Darkness, Be My Friend - John Marsden

We can’t all be winners all the time.

That’s the theme of this book.

Sure, in the past, things have gone wrong. Plans have gone awry. People have been killed.

But the main objective was always achieved.

Wirrawee Bridge. The officer’s houses. Cobbler’s Bay.

Not in this book.

This book is all about failure.

Small mistakes.

The kind you make because you’ve been living a perfectly ordinary life for six months.

The kind you make because you’re adjusting to being dumped back in a war zone.

The kind you make because you take things for granted.

The main objective is not achieved, not by either group.

Despite their failure, it’s still a good book to read. Ellie’s reflects a lot on the trauma of war, of being reintroduced to it against her will, but at the same time tempering it with the joy of being home and in the bush doing what she does best.

There’s plenty of action, including a high-speed chase while being shot at and riding horses bareback in the middle of the night whilst being shot at. Well, there’s a lot of being shot at, and not a lot of time spent in Hell.

Even though the gang failed in their main objectives, there’s still thrills enough to keep reading and although the climax doesn’t culminate in the usual explosions there’s enough to want to know what the gang will be up to in the next instalment.