Wednesday 5 January 2011

Review: Noughts and Crosses - Malorie Blackman

Callum is a nought - a second-class citizen in a world run by the ruling Crosses...

Sephy is a Cross, daughter of one of the most powerful men in the country...

In their world, noughts and Crosses simply don't mix.  And as hostility turns to violence, can Callum and Sephy possibly find a way to be together?  The are determined to try.

And then the bomb explodes...

Noughts & Crosses Series:
Noughts & Crosses
An Eye for an Eye (Novella)
Knife Edge
Double Cross

Visit Malorie Blackman's website for more information

Callum and Sephy have been best friends for as long as they can remember.  They grew up playing together while Callum's Mum worked for Sephy's parents but after a falling out between the families they are now banned from spending time together.  They aren't going to let that stop their friendship but will the world get in the way?  Sephy is a dark skinned Cross and her father is one of the most powerful politicians in the country, she has had a privileged upbringing that couldn't be more different to the way Callum lives.  Callum is a pale skinned nought, considered a second classed citizen he has always suffered from discrimination from the Crosses.  In a world where Crosses and noughts should never mix can they find a way to be together?

I think this is probably the hardest review I've ever written, not because I didn't enjoy Noughts & Crosses but because I loved it so much.  It was without a doubt the most thought provoking and best book I read in 2010 and I don't think I can write a review that will do it justice.  I honestly think this is a book that should be read by everyone and I can't recommend it highly enough.

I found the story all the more powerful because it is so realistic, although Malorie Blackman has turned racism on it's head in the world she has created many of the injustices she describes have occurred in fairly recent history (and in some cases probably still occur today).  Seeing the world through Callum's eyes doesn't make for comfortable reading and there were times I wanted to scream with anger at the things he and his family go through.  Both Callum and Sephy were (and still are) so real to me that they feel more like friends than fictional characters.  Their story will capture you, make you laugh, frustrate you and tear your heart to pieces in equal measures.  I was literally heart broken at the end but at the same time felt the story was beautiful.

Noughts & Crosses is a powerful, emotional read that covers difficult topics like discrimination, prejudice, slavery, oppression and terrorism with a gritty realism that isn't afraid to take you to dark places.  At it's heart is a superbly written love story which contains strong themes of friendship and family.  Sephy and Callum both have distinctive and realistic voices that make it easy to get inside their heads and feel exactly what they are feeling.  You get to see first hand how good people can be forced to do terrible things when they are desperate enough.  As much as you may not agree with the decisions they make you can understand why they felt forced down what seemed like the only path available to them.

If you are only going to read one book in your lifetime make it this one - I guarantee it will leave a piece of itself in your heart and soul forever and you'll never feel the same again.

Source: Received from RHCB in exchange for an honest review

Other reviews of this book:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.


  1. Oh I absolutely adore the Noughts and Crosses series! I don't think I could love it anymore than I do. I'm glad you loved it too.

  2. This book blew me away, I really must get around to reading the rest of the series soon :o)



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