Friday, 28 December 2012

Review:Noughts & Crosses Series (2-4) by Malorie Blackman


Title: Knife Edge
Author: Malorie Blackman
Author Info: Website|Blog|Twitter|Facebook
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Noughts and Crosses #2
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Publication Date:23rd August 2005

Tell Me About It
This thought-provoking and often provocative look at racism is a sequel to the award-winning Noughts & Crosses.

Persephone (Sephy) Hadley, now an 18-year-old single parent, is raising her biracial daughter in a sharply divided alternate England, where black Crosses suppress the white Noughts. She faces pressure from both her less-than-understanding Cross family and her disintegrating Naught family, and everyone in between. When her brother-in-law's violent behaviour leads to murder, Sephy provides a false alibi to save Jude, but doing so irreparably damages other lives.

My Thoughts
Knife Edge is Jude and Sephy's stories. It follows Jude as he finds ways to get money, and his anger and bitterness towards Sephy consume him as he tries to find a way to get back at Sephy for Callum's death.  It follows Sephy as she forges a new life for herself and her daughter, Callie Rose, and tries to make the best of what they have available to them.

After finishing Noughts and Crosses I couldn't wait to make a start on this book. While he isn't my favourite I really enjoyed getting a look into Jude's character.  Getting to see how his mind works and what makes him tick was a good insight that lets you see how jaded a character he is, that can't seem to understand the bigger picture.  Once he has his mind set on something that is all he is able to focus on, and if he were on a different side, then he would make an exceptional hero.  Part way through the book I really thought Jude had changed and was coming to realise what a mistake his beliefs are, but sadly this didn't happen.  However I do think particular meeting affected Jude and stayed on his conscience for a while.

As Knife Edge progresses, and after a surprise letter, Sephy sinks further into herself.  Yes she has other activities to occupy her, but her feelings and actions towards Callie Rose vastly change from her previous disposition, and you can see it slowly eat away at her causing her to distance herself from Callie Rose and her family, and focus more on her job.  It was saddening to see this slowly transpire, and not be able to point out the obvious, and it all builds up until Sephy does the unthinkable.

Knife Edge was a great read from start to finish and I could not put it down.  The suspense over wondering what would happen next kept me on the edge of my seat and I had to keep reading to find out what would happen to Jude, Sephy and Callie Rose.

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Title: Checkmate
Author: Malorie Blackman
Author Info: Website|Blog|Twitter|Facebook
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Noughts and Crosses #3
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Publication Date:22nd August 2006

Tell Me About It
Can the future ever erase the past? Rose has a Cross mother and a Nought father in a society where the pale-skinned Noughts are treated as inferiors and those with dual heritage face a life-long battle against deep-rooted prejudices. Sephy, her mother, has told Rose virtually nothing about her father, but as Rose grows up she becomes determined to find out more about her parentage. As Rose takes her first steps away from Sephy and into her father’s world, she finds herself drawn inexorably into danger.
My Thoughts
Callie Rose, who wants to be know as Rose, is older, and Check Mate alternates between the present, and the past.  The past chapters are in various points of view, Jude, Callie, Sephy, Jasmine and Meggie.  With Callie's chapters we get to see her grow up, each chapter is a different year in her life.  We get a  first hand look at her feelings towards her Dad as she learns more about him, as well as letters she writes to him.  Her friendship with Tobey is portrayed through the book and one thing I liked was how gullible she is towards him, believing everything he says like a true friend would.
Sephy is still trying to deal with Callum's death, while it isn't a prominent issue, it's constantly in the background, and we can see how this has affected her emotional relationship with Callie Rose along with her relationships with boyfriends.

Check Mate is another great instalment in this series, Jude has found Callie and he will stop at nothing in order to exact his revenge on Sephy and her family, even if it means using Callie to get what he needs.    While I don't agree with what Callie does, I do feel sorry for her.  All the secrets about her Dad are revealed unexpectedly  and having no-one to turn to she goes to the one person who she shouldn't have gone to, who pretends to be there for her, and it slowly starts a downward spiral of things she shouldn't even think about, never mind doing them.

Throughout Check Mate we get to see more of Jasmine and Meggie, and how bad news can bring a broken family back together.  Check Mate is even more nerve wracking than the previous books, and whenever the book went back to Jasmine I was on tenterhooks wondering what would happen.  In the back of my mind I knew what the end result would be, but I didn't want it to end like this, and still hoped I was wrong.  Check Mate has one explosive ending, but also a reconciliation, and both of them had me in tears.  I am so glad I had the last book waiting to be read as I don't think I could have waited to read it.

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Title: Double Cross
Author: Malorie Blackman
Author Info: Website|Blog|Twitter|Facebook
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Noughts and Crosses #4
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: 6th November 2009

Tell Me About It
Tobey wants a better life - for him and his girlfriend Callie Rose. He wants nothing to do with the gangs that rule the world he lives in. But when he's offered the chance to earn some money just for making a few 'deliveries', just this once, would it hurt to say 'yes'?

The captivating conclusion/companion Novel of the Noughts and Crosses series.
My Thoughts
I want to start off by saying how sad I am that this great series has come to an end, I have read through these books so fast, and now I am on the last one.
Double Cross begins with Callie still coming to terms with what happened at the hotel in the previous book, she is a mixed bag of emotions, sadness, loss, lonely, and blames herself for what transpired.  Tobey is the one person who she knows she can turn to when she needs a shoulder to cry on, or just be there for her.  One person purposely gets in their way, Misty.  She is a constant thorn in their sides, making her presence known, and her intentions clear, she wants Tobey, but he has other thoughts about her which are made clear near the beginning of the book.
Tobey grinned ruefully. 'Well its true. If she ever had an original thought it would die of loneliness.'
Tobey only wants what is best for Callie, and initially they start off as good friends.  All is going well between them until he takes a step of his path, and with good intentions at heart, does what he never wanted to do, getting involved with the local gangs.

Double Cross features Tobey a lot, and after what happens to Callie he goes out of his way to get revenge, and I can't decide if he was ridiculously brave, or ridiculously stupid for doing what he does.  With his plan is set in motion there was a constant threat of getting caught and I found myself feeling nervous when I had to turn the page wondering if he would be ok or not.  If I would turn over to discover he had died, or that something had happened to Callie.  I don't want to say too much about Double Cross as you need to read it yourself to find out what happens (and what I am going on about)
If I rated the books I had read for the blog, then Double Cross would be off the charts.  The twists and turns made sure to keep me fully engrossed in the story, constantly on edge and wanting to know what happens next.  Double Cross concludes the series amazingly well and I am sad to see it all come to an end.  This series is a definite re-read for me and one that I would recommend to everyone.

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