Book Review: Darkness, Be My Friend

Darkness, Be My Friend is the fourth book in John Marsden’s series
consisting of Tomorrow, When the War Began, In the Dead of the
Night and The Third Day, The Frost, in which seven young people
are thrown into the middle of a violent war zone. Ellie, Fi,
Kevin, Lee, Homer, Robyn and Corrie set out on a camping trip to a
remote part of their district. They find their way into a remote
basin surrounded by dangerous cliffs and difficult terrain, where
they are completely safe and cut off from the rest of the world.

When the teenagers return to their homes, they find that all the
families in the district were abducted and locked into the show
grounds by armed soldiers who are taking over Australia. After
finding this, they go on to perform numerous terrorist activities
around the district to hamper the enemy’s progress. These
including blowing up a bridge on a major convoy route, attacking
an important bay used for supplies and in Darkness, Be My Friend,
the teenagers set out from New Zealand to assist a small group of
elite New Zealand soldiers attack the new airbase that has been
built in their town. In this book, the New Zealand soldiers
disappear without a trace and the teenagers have to attack the
airbase themsleves_
I think that this book is as much about adventure and survival as
it is about emotions, friendships and relationships. The book is
written as the diary of the unofficial leader of the group and she
speaks a lot about her thoughts, her relationships with the other
members of the group and of her emotions about what she was forced
to do during the course of the war.

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“I was determined I wasn’t going to get angry, so I ignored that.

I didn’t blame him in a way. If only I could have understood what
was going on in my own mind_ but I found that difficult at the
best of times.”
“It was nothing to do with Lee. I still liked him a lot. I’d got
over those feelings I’d had ages ago, the negative feelings
towards him. So it wasn’t that. I thought maybe it had something
to do with the boy in New Zealand, whose name I realised with a
shock I’d forgotten. It would come back to me, no doubt about
that, but for the moment I couldn’t think of it at all. And I
thought it was probably a lot to do with the dead man whose house
we had sneaked into – not that it was his house anyway – but the
fact that we were living in a dead man’s house.

And, of course the fact that I’d killed him. I didn’t know his
name either. Weird: two guys who figured prominently in my life,
and they were both nameless to me.”
“A slow awareness came over me, a kind of burning, as I realised.

Yes, it was because of the boy in New Zealand and the man who
lived in this house. And because I’d screamed at the soldier in
the street. And because I’d left the door open at Tozer’s. And
because the fuel tank had been padlocked. And because I’d
Throughout the book, Marsden keeps an excellent mix of adventure,
excitement and of personal ‘experience’. He looks deeper and
deeper into the mind of Ellie and exactly how she feels. He writes
this well and in a style that I would imagine Ellie would use.

Marsden’s excellent writing ability makes the story even more
believable and more moving. He is able to portray the feelings and
emotions that I would imagine a person in that situation to have
and does so so well and so convincingly, that you can fully
understand and comprehend what the group went through.