Thursday, February 11, 2010

Noughts & Crosses

Sephy is a Cross - a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a Nought - a “colourless” member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood, but that’s as far as it can go. In their world, Noughts and Crosses simply don’t mix. Against a background of prejudice and distrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum - a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger. Can they possibly find a way to be together?

Have you ever wondered how life where black is rich and powerful while white is despised and miserable would look like?

Sephy Hadley is the daughter of an important and successful politician who is managing his way up toward the highest point of the parliament while his wife drinks away her loneliness. Sephy doesn't really realize the discrimination the Noughts endure and of how well she lives compared to them.

Callum McGregor is just another Nought who can only clench his fists every time a Cross looks down on him. He tries hard to create a path through the prejudices attributed because of his pale skin color and wishes to receive an education that will help him become someone. Now that he has succeeded in getting accepted in Sephy's college, he hopes his chance has come.

Spehy and Callum are friends, and as they both grow older and more mature, their love grows as well.

I read the book in french, and I think its cover is very interesting too, so here it is. ->

Malorie Blackman offers an intriguing and gripping novel presenting one of our world's prejudice in a most original and spun-around way. She tried, through her novel, to show how ridiculous this old-age discrimination game is, and that skin color doesn't arbitrate one's intelligence and talent. Some people might think that Malorie is trying to present black folk as the bad guys and the white ones as those worth sympathizing for, but that's not true. After reading Noughts and Crosses, readers will see how nothing is truly good or bad.

The story is told by two different point of views; Callum's and Sephy's, and adduced by strong feelings and emotions. Sephy's foolishness and ignorance is evident and so is Callum's strong desire to become someone respected. Their friendship and love for each other is nonetheless embodied in both of their narrations, and together they shows how easily children are ready to love despite prejudices.

The writing of this books is somewhat simplistic, minimizing the details and centering on the feelings and emotions mainly. This read is quick and fluid, the chapters are sometimes hurried, and the story doesn't bother turning right and left into unnecessary details. As a reader, I prefer very descriptive texts, but I think that Malorie's writing style might be fine for younger attention spams.

I simply loved this book. It was deliciously cruel and unfair, and yes, tragic. It doesn't need to be situated in a precise world to affect the reader and realize what consequences a human's actions can create. I strongly recommend it to young adults.

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Rating: 9,3/10

Read Knife Edge's review, the follow up to Noughts & Crosses.

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