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A Killing Frost: Tomorrow #3    by John Marsden order for
Killing Frost
by John Marsden
Order:  USA  Can
Laurel Leaf, 1999 (1995)
Hardcover, Paperback

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

A Killing Frost is the third in John Marsden's enthralling Tomorrow series, about a group of Aussie teens, whose country has been overrun by invaders. Times are tougher for them in this volume, and killing is getting easier but bringing with it a bigger 'emotional backlash' each time. They are still in shock from the death of a friend and from a successful act of sabotage. At the same time, enemy immigrants are taking over (and lighting up) the country farms, thus making night movement less safe.

One of the strengths of the series is its character development. These kids change and mature, revealing to each other and the reader hidden strengths and new vulnerabilities. Ellie's relationship with Lee has been damaged by her seeing how coldly he kills. Robyn is turning into 'a paranoid anorexic insomniac.' Early in the story, they encounter an old friend again, and find a way for him to join them, adding a new ingredient to the mix of their argumentative decision making.

They decide that they have to do something bigger for their side of the war and take on the enemy's major port of entry at nearby Cobbler's Bay. This act of sabotage stirs up a wasp's nest, which they barely escape. In hiding they make contact with the New Zealand military, who encourage but cannot help them. Stress and danger mould their characters even more; 'Homer, with his strength and leadership and planning; Fi, with her courage and grace ... Robyn with her wisdom and goodness'.

I found A Killing Frost the best yet in the series. Though the pressure makes them bicker and flare up along the way, Ellie and friends find the strength to rise to each occasion, and do great things, though once again at a high cost to themselves. There's a climactic ending, after which Ellie concludes 'You have to believe in something. That's all.' Fortunately it's not all for the series, and I am anxious to find out where it heads next.

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