18 December 2009

Review: Burning for Revenge by John Marsden

Burning for Revenge is the fifth in John Marsden's Tomorrow series. (I reviewed the second, third, and fourth books here.) Although my review does not contain spoilers for this novel, it does assume you've read the others in the series. For just my opinion, skip to below the asterisks.

Ellie, Homer, Kevin, Lee, and Fi are back in Hell. They are once again on their own, despite the fact that they have a radio for contacting Colonel Finley. Lee especially is feeling restless and is determined to reengage in guerrilla warfare. The group knows they have to stick together, so they all make the trek out of camp.

We are quickly thrown into can't-stop-reading, what-will-happen-next action as Ellie almost gets captured, the group unexpectedly ends up behind enemy lines, and they execute a plan of attack. The novel then takes a darker and more disturbing turn when the teens travel to Ellie's grandmother's house in the city of Stratton. There is no sugar-coating the effects of war on civilians.

* * * * * *
Burning for Revenge, is one of the stronger novels in a series of strong books. There is so much more here than the group's achievements and failures in undercover combat. Each teen is affected by the war in a way that fits his or her personality and personal experiences.

The kids are not always brave, smart, and self-assured. These are real teens coping with stark realities, and they are sometimes scared and powerless to make decisions. This novel examines depression, betrayal, friendships, the need to make a home, and the importance of being resourceful. When Ellie and her friends meet some other children, they begin to see a broader picture: Not all war horrors involve death and killing.

As Fi says:
Oh . . . I know this stuff was happening in other countries when we were growing up: East Timor, Irian Jaya, Tibet. And I cared about it. I really did. But it's so different when it's right in front of you; when you see it. Or when it's your family and friends who get hurt and killed. Those kids, Homer's right, we should do something about them. Like he said, they could be our brothers and sisters. (p. 220)
The series is available on audio read by Suzi Doughtery, who embodies the teenage Ellie perfectly.

John Marsden is a master at creating believable characters and a world so authentic we know we don't want to see it firsthand. Marsden has a website and blog.

Burning for Revenge at Powell's
Burning for Revenge at Amazon
These 3 links lead to affiliate programs

Published by Scholastic, 2006 [originally published 1997]
ISBN-13: 9780439858038
Challenges: YA Dystopian, 100+, 999
YTD: 94
Source: Borrowed (see review policy)
Rating: B+


Julie P. 12/18/09, 8:57 AM  

These sound good but I probably wouldn't have given them a second thought without your coverage!

Jen - devourer of books 12/18/09, 12:57 PM  

I have got to check out these books!

bermudaonion 12/18/09, 2:30 PM  

Carl's been looking for a new series to try and I think he might like this one - I'm going to show him your reviews.

sanjeet 12/18/09, 3:08 PM  

t I probably wouldn't have given them a second thought without your coverage!

Work from home India

SuziQoregon 12/18/09, 5:41 PM  

I'm really loving this series. It's another one that I probably wouldn't have started if it wasn't for all the chat on Twitter. I've only read the first three, but it's good to hear the subsequent books are also strong.

Carrie K. 12/19/09, 12:51 AM  

I just finished book four this evening - can't wait to get my hands on the rest of the series! I think each book has been stronger than the last. Did you know that they are in the process of filming a movie version of the first book?

beth 12/19/09, 6:39 AM  

I really liked this series, and the Ellie Chronicles afterward. I've dug up a lot of Marsden's backlist on the strength of it; he's got a lot of varied books out.

S. Krishna 12/22/09, 10:29 AM  

I really need to pick up this series!!

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