but it gives you a good chance to perv on their legs" and reminiscing when Ellie and her best friend Corrie were children: "We tried to peep at the shearers through a little hole in the wall of their dunny".Ellie learns a lot in this book, which is recounted in the Epilogue. Some of her actions at New Zealand at the beginning of the book I saw was unnecessary and uncharacteristic of her, but she regretted it and reflected that it was a bad move which was great to see.The ending left me hanging and was quite a shocker so I can't wait for the next in the series, Burning for Revenge.
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I feel like Darkness, Be My Friend is the weakest novel so far in an otherwise excellent series. I would still recommend the series on a whole but I hope the next novels are better than this one. Some people might not have a problem with it but for me there were some issues with the plot that were so far fetched that it had a negative effect on the believability of the entire series, and I already had to stretch my imagination to begin with so that's not a good thing.Also there was a reference to an Alanis Morissette song and that's enough reason for me to lower my rating a little bit right there. I give this book three Ironic stars out of five.
Kirsti (Melbourne on my mind)
Plot summary: Now safe in Wellington, Ellie and her friends are adapting to life outside of war-torn Australia. All that is about to change. When they're asked to return to Wirrawee with a team of New Zealand soldiers to undertake guerilla attacks, they reluctantly agree. But when the New Zealand soldiers disappear without a trace, the teenagers must once again fend for themselves, and decide once again whether to hide out or fight for their country.Thoughts: This is the book where the emotional toll of the war starts to show itself. Every single one of them is a total wreck, in completely different ways. For the first time, they find out what's happened to their families. As is to be expected with war, there's a mixture of relief and tragedy involved. This, for me, is the book that's about exhaustion and a degree of resignation. Yes, they're still fighting. But this is where it becomes obvious that they're barely hanging on by a thread, and where the darkness starts to embrace them.
**check out my review for Tomorrow, When the War Began for my take on the series as a whole** Probably the slowest of the series so far, but by no means unworthy of the 5 stars rating. The feel of this book and the style are a bit of a departure. There is less action and craziness and way more internal dialogue for Ellie. I noticed a lot more “I remember when...”, and Ellie will often stop midway through a conversation or action sequence to share an anecdote with the reader. I can see how this might bug some people, but I didn’t mind. Everything she shares is relevant and it really grounds the town of Wirrawee in to reality more. You get a deeper understanding of the history of the place and the relationships of the characters. You get some more background on these radically changed kids, and it gives you new perspective on everything that happens. It also makes sense that Ellie would do more musing and philosophizing as part of her recent therapy. Writing helps Ellie exercise her demons and sweet goodness does she have a lot of them. Also, as soon as I thought some healing was happening for certain relationships, I got sideswiped with some really devastating news and lost it. I cried for the first time in this series, which surprised me. Took me long enough. But I have a theory that it was because the book slowed down the pace a lot more and things calmed down. I wasn’t ready.
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