Tomorrow, When the War Began : Review
As it's been a few years since I first did a review of this book and the fact that I have now read it about four times as well as listening to it once on tape, I thought I should take the time to have a look at it again.
The format I will take in this review is to give my feelings on each thing I consider important in turn: story, characters, situations and the language used.
What I like so much about the story is that it starts out like a normal description of a camping trip by a girl with her friends, but before long something much darker has been foreshadowed.
My favourite part of the story would have to be the description of the characters first reactions to the situation they find themselves in. On reading this section I always get a sinking feeling in my stomach as the way the story proceeds just seems to be spot on and very graphic.
I suppose most people's favourite sections of the story would be the descriptions of the characters 'in action' around their home town. Probably the fact that I have read this book a few time, means that they have lost their impact for me. If you were reading it for the first time however, you would probably get more of a sense of suspense and excitement from these passages in the story.
As I don't want to give away the ending, I'd just like to say that I thought it was very well handled and seemed to be a fitting end to the story.
The character development of this novel is something that also stands out. In the start of the story, it is established that there is really nothing special about the people being described by the narrator, they could be your own friends even.
What is done very well with the characters, is that they are portrayed realistically and not idealised or made into heroic figures. Their reactions are what you would expect to the things they experience. How they interact with one another in these situations is also portrayed truthfully.
Considering the topic of the book, I believe the situations show are fairly realistic. As I have no experience in living in a war zone, I can't really tell you what degree of realism they really possess. All I know is what I have seen through the news media about East Timor and similar countries experiencing conflict.
The 'sneaking around in the dark' situations in this book also seem to be well written. Probably the closest thing you could get to experiencing the same situation of 'sneaking around' in real life, would be to join an organisation called the Cave Clan (after you turn 18 of course), as they regularly explore places other people don't want them to be.
On repeated readings, probably the only thing that doesn't seem to stand up as well to scrutiny is the language used. Given the original audience of the novel, this can be forgiven as it suits the style the narrator adopts to tell the story.
I am reluctant to say if this book is the 'best' in the Tomorrow Series, but as it was originally written as a 'stand alone' book and not meant to be a continuation of a story, it does seem to stand out as a great book in its own right. That's all for this review for now. I will probably do another review of this book in a few years time of if I try to develop anything related to the book such as a screenplay or other creative work.