Noughts and Crosses Series Review by Harry Sweet.

The Noughts And Crosses series is written by my favourite author: Malorie  Blackman. I have read many of the books she has written such as:

Pig Heart boy (This is the one that got me hooked on her books. I first read it at St Ivo School. In fact, it was the first book I read at that school),

Hacker ( This is one of my favourites although it still doesn’t beat the Noughts And Crosses series),

A.N.T.I.D.O.T.E. (This one is really good as well, I found it extremely hard to put down. I literally started reading it as soon as I got it and didn’t put it down until later that night when I finished it),

Thief (In my opinion, this is one of Malorie Blackman’s worst books. I admit it was still pretty good but I didn’t have that uncontrollable urge to keep reading like I did with her other books).

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Malorie Blackman was born in 1962 in London. She trained in computer science and worked in computing before publishing her first book at the age of 28

Malorie Blackman published the first book in the Noughts and Crosses series in 2001 (Noughts and Crosses), the second in 2004 (Knife Edge), the third shortly after in 2005 (Check Mate) and finally the last one in 2008 (Double Cross)

So far she has been selected as Children’s Laureate, won an OBE and written over 60 books for children. But what I was really surprised to find out was that she also writes scripts for several TV series.

Malorie Blackman lives with her husband, Neil and Daughter, Elizabeth in Kent. During her free time, she likes to play the piano and write poetry.

Noughts and Crosses is a bit of a romance book and it’s my personal favourite in the series. It’s set in an alternate universe where two races: black and white, or more commonly known Noughts and Crosses (black being Crosses and white being Noughts). The Crosses are thought to be the superior race. They are thought to be more fit, more smart and closer to God.

Then one day Sephy (a Cross) and Callum (a Nought) realise their childhood friendship is starting to grow into something more. They both love each other but don’t know if the other feels the same way. Another thing that stops them is the fact Noughts and Crosses aren’t supposed to mix.

Eventually they realise each others feelings and become a couple but that all changes when Callum joins a terrorist group and kidnaps Sephy. Luckily he has a change of heart and he helps Sephy escape! However, it doesn’t end happily when Callum is hung because Sephy is pregnant. Oh, and did I mention that the man that hung Callum was Sephy’s Father! Everything ends up more crazy than Sephy could’ve ever imagined…

Knife Edge is the second book in the series, still set in the alternate universe and set around Sephy, the book is the sequel to Noughts and Crosses. This particular book is more focused on Jude,  Callum’s older brother, and Sephy’s overwhelming grief for Callum. In the book Jude falls in love with a girl called Cara, the only problem is Cara is a Cross. Jude hates Crosses! He’s part of a  terrorist organisation that believes in stopping all Crosses! But Cara seems different. The question is: Will Jude listen to his heart or his head?  Meanwhile, Sephy has to deal with her grief for Callum and has to try to move on. Will she be able to?

In the end Jude kills Cara and steals all of her money for his own purposes however he is wracked by the overwhelming guilt. Sephy is sent a letter that was written by her boyfriend, before he died, saying how much he hated her and how he had manipulated her when he found out she loved him. Even though these were not his true feelings he thought it would help her move on.

Check Mate is the third book in the series and the second to-last one as well. In this book you focus on the life of Sephy’s Daughter, Callie Rose, as she grows from a baby to a young adult. She grows up oblivious to who or what her Father was as her mother tries to protect her from the  cruel and unjust world around her. But, despite her Mother’s best efforts, she  discovers the darkness around her.

Then she meets her terrorist Uncle and he recruits her. He tells her to make a bomb to kill her politician Grandfather! She then actually does it! But the bomb doesn’t kill it’s intended target… It kills her Grandmother and the terrorist Uncle! Callie Rose feels extremely guilty and she socially withdraws even further..

Double Cross is the final book in the series and is more of an action book than the others. It’s mainly centred around Callie Rose’s friend Tobey. Unlike Callie Rose, Tobey has always seen the cruelty of the world around him. He just tries to block it out, but when he needs money he’s offered a shady job and lots of cash. He’s tempted but he also knows he or Callie Rose could get hurt or they could get into trouble with other gangs.

After a lot of thought, he decides to take the job. He gets suspicious though and starts to work as a “double agent” for another gang. He then gets in a particular jam and after another one of his friends are killed he decides he must kill the leader of one of the gangs.

He manages to get the gang leader, MCAuley, at gunpoint but can’t bring himself to kill him. Luckily, his friend who has also been affected by the gang kills the gang leader for him.

My observations on the series

I think Callum’s Mother is extremely strong, mentally, as she went through a lot: her eldest Daughter went insane and committed suicide, her eldest Son became a terrorist and was killed by a bomb her Granddaughter made, her youngest Son was hung for rape even though he was innocent, her Husband died trying to escape prison and her Daughter in-law almost killed her Granddaughter. So, when you think about it, she’s been through a lot. I think I admire her for staying strong through all of that.

Although many things happened during the series the world remained racist! I think the issue Malorie Blackman is trying to make us think about is racism and about the cruelty and unfairness of it all.

I would totally recommend this series to someone else. It makes you see the world in a new light. The books are also impossible to put down! In fact, I would recommend any of Malorie Blackman’s books they all seem to be great!

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