While I Live by John Marsden is the first book in The Ellie Chronicles. Fans of John Marsden would be aware that Ellie was the main protagonist in The Tomorrow Series. The Tomorrow Series was about a group of teenagers fighting an unknown army who had invaded their land. While this book does continue with that story, it is in a new Australia, a divided country that has been split into ‘us’ and ‘them’ and neither side seems to be particularly happy with the division of land. The result is a series of border raids into Ellie’s town.
However, readers should not expect The Ellie Chronicles to have the same pace or action as The Tomorrow Series. While there is a certain amount of fighting and action, the story focuses on how Ellie is coping in the aftermath of the war, trying to run a farm and go to school amongst some borer skirmishes.
While the tone and voice of the book is definitely the same as the previous series, this book seemed to be more tragic compared to the previous series, where the group of plucky teenagers excelled in their attempts of guerrilla war fare. Even when things went wrong, they didn’t have a tragic air to them. Ellie’s voice in these books was always quite pragmatic. However, in this new series, the voice - although unmistakeable as Ellie - has a tragic feel. When an early disaster strikes, Ellie is presented with a tragic circumstance, and things seem to get worse for her. She comes across as the victim.
Although having enjoyed the book, I was disappointed in expecting the same level of variety, action, and interesting relationships developing. Which is perhaps unfair, seeing as though the book is not a continuation of the previous series, it is a whole new series. I think I perhaps was expecting the old gang back together again fighting their battles in same comradeship they displayed in the previous series.