Series: Tomorrow #3
Published on 1995
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Death & Dying
Source: my home library
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And then there were five....
It has been six long months since Ellie and her friends returned home from a camping trip to find their families and friends imprisoned by an enemy that threatens to steal Australia's freedom. Only they can stop this. Like seasoned soldiers, their methods have become extreme, even involving terrorism.
When she's not gathering food and supplies or running like prey to survive, Ellie wonders at what they've become: Are they now ruthless terrorists? The more involved and vicious it gets, the higher the stakes are raised. Everyone is fighting for their lives.
The Third Day, The Frost, also known in the US as A Killing Frost, is set six months into the war, and our kids are tired. Exhaustion is a constant companion, but they can’t rest for long. They know their freedom will only last so long and they are determined to fight for their country.
On a scouting trip to see if they can do anything about Cobbler’s Bay, a major port in the invasion, they discover Kevin in a work party and set to liberating him. Reunited, Kevin has new-found explosives knowledge he learned while he was imprisoned at the Showgrounds.
Our brave teens decide to attack Cobbler’s Bay using fertiliser, diesel, and a confined space to make the biggest explosion seen yet.
But that’s not all. Their luck runs out and they’re captured and imprisoned. Their interrogator is none other than Major Harvey, the dim-witted trumped up little dictator from The Dead of Night. With an execution date looming, all seems lost for our brave resourceful small-town heroes.
With this book set in winter, there’s a lot of narration from Ellie about how she feels physically – cold, exhausted, emotionally numb. You really feel it, and you feel for her, too. She and the others are so tough to have lasted as long as they have. They walk for miles and miles and don’t even stop to rest before launching into their most dangerous mission yet. They barely stop to consider all the possible flaws before it’s time to act.
That being said, I found this plot to be the smoothest of the three books so far. Each decision impacts what happens next and that leads to the next decision which impacts what happens next. There wasn’t much time to sit around bored and listless like in The Dead of Night, or to feel sorry for themselves.
I also found the characters to be changing ever so slightly, each one individually affected by the war and you can actively see their character moulds changing who they are, gradually over time. Homer withdraws more and more while also having anger issues, taking less of a leadership role, while Fi only grows stronger and tends to hold the group together, fearless when she should be terrified. Lee turns bloodthirsty and bent on revenge, while Kevin steps back and is glad when he’s not the one taking risks. Robyn ends up not flinching or hesitating when it comes to violence and sacrifice and Ellie kills in cold blood, mechanically, like killing a sheep.
I don’t find that it has the same emotional impact as the first book because by now our teen heroes are old hands at war and working together to murder soldiers who would rape or kill them (yes, another reference is made to soldiers wanting to rape Fi, isn’t is disgusting?). The more the kids grow immune to the violence, the more the audience does.
If this were in fact the end of the series as was first planned, I might be more disappointed by the ending, but I know there’s more to come and that the war isn’t over yet.