“Night started to fall, then it fell, till it was lying all over the ground.”
This is the second in the Tomorrow series – following on from Tomorrow, When the War Began. Ellie and her friends, now a depleted number, have returned to their bush camp-out following their successful guerilla attack on the bridge. On an exploratory trip out of their camp, they come across another guerilla camp, run on rather different lines. After disaster strikes, their hearts are hardened and they undertake further attacks on Wirrawee.
I rather enjoyed the first in this series – I didn’t find it very profound but the post-invasion world was an interesting setting for what is essentially a novel about teenagers’ interactions under stress. The Dead of the Night is considerably darker – Ellie and her friends are coming to terms with what it means to be a soldier, to have to kill in order to survive. Ellie’s peace-time conscience is getting the better of her and she finds it a relief to be ordered around in the other camp, only permitted to do housework and not be a soldier.
Plausibly, by this stage, the members of the group are all pretty fed up with their situation and one another and there are plenty of squabbles. Interestingly, the group dynamic has changed after they all read Ellie’s record in the first volume (the story is seen through Ellie’s record of what the group go through, she is their chosen record-keeper and is brutally honest about their combative deeds as well as the budding relationships) – she writes for a while about the power of the written word and how her honesty (or perspective) has altered her relationship with both Homer and Fi.
There isn’t much character development as we return to the same characters, but it’s interesting to see Ellie and co deal with new situations, particularly the conflict that is arising within each person and the group as their deeds become more brutal. Their disappointment with the adults in the other camp is profound – they cannot believe how much the adults have fallen for the pointless propaganda of their leader.
I won’t be bothering to seek out the rest of this series, but if they were right here in front of me, I would read them – the characters are fun and complex, and their adventures are high-octane enough to be suspenseful and credible.