The third instalment in John Marsden’s Tomorrow series, The Third Day, the Frost takes place weeks after their attack on Buttercup Lane. Ellie quickly brings us up to speed with everything that is going on and how the others have changed since the attack. Robyn has stopped eating a lot, telling jokes about how she’s an ‘anorexic insomniac’. Homer has slumped into a depression. Lee has a nervous tick and, when he and Ellie ‘get it on’, his body doesn’t react like he wants it to. Ellie admits she’s prone to lifelike flashbacks while also feeling similar to her mates. It is Fi that looks like she’s coping the best. A complete change from the first book. Where there were eight innocent teenagers full of life, now there is only five in their damaged group… until they find Kevin.
It’s been a while since we saw Kevin. He drove himself and Corrie off to the hospital at the end of the first book. We’ve only heard of him in snippets from people in work parties. However, he holds the key to their next big attack. The one that will be one of the most defining parts of the war. This third book shows what true desperation leads to and how much war can change a person’s perspective. One day, you’re thinking about how one person could kill another. The next, you’re pinning someone to the ground with a belt around their throats hoping they can’t yell out otherwise you will die. It’s tough. It’s brutal. But underneath it all, there’s hope.
As I stated before, this book takes place weeks after their bomb attack on Buttercup Lane. Like in the previous book, you can tell that Ellie is changing due to the pressures of the war with her change in language. She mentions that she’s prone to lifelike flashbacks and that is translated in her words. Occasionally, we’ll be creeping with her in the bushes. Then, we’re in her mind as she thinks about her life before or during the war.
The shift in their personalities to get them out of their slump of activity comes from Lee. A proposal like none other. To take their attacks, escalate them and hit the enemy right in the heart of the action: Cobbler’s Bay. This is the heart of the enemy’s trade. Where they receive their equipment. Where their convoys begin when they are sent out on whatever mission they’re on.
It’s a huge target and the group know it. They’re elated by the idea of action but pulled back to reality when they realise they have no idea on how they would attack such a big and heavily guarded area. Nonetheless, they decide it’s time for them to move and head towards their prospective target in an attempt to scout and monitor the area for potential ideas.
This is where Kevin gets involved. You see, by chance, they stumble upon him amongst a work party. It’s exciting, yes. Do they want him back? Of course! However, after a plan gone wrong, violence turns to death as we witness Lee kill a man with his bare hands. This is a very important scene in the series as we suddenly feel a shift in the way we see the characters. Ellie is guiding us through her point of view, and thus our opinions tend to match with hers as we’re forced to think like her. It is through this death that we start to think ‘would we have done that to save a friend?’.
Reuniting with Kevin has a much bigger impact than just that scene, however. You see, Kevin learned a few interesting things while being at the showgrounds and being a part of the work parties. The group learn all the gory details about the enemy. The brutality and fear that they bring. But that’s not all he’s learned: he’s also learned how to make bombs.
You can start to piece together how they’re going to attempt attacking Cobbler’s Bay, can’t you?
So, after their reuniting and reaching an area that they can watch Cobbler’s Bay and the surrounding areas, they start to devise a plan. It suddenly becomes very real to them, the prospect of achieving something so big. It also becomes very clear to Ellie that their deaths could be closer than they expected. Yes, she’s been aware that they could die at any point and they were lucky for getting as far as they had. However, it’s now becoming more apparent that this attack could be the end of it for them.
The Third Day, the Frost really highlights how desperation can change a person. This group went from an innocent group of teenagers to adults with blood on their hands, and now they’re looking at attacking one of the biggest targets that could kill them instantly. Throughout the whole book, we start questioning what would happen if they were ever caught, and by the end we finally know the answer.
Six become five again, but soon they see salvation: New Zealand.
What I thought
After reading these books and seeing what each character has had to overcome, it’s fair to say that I think I would react to all of these situations very differently. When it is first mentioned they’d try and strike Cobbler’s Bay, I felt a pang of fear rip into me. I suppose this shows how well these characters are created and how easy it is to imagine them as real people.
Although I really enjoyed this book and the amount of action in it, I had a couple of reservations about it. I felt a bit disconnected to the reality of the book when, coincidentally, Kevin was found and had the knowledge to create bombs from common products found on a farm. It seemed almost too lucky. I mean, I know I’ve been in situations where things have happened by sheer coincidence… but that was almost too good to be true.
Nonetheless, those reservations were quickly dispelled when faced with the rest of the book. The action was enough to distract me, and the very easily relatable feelings and thoughts from Ellie immersed me right back in. Without going into too much detail and spoiling the book, the last couple of chapters were fantastically done. I could not imagine how I would be able to survive a situation like that but the numbness of Ellie really emphasised just how war changes a person.
And then the final scene happens and I’m a complete emotional mess, unable to decide whether I’m happy or sad about how it all played out. The ending had me feeling a bunch of different emotions and made me wonder how there were still four books left to go. Nonetheless, it’s time to move on to the book number four: Darkness, Be My Friend.
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Charlotte is a reading and writing lover who has completed a creative writing intensive course at the University of Oxford and is a current university student studying a double degree in journalism and creative writing. If you are curious to learn more, check out the 'About' page.