The Noughts & Crosses series is one from my childhood that I’ve decided to reread. I read book one late last year, and finally continued on with Knife Edge this year.
This one didn’t break my heart quite as much as book one, which was a nice break! But don’t get me wrong it’s still not an easy read.
This series is in a world where white people are inferior, and in book one we follow Sephy and Callum, a Black girl and a white boy, who despite the world being against them are in love. That book tore my little heart right out of my chest. I was expecting the same from book two.
This book didn’t go quite so far, but I still very much… enjoyed(?) it. Is that the right word?? You know what I mean.
In this book we switch to a new perspective, right from the beginning, as well as continuing with a perspective we’d been following throughout book one. This new perspective offered a lot of insight into the harsh reality of life and how circumstances can drive people to commit certain acts. Whilst I don’t like this character, I really appreciate all of the development that Blackman does of them and how this adds so many layers. It really makes you realise the humanity in all of the acts they carry out. Even if you don’t agree with them.
I have pretty strong feelings about these books. I’ve heard people say they aren’t for kids. I’ve heard people say they’re unrealistically violent. But they are for children (older kids mind you, trigger warnings are rife in these) and the aren’t unrealistically violent. This is supposed to be a reversal of racism towards Black people and it really highlights this for a mainly white British population with the whites treated as inferior. It shows what their friends and colleagues are going through and I think Blackman should be commended not only for how well she portrays this, but also with how well her books have stood the test of time. Although I’m sure she would’ve rather had them seem radically out of date. And so would I.
For my CAWPILE rating for this book I gave:
Which gives me an overall 8.86 rating which is a nice solid 4 star rating. I’m surprised that it didn’t get 5 stars but CAWPILE is a really tough system!
Highlight here for trigger warnings: violence, suicide, self-harm, depression, sexual references, racism, domestic abuse, hate crimes, mention of rape, abuse, infantile death suggested
These books are fantastic. They’ll rip your heart out of your chest and shove it down your throat, whilst you have tears pouring down your face and a million thoughts whirring through your head. They. Are. Amazing. Please do pick them up if you haven’t already. And if you have, tell me what you think about them in the comments!!