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.
“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 sneezed.”
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.