Book 13 – The Night Is For Hunting by John Marsden

The Night is for HuntingThis is where you can find the reviews for the previous books ‘Tomorrow, when the war began’, ‘The Dead of the Night’‘The Third Day, the Frost’, ‘Darkness be my Friend and ‘Burning For Revenge’. This is the sixth book and with only one book left we are definitively nearing the conclusion of the series. On one hand I want to read on as fast as I possibly can. However on the other hand I don’t want it to be over. But I guess that’s always the case when you your feelings are invested in something and my feelings certainly are invested.

This book is all about change if you ask me. Of course they have all changed tremendously during the war, which is to be expected and no surprise if you take into consideration all the things they have seen and had to do to survive. Their small group has caused more damage than anyone else in the Wirrawee area, as far as they know. And if they ever get captured it will mean certain death.

During ‘Burning for Revenge’ they made their way to Stratton, where they were staying at the house in which Ellie’s grandmother used to live, before the war. Ellie has no idea what happened to her, but her house is still in pretty good shape and gives them enough cover to stay safe. Soon after they arrived in Stratton they were caught and robbed by a group of younger kids, surprise really was what caught them. After loosing some of their old, yet very emotionally charged possessions – a picture of Ellie’s parents, Homer’s pocket knife. No one really bothered with the ‘ferals’  (as they referred to the kids) who’ve obviously been living on their own –  likely since the beginning of the war. But Ellie always kept an eye on them, to make sure that they were okay and one night she sees that they are in dire need of help.

The relationship between Ellie and Lee has been strained since his betrayal, yet he is the one who goes with her when she knows that the ferals are in danger. And together they save five of the younger kids, who didn’t have time to flee when the soldiers arrived. Ellie actually steals an army truck and with a quick stop at her grandma’s house to pick Homer, Fi and Kevin up they leave Stratton in a hurry chased by soldiers. Back to the only place where they know they will be safe.

It’s not an easy journey but Ellie has no choice, she has to continue on even when she hears the kids crying and screaming terrified in the back of the truck. The problem is that these kids have lived among one another since this war began, with no adult supervision and they don’t trust easily. Even if Ellie, Lee, Homer, Fi and Kevin are just a couple of years older, they don’t trust them and the first change they get – which is when they are on foot going up the path to Tailor’s Stitch at the top of Hell – they flee. They simply refuse to listen.

They are sure that the kids won’t get far especially since they are city-kids who are not used to the bush, however like they themselves these kids have learned a trick or two about survival and determination. And they walk, far … really far. And all Ellie and her friends can do is follow them and try to catch up before it’s too late. Extreme exhaustion and dehydration are always just around the bend in the bush and since they are in pursuit for days it’s no real surprise that when they finally find the kids, one of them didn’t make it.

This book in particular is a little slower on the action, but after the high action packed last book I think that this was a good compromise. There are still some really nail-biting and terrifying moments but there is also a lot of time for reflection and even some downright sweet moments. All in all this book holds a perfect balance.

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