Joe's Reviews > The Other Side of Dawn

The Other Side of Dawn by John Marsden
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's review
Jun 28, 2010

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This is the seventh and final book of John Marsden's "Tomorrow When the War Began" series. Basically eight Australian teens go camping in the outback for a week and when they return, they discover that Australia has been invaded and subjugated by a foreign power and their parents have been locked away in detention camps. Throughout the series, the teens embark on a steadily increasing campaign of sabotage, resistance, and guerrilla war. The seventh book concluded the series pretty well. Without giving anything away, I'll report that the war does finally end, and some, but not all of the teens survive.

Apparently, this series is wildly popular in Australia and it is easy to see why. The Australian slang and phrases used throughout make the series to seem pretty foreign to this American and necessitates a helpful Australian glossary at the beginning of each book. My main criticism of the series is that the books seem a little thin on action at times and a little thick on the heroine's never-ceasing internal monologue. This is just me, obviously, because the same style has worked for Stephanie Meyer to a wildly successful degree.

The books are also distinguished by a kind of disjointed randomness. Most war books move along with a predictable dramatic structure: characters die at dramatic moments, events transpire to develop the overarching theme, etc. In Marsden's books the plots move along with a more real life unpredictability. Characters appear and disappear without seeming purpose or connection to a developing plot-line. Things just happen. This is not a criticism; it struck me that real life in war time must be like that. People die randomly, even stupidly, without reason or connection to some larger life-lesson or theme. This style bothered me at first, but I grew to appreciate it and to respect what the author was doing.

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