Darkness, Be My Friend (Tomorrow #4) by John Marsden
Published: 1996, republished 27 September 2012 by Quercus
Pages: 288 (paperback)
Genre/s: Young Adult, War
Source: Own library
As the fourth book in the series, this review may contain minor spoilers for previous books.
Their country ravaged. Their families taken. Their solution - fight.
After the trauma of the invasion and the pain of their tragic losses, Ellie and her friends have finally found sanctuary.
But after five months away, they are called upon to return to the fight.
The gang have got used to feeling safe. They've suffered enough. And Ellie is sick with fear at the thought of returning to combat.
But sometimes there's only one answer: We're going back.
As with all the Tomorrow books, there is a small gap between book three and book four, but as always, this is only a small break. Enough to take a breath, remember the previous book, and jump right back in to the story.
Darkness, Be My Friend, finds the teens safe and comfortable for the first time since discovering their country had been invaded. And with that long-awaiting feeling of safety, all their emotions and reactions come spilling out. As the series is told in Ellie's perspective, much of the focus is on her own emotional reactions, although she does also speak about how her friends, and the group as a whole, are dealing with the reality of their situation now that they have time to stop and think about it.
Some of the most strong reactions from Ellie in the whole series so far comes when she is told that the powers that be want her to return to the war zone she has only recently been rescued from. Her emotions feel real and powerful, and I could completely sympathise with her feelings and how torn she felt.
Darkness, Be My Friend is much more of a psychologically intense book that the previous books in the series, and focuses far more on the survival of the group, rather than the explosiveness of the first three books. This change of focus allows more reflection and rethinking by Ellie - and it's obvious that her psyche has been damaged, most probably permanently, from everything she has been through.
That is what I find most compelling about the Tomorrow series - the characters grow as the story progresses, but they also become much more emotionally affected - which feels natural and logical - it's great to see heroes that aren't always perfect. Darkness, Be My Friend is introspective and character driven, with enough action to keep it moving along at an intense pace.