While I Live - Review
The first impression I got from the book is that it is really meant to be an exercise in establishing a setting and introducing new characters for a new series which why nothing much seems to happen (at least compared to some books in the Tomorrow series.)
I was a bit disappointed that the story is almost exactly the same as the author's last non-Tomorrow series book "Winter". I know writers sometimes retell the same stories with different characters but I think it could have been done a bit better.
The events of the book seem to reflect what has happened in East Timor where people are having problems with cross-border raids from former militia members who were responsible for many deaths after the vote for independence.
It would have been interesting to see what the author would have made of the Tampa case and the invasion on Iraq had they been included as subject matter for the book. I have no idea what time frame the book was written in so I don't know if they could be included.
What's the deal with the pop culture references in the book? I noticed reading the Tomorrow series that they kept creeping in there, but they don't really do anything for the story except make it date rapidly.
I also couldn't understand why Ellie didn't just take correspondence school so she didn't have to worry about catching the bus every day. She also must still have the Landrover so why doesn't she just drive that? My cousin drove his car to the Road Traffic Authority to book his driver's license test, parked in front of the building and drove off again. I would think the cops in the story would have enough on their plate to worry about underage drivers so Ellie should be able to get away with it.
The new characters - Jamie, Jess & Bronte are not seen much, but I think we will see more of them in the future. It was good to see how Ellie got on with the adults now everything is supposedly back to 'normal' and they are treating her like a 'kid' again.
Probably for the first time since "Tomorrow, when the war began", this is a book that you can read by itself and be able to work out what is going on. There are references to events in the Tomorrow series, but Ellie explains them whenever they are mentioned.
If I were to compare it to the Tomorrow series, I would say this book is most like Darkness Be My Friend as it is mainly focuses on the characters and their struggles rather than having them blow up something again.
I will probably appreciate this book much more once other books in the Ellie chronicles are released as it is meant to be establishing this new series and there is only so much you can do in the one book. Hopefully the next episodes in this series will be more like the old Tomorrow series rather than an episode of McLeod's daughters.