If you’re a fan of dystopian fiction you’ve probably read most of the classics. Nineteen Eighty Four is probably one of the most well known, Brave New World is another and it’s also likely if you’re a fan of the genre you’ve also read Farehnight 451 or The Giver.
Now it used to be that dystopian fiction was primarily made for adult readers however increasingly this genre has been filled with examples of fiction designed for young adults (The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner and Insurgent series are probably the most popular examples)
Now although I’ve read many of the classic dystopian fiction novels there hasn’t been a series of books in the genre which interested me enough to pick up…until I heard about the Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman.
This is why the book I’m reviewing today (and the second book in the Noughts and Crosses series is)…
Knife Edge (33)
by Malorie Blackman
All the books in the Noughts and Crosses series are set in an alternative reality.
A reality where the positions of power, authority and influence are held by black people (the Crosses) and where white people (the noughts) suffer from widespread and severe institutional racism, scapegoating and are subject to laws not dissimilar to the highly discriminatory Jim Crow laws which were prevalent in certain parts of the USA until the mid 60’s.
It’s an interesting literary tool to use and in both the first and second of Malorie Blackmans books it’s used to powerful effect in a number of ways.
Now the first book in the series (Noughts and Crosses) was about love, and betrayal all whilst making interesting points about race, the media, and the power of a politics of fear as well as the futility of revenge.
The second book is a lot darker than that.
You see whilst Noughts and Crosses had a lot in common with Romeo and Juliet, a tragic love story with ignorance and misunderstanding at it’s core I was Knife Edge is more of a story of what happens when this ignorance and misunderstanding manifests into hate.
The novel does have hopeful elements but they all seem to turn sour rather tragically and suddenly.
You might have noticed I’m trying not to give much of the plot away for one good reason…
You should find some time to start to read the noughts and crosses series of books.
You see whilst I found some of the writing to be overly simplistic and the motivations and language of particular characters to be overly simplistic (which is understandable given the target audience) the noughts and crosses books makes some particularly pertinent points about the nature of race and the lessons we should consider when thinking about why and how we judge certain individuals.
I’ll be picking up the third Novel in the series soon…and Ill make sure you receive a review.
However in the meantime, and especially if you enjoy dystopian stories be sure to pick up a copy of the noughts and crosses series of books…