Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Night is For Hunting


Book Title: The Night is For Hunting
Author: John Marsden
Series: Tomorrow #6
Date Started: August 12th 2017
Date Completed: August 15th 2017
Genres: Dystopian, Action
Quality Rating: Four Stars
Enjoyment Rating: Four Star
Final Rating: Four stars

It's been a couple of years since I read the previous book in the Tomorrow series, and I was getting a little worried I'd forgotten too much or I wouldn't be able to get into it again. Luckily, I was wrong, and I fell right back into this story. Strangely enough, I think I remembered the majority of major events as they became relevant, and I whizzed through the book. It was very enjoyable.

I'm amazed by how much detail there is in these books. It feels like the plot never stops, but there's so much detail about things that seem boring in theory (I don't have a particularly burning interest in sheep shearing or other farm activities) but weren't when I was actually reading them. I still don't quite understand how a book that doesn't seem to stop the action or the tension can get you so invested that reading about the most mundane things doesn't feel boring. 

The Night is For Hunting is really well balanced between action (as in, motorbikes, running, shoot outs etc.) and downtime (as in, avoiding all of the above while surviving in the bush). Its strength is that it always feels like there's something going on, and it's always engaging. If I were to set out the events that happen, I'd be a bit worried about my attention span while reading. As it was, it took me three sittings to finish this book in its entirety. I couldn't put it down.
The Tomorrow series is a favourite of mine because it deals with that scary, gritty view of teenagers in war. This isn't Divergent (think more How I Live Now), and there are times when it genuinely makes you feel scared and frankly a little bit ill. It's not so graphic and horrible that it's hard to read, but it's honest about what shooting a gun at a human being is like. Being held captive, interrogated and seeing your friends hurt and terrified isn't a tool for dramatic tension, it's an event these characters are experiencing that going to weigh down on them forever.

I still love these characters, after all this time. I think what makes them so good is the fact that Marsden understands teenagers very well. He's not patronising or assuming in their capabilities; they're written with a normality as if they were adults, and are just as able. But he also captures those fleeting moments of youth and doubt that stop them in their tracks and remind them that they're not the trained soldiers they're acting like.
Ellie is one of the best Young Adult protagonists I've come across. Partly because the series in general is very mature and dark, so it only makes sense that the character leading it would be just as tough. But I personally relate to her, and I don't often find that with fictional characters. I find people I'd like to be or like to know, but rarely do I find anyone that I think I'm similar to. But I feel like I'd make the same mistakes she does, and have the same grievances that stop her in her tracks. And I'd like to think I would make the same good choices and hard decisions that she does as well.

It wasn't my favourite in the series, but it rekindled my love for the Tomorrow series. It's a shame there's only one book in the main series left, but I don't think I'm going to wait long to get to it.

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