A Killing Frost by John Marsden

Genre: YA Fiction
Series: #3 in the Tomorrow series
Publication Date: 1995
Pages: 275
Challenges: Support Your Local Library Challenge #52
Source: Library

This is a continuation of the story begun in Tomorrow When the War Began an continued in The Dead of Night. In the first book, Australia is invaded while a group of teenagers is on a camping trip out in the bush. They return home to discover that their families have been imprisoned and end up living out in the bush on their own while doing what they can to make things difficult for the invading army. The next books follow their story. Since this is a third book in a series, it’s nearly impossible to avoid spoilers, so consider yourself warned.

It’s been six months since the invasion. The war continues and the kids have grown up in ways no teenager should ever have to, yet at the same time they’re just kids trying to deal with unimaginable circumstances. They’re scared, they’re bored with hiding in the bush, they’re worried about their families and friends and they’re angry at the invading army and the colonists.

I though this third book was much better than the second. The impact this war and their isolation has had on the group is showing. They’ve become more like soldiers in the ways they’re trying to cause trouble for the invaders yet at the same time this book also brings to light their vulnerabilities and fears.

I’m more an more impressed with Marsden’s ability as a writer and storyteller as this series continues. The main character and narrator Ellie is well drawn and just as vulnerable as she is strong. Nothing is certain as the story plays out. The reader knows that Ellie is telling the story in retrospect, but what may happen at any time or to any of the other main characters is not certain.

The suspense and action really heats up in this one. There’s a section in the middle that left my heart pounding and and the tension rising as I read as fast as I could to not have to stop reading at the end of my lunch hour with so many questions unanswered. Ellie is definitely the star of the story, but some of the other characters are getting more rounded out as the series continues.

It feels like this was maybe planned as a trilogy because the end of this one, although leaving the door open for more could also have been a possible ending. I’m glad it didn’t end, though and I’m definitely looking forward to reading the fourth one soon. This one clearly leaves it open to take some new directions.

4 stars Rating 4/5