Since this is the final book of the series, this review may have some spoilers in it. If you don’t want to ruin the book and want to read it for yourself, I recommend not reading past this paragraph. If you’ve stumbled upon this review looking for something about the series, go check out the review for the first book Tomorrow, When the War Began.
Here we are at the end of a long series following the life of Ellie and her friends as they battle their way through this war. If you thought some of the previous books had some action, let me tell you it definitely gets more intense in this final instalment! Right from the beginning we're thrown into it, with New Zealand bringing in a helicopter and a captain to deliver some useful artillery for the teenagers. They had one request, which was for Ellie and co. to start bringing the fight back to the enemy. Nothing huge if they didn't feel up to it, but enough for the enemy to turn their focus away from the main front.
It's already sounding intense, right? I must admit, this book really does bring it home. There are some scenes that are pretty full on, particularly later in the story (I'll get into them in a moment!), but if you've been on this journey from the beginning, you're in for a wild ride to end it all!
You might be asking 'well, what about the kids?'. Well, at least three of them go to New Zealand and, if you've been reading the series up to this point (which I assume you have been if you're reading this!), you probably won't be surprised that Gavin was able to hide away and not be put onto the helicopter. Even though this may seem like an issue, Ellie and co quickly move on since their attention is now on something far greater. They need to get themselves into position and wait for the signal--the signal to start the fight that could end their lives (pretty dramatic, right?).
There's a lot to be fit into this book, so it shouldn't surprise you that the signal comes and the group are in the thick of the action early on. They have their plastic explosives, firearms and more, so they're as dangerous as ever (don't forget their never ending pot of luck too!). Their target: a busy service station. It was time to create the explosion of a lifetime. Everything went... somewhat to plan. However, instead of running deep into the night without being seen, they run for their lives.
Ellie is soon cut off from everyone else. She doesn't know where they've gone, all she knows is she has to run to survive. She's being chased and, after seeing Fiona, Homer and Gavin in the line of fire, valiantly calls out to get the soldiers attention to follow her. If you're thinking 'but you said that everything went somewhat to plan!', well they did cause an explosion of a lifetime! And, to make things more intense, we soon realise that it's only Ellie now since we don't know what's happened to the rest of the group or where they have gone.
We don't get even the chance to rest when Ellie finds herself on a train thinking she's safe from harm. However, she's still being chased and is soon one-on-one with a soldier. After a long time of climbing between different carts and a lucky explosion she is able to conjure up, she is caught. That's right, Ellie, our protagonist and always lucky champ finds herself caught, injured and near death. Is this the end? Of course not. It's only the beginning (clichéd, I know!).
In this last book, we get to see what it has been like to be on the other side of the war. After being left to heal in a hospital, she is taken to a camp where many captured people have been living throughout this series. Yes, she gets a bed and the possibility of a shower, but I'm sure you can imagine some of the horrors these people experience. If you can't imagine it, well this story will make you very aware of it.
People are nearly suffocated by soldiers shoving mud and dirt down their throats. There are people who have their legs snapped in terrible ways. I'll be honest, it's very difficult to read if you have a vivid imagination like I do.
But, as she always does, Ellie finds a way to escape. With the help of some people in the camp, she is able to get away, which leads us towards the end of this story. There is still a bit to go, but the war is nearly over. It is also from this point on where I started to feel a bit detached from the story. Ellie finds her mum, who is struggling with her own trauma. Then suddenly the war is over. Everyone goes on a bus ride into the middle of town to meet up with family, and there are negotiations to split the land between the Australians and the people who came during the war.
Yes, the ending gives us an insight into the trauma that people continue to go through after incidents like this and those raw feelings did make me feel quite emotional. However, it all falls into place in a weird way. It is obvious that life won't be the same any more for any one. However, there is still one thing I haven't covered in this review, which is one of the last twists of the story: what happened to Fiona, Homer, Lee, Kevin and Gavin?
Well, I suppose you'll need to read the book to find out!
I hope you enjoyed this journey as much as I have. What did you think of this final instalment? Did you think it was a good ending? Let me know in the comments!
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.