This review contains mild spoilers.
I used to like Ellie. I swear I liked her in the Tomorrow series. Has it just been so long since I read those books that I’ve forgotten how much she grated on me? Or is John Marsden soaring to new heights in The Ellie Chronicles? The further I get into these books, the less I feel connected with her character and it seems like the same is happening for the author.
Though it may not be as fun as the constant action of war, I did enjoy Ellie’s triumph over her lawyer in While I Live. I was interested to see a bit more of that. Not a lot. Not a whole storyline. But maybe just a passing mention of how the courts handled the change in circumstances or something. Instead, I sat through various descriptions of cattle. I am now fairly certain that I could treat a cow for a prolapsed rectum provided I have a copy of this book with Marsden’s detailed instructions handy.
Whenever Ellie swoops in and saves her friends, she does so with ease, luck, and arrogance that must surely get exhausting for those she’s saving. Some of her heroic actions in Incurable are far-fetched to the point of being comical and I caught myself rolling my eyes more than a few times.
Jeremy, who appeared only a few times in While I Live, is suddenly a must-have for Ellie, damn anyone else who might be interested. And damn the fact that Ellie only seems interested in him because she can’t figure out whether she likes Homer or Lee more.
Incurable does offer the first real bit of backstory about Gavin and finally the pieces fall into place, albeit slightly unsatisfactorily. What was probably meant to be a fast-paced action sequence ended up dragging on for so long that I lost interest and was actually yelling at the characters for not sorting themselves out when they had the opportunity.
I expected While I Live to be a rocky transition from Tomorrow to The Ellie Chronicles but it seems like the transition period isn’t over yet. With only one book left in the trilogy, hopefully John Marsden will manage to walk the fine line between weird and unsolicited action sequences and Ellie sticking her hand up a cow’s butt. Surely there’s a comfortable middle ground in there somewhere.