Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Darkness, Be My Friend by John Marsden

Darkness, Be My Friend
by John Marsden

Summary: The battle continues as five ordinary kids must journey back into the heart of an epic conflict.

Five months into World War III, Ellie and her four remaining friends have barely escaped the Australian town of Wirrawee with their lives and their sanity intact.

But as the next step becomes clear, they realize they must once again sacrifice their hard-won comfort and safety. A group of soldiers has recruited the kids to guide the way to the Wirrawee air base.

What could possibly motivate Ellie and her friends to return? This risky sabotage mission may be their only hope of rescuing their families, too.
I loved the other books in this series, but this one...well, it still had elements that I liked but it wasn't quite as good as the others.

The characters were still great. They had moments that they annoyed me, moments that I thought they were awesome, moments where they were crazy brave and moments when they let fear get the better of them - they were very human, basically. They're realistic, they're flawed. That was one of my favourite aspects of the previous book and that didn't change.

What I loved about this one, that I think was done really well, was showing how the things that happened had an impact on the characters in a major way. So often in stories like this, you'll see people lose friends or family or witness terrible things or be forced to take a life...and then after crying for a page or two, they just get back to doing whatever it is they were doing before, but those sorts of things leave emotional scars that can take a long time to heal, if they ever heal at all. So the fact that this book shows that and shows it well, I really loved that (particularly after the way the previous book ended).

I still loved the writing too. Normally a journal-ish format will bug me, but it's always been done really well in this series and the narrator is really good because she's honest - the author has her talk about the good and the bad, in both others and herself.

I think the part of this one that I found lacking was the plot. It was just less satisfying than the others had been. All of the books follow the same sort of formula, but this one felt more - forced? than the others had been, like it was trying to stick to that same formula but it just didn't quite work the same. It wasn't bad, I just didn't enjoy reading it as much as I did with the previous books (the other ones, I'd read pretty quickly, this one I kept putting down and dragged out for a few weeks because it couldn't hold my interest for too long).

I think that's all I have to say: the book was about 3 stars out of 5. Still had it's good points, but just didn't live up to the expectations the previous books had given me.


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