Friday, March 2, 2012

Review: The Dead of Night by John Marsden

The Dead of Night by John Marsden
 (The Tomorrow Series #2)
Reviewed by Noelle: March 3, 2012
Published June 1, 2006 by Scholastic Paperbacks (first published 1994)
Goodreads • Buy at Amazon • Buy at Fishpond •  Kindle

As a sequel, this review may contain slight spoilers for the first book.  The review, fun with toaster mechanics and Future Farmers of America...after the jump!

The Dead of Night continued to affirm just how screwed I'd be if it were me instead of Ellie hunkered down in Hell.

“I love camping! I’m gonna go read up right now on which plants I can eat and which ones will kill me.”

Not that I don’t enjoy the occasional nature activity, it is just that my first reaction to being asked to go camping/kayaking/hiking is suddenly getting The Lemonheads “I Lied About Being the Outdoor Type”  stuck in my head.

I can’t go away with you on a rock climbing weekend / What if something’s on TV and it’s never shown again. No, but really? My DVR might be full.

I appreciated how the sequel allowed for the reader to just jump right in the middle of things. The first book required a rather lengthy setup and introduction of characters which was of course necessary but I'd rather be reading how to MacGuyver household appliances into weapons, you know what I mean?

The Dead of Night also benefited from a smaller cast of characters. The number of kids in Ellie's crew is much more manageable this time around and it allowed me to finally feel like I had a handle on who was who and their individual personalities.

Ellie and the gang go through a lot of maturity and character growth in this book.  The enemies are no longer shadows in the dark and the danger they threaten and the consequences of the teens' reactions to those threats are up close and personal. The enemy has a face now and the life and death decisions our heroes have to make and live with are more real because of it.  

I also enjoyed the introduction of the adult counterpart to Ellie's camp in the completely inept Harvey's Heroes. Their antiquated views, contrived and meaningless attacks and endless red tape was a perfect example of how bureaucrats mess everything up.

Ellie and her friends may not have much experience in warfare but they are smart, resourceful and most of all willing to think of creative solutions. They aren't bound by many adults' fear of failure and inability to adapt.

Take it from me, as someone who grew up in a rural area, never bet against the farm kids.  Me? I was useless. I wasn’t a farm kid--but I was their neighbor!  One day in elementary school I  asked my friend what she was eating for lunch and she replied “Fluffy”-- as in her cow Fluffy. These kids spend time raising an animal from birth to show it at a fair where the highest bidder buys it to butcher it.  Farm kids do not mess around. They can drive and operate heavy machinery, are used to odd hours and manual labor and most likely have fired a shotgun once or twice in their lives.

All I know is, if I had to choose a clique from high school to band together with to survive in the wilderness and participate in some guerrilla warfare I’m picking the Future Farmers of America.  

After choosing bulldozer driving lessons for the first book, this book's Ellie-style survival skill I'd like to learn involves transforming my toaster into a weapon. I've already bookmarked the page on How Stuff Works.

Rating: 4/5 stars.
Another point of view: Maggie rated The Dead of Night 5/5 stars.


  1. Ok, after reading this I'm pretty sure I never went on to read the second book but I think I should!

    Bonus points for the Jane by Design gif and I loved having the Lemonheads playing while I read this :)

    1. Haha you knew I after all my "research" I'd have plenty of JBD gifs lying around! Couldn't let that one go to waste :D ~N

  2. I have the first book but haven't read it yet. I should soon though, thanks for reviewing!

    Lisa O. @ The Nocturnal Library

    1. Looking forward to seeing what you think about this series, Lisa! Thanks for stopping by :) ~N


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