Double Cross by Malorie Blackman, the fourth book in the Noughts and Crosses series, was a reread for me. I first read these books around when they came out (this book in 2008 – I was 12) borrowing them from the library, and when I bought myself my own copies as an adult I knew I wanted to reread them.
This was a damn difficult book to get through. It was rough. I actually DNF’d it for a while in 2021 because I really just wasn’t in the right headspace for this, and this series is heavy. Eventually I did push through in March and finally finish up this reread. Interestingly, the ending wasn’t as heartbreaking as I’d come to expect from the first three books in the series, but DAMN did I need that!
If it wasn’t already obvious, this book has some HEAVY trigger warnings. Highlight here if you want to see them: death, drug abuse, drug use, gun violence, racism, murder, cancer, terminal illness. This series is all about the reversal of racism, where Black people have power and white people are the minority. It’s based in the UK, as Blackman is a British author, but it does have influence from the US in terms of the corporal punishment being used there more recently against Black people compared to in the UK. And it is set as a contemporary read, at least within the time it was published in ’08. It’s still incredibly relevant to today though, much to my chagrin.
I will say that I didn’t find this book to be quite as enjoyable as the first three books. It was still incredibly hard hitting, and tough to read, but it doesn’t seem to add to the original three books. The story arc felt quite complete within those, and this definitely feels more like an extended 3.5 where we learn more about the lives these people are living.
If you’d like to see my reviews for my rereads of Noughts & Crosses, Knife Edge, or Checkmate, click on their names to read!
It’s not a bad book, don’t get me wrong, just lest connected to the previous works. It follows a completely new POV (there are multiple POVs in the whole series) from a mostly background character from the previous book. The original series was intended as a trilogy and unfortunately it does kinda show in this one. BUT at the same time? Still an incredible story with an incredible message.
On CAWPILE I rated this one: Characters: 6, Atmosphere: 6, Writing: 9, Plot: 6, Intrigue: 7, Logic: 9, and Enjoyment: 4, which gives an average score of 6.71 and a 3.5* rating.
I’m still debating whether I’m going to be picking up the newly released book(s) at any point. I think I’ll be more invested in them as they stick (at least as far as I can tell from the synopsis) to the character set that we’ve already been introduced to. But at the same time I’m always wary of series that are picked back up again after a long hiatus. We’ll have to see.
Have you read any of the books from this series? What do you think of it? Let me know!
Highlight here for the trigger warnings: death, drug abuse, drug use, gun violence, racism, murder, cancer, terminal illness [end].