Our family, including two boys, age 12 and 14, really enjoyed this book on a long summer road trip. The narrator is superb and the story is engaging with great character development.
Imagine your country invaded by a foreign army, and it happens overnight!
That scenario confronts Ellie and her school friends after they camp out in the bush one summer.
I liked Marsden's writing: it is clever and pacy, with the listener/reader on the edge of their seat; hoping these kids can survive something they have never prepared for.
Readers from age 12 and up have enjoyed this series, and new hard cover editions appear regularly in Australia, due to its continuing popularity.
First, this is a good book and easy to listen to. It has the same plot as Red Dawn just moved to another country. Not America but Australia. I am not sure which book was written first so it is kind of a chicken or the egg dilemma. If this book was written first, I have done the author a disservice and I should have rated it a five. Either way it is worth the credit. I love the Aussie accent the narrator has and it is not fake. The book held my attention and though I think it is targeting teens, I am sixty eight and I enjoyed it and will get the next book in the series at the very least.
We bought this title to listen to with our 2 teenaged sons. They liked it a lot, particularly when the action was going on. But at times the character whose viewpoint we are hearing from becomes tedious. She goes on a bit long as she tries to examine the relationships among the book's characters. In fairness, we have purchased the 2nd title and are enjoying it as well, although the same criticism applies to it. In my opinion, that's what makes it a 4 and not 5.
It is an interesting and well done YA adventure/survival story, but I do not see how it is science fiction. It is speculative, in that it is based on an imaginary war, an imaginary invasion. But that is what fiction is. Have I missed something? Seriously, if someone could enlighten me how this should be considered science fiction, I would be interested to know.. It seems to me that in no way does this involve any of the elements one would expect in science fiction, and I feel it is mis-categorized.
That said, again, it is a really interesting and well done adventure, but its classification is a bit misleading, in my opinion.
This is one of the few audio books where I think more highly of the narrator than the story itself. Suzi Dougherty's reading is really nice to hear, perhaps it's her lovely Aussie accent and the way that she can capture the speech and mannerisms of a spunky teenage girl. As for the story itself, it is overall a nice little action tale of a country suddenly invaded, and a small group of people who decide to rebel.
The discussion of whether it is too much like "Red Dawn" is a helpful one to have. I personally hated Red Dawn for its sensationalist xenophobia. I won't accuse Marsden of similar xenophobia because, frankly, I can't tell where he stands on the issue. For most of the book, the kids are naturally loyal to their home nation and want to fight against its occupation. If they have to use violence to do so, I have no problem with that (being an American, I realize that rebellion is often the necessary beginning to something better), and the violence in this novel is nowhere near as brutal as Red Dawn's, so it didn't feel sensationalistic. Nor did the kids seem like insufferable uber-patriots.
In a couple of places, I thought Marsden was going to go in a different direction and use the situation as a commentary on Australia's history. After all, didn't white people take over a nation that belonged to the aborignal inhabitants? So, maybe this book was going to be an elaborate metaphor, to say, "How would you like it if you were invaded?" But after going through the entire book, I saw that Marsden wasn't going to go there. There seems to be no interest in exploring the deeper issue of who should control what; Marsden seems to want to tell a straight action story, with the middle-class Aussie high schoolers as heroes.
Some other issues made the book a bit odd. I have no idea who the invaders are. The only clue I remember is that they don't speak English, but we aren't told if they are Asian, Middle Eastern, European, or whatever. Do I have to buy the other six sequels to find this out? Also, it was very strange that the students had no access to TV, Internet or radio which would have helped them to get outside reports. Then again, I don't know when this was written. (They finally get ham radio late in the book, which helps a bit.) And perhaps the worst thing is that the author plays up the jokey-pranky-angsty part of teen life waaaaay too much. Even when these kids' lives have been turned upside down, they are making wisecracks. And as they are launching a rebellion against an army, they are intensely concerned about their love lives. Those parts took me out of the story at various times.
The conclusion of the book wasn't a conclusion at all, just a promise of more action ahead in the various sequels.
Despite the flaws, I ended up liking it. I'm somewhat curious about how the story plays out in the rest of the books.
No, she was actually faster than the pace of the story. Had it not been for her, I'd asked for a refund after the first 30 minutes.
Too many to list.
This is a teen romance-adventure novel, and as such it's probably pretty good, so I rated it that way. But that's not what I expected. I got fooled by other reviews saying this is a great adventure story and a good read for all ages. The story is told in the first person by a seventeen-year-old girl and yes it has some good adventure but there is also a lot of narrative about her romantic feelings and experiences. For an older male these teen romance interludes weren't very appealing. Too bad, because I did enjoy the adventure part of the story, which is, as others have noted, basically Red Dawn in Australia. This is probably a great book for girls from age 10 to 17, give or take, but if you're not in that category you might want to look elsewhere for a good adventure story.
I found the australian accent and slang a little difficult to understand. Also, the author has too many characters who are too much alike (at least 6) in the first 2 hours and they seem a little too generic for my taste. Action doesn't start for 2-3 hours into the tale, and by then I was quite frankly bored.