Sunday, 3 June 2012
Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden
Series: Tomorrow #1
Type: Young Adult Action/Adventure
Seventeen-year-old Ellie Linton travels into the bush with her friends for one last adventure before they return to school. Ellie and her friends (quiet Fi, serious Robyn, best friend Corrie and her boyfriend Kevin, arty Lee and class clown Homer) return to a changed world. While they were camping in an idyllic hard-to-reach valley called Hell, hell has taken over their town and Wirrawee is no longer the home they left behind. Joined by stoner Chris, the teenagers are faced with a question - how far will they go to regain what has been lost?
I have to admit the preview for the movie was the driving force behind me getting a copy of this book, partly because it looked great and partly because it reminded me that I read and loved this book about eight years ago. At that point the rest were unavailable so I gave up on the series. Seeing the preview reminded me how much I'd enjoyed the book and led to me tracking the entire series down (even to retailers in Australia) and then asking for them as birthday gifts.
Having now reread the book I must say I still find it to be an incredible read. Written in the past tense, the book starts after the invasion but everything is revealed in chronological order so there is a lot of 'so I thought' or 'that was before'. This is a really clever technique as it builds the tension right from the start so even the relaxing camping trip the characters take at the beginning has a vein of tension running through it. The events are dealt with realistically making the book believable. The setting is also beautifully described. I was a huge fan of The Silver Brumby as a child and this captures the Australian outback with that level of imagination and detail.
The book is pretty heavy on characters as eight teenagers are the main focus. Once the events get underway they begin to split into smaller groups so the sheer volume of cast doesn't become overwhelming. Each character is also really unique, and as they are described before and after they become three dimensional. The book is written from Ellie's perspective and, although she can be a little immature at times (understandable given her age and situation), I really liked her as well as the other characters and it was great to see how the events of the book changed them.
All in all, this is an incredible read and I'm really looking forward to reading The Dead of Night.