Tag Archives: Malorie Blackman

Review of ‘Crossfire’ by Malorie Blackman

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the ARC of this book.

I loved the first few books in the Noughts and Crosses series, especially the first. However, after reading this, I wish that Malorie Blackman had stopped after the initial trilogy. I was really disappointed.

I did not realise when I started reading this book that it was part of a new series rather than a standalone book, if I had known, I may have paused before reading this. It does the most frustrating thing that books in a series can do; it builds up the background, the plot and the characters slowly and just as you are beginning to get interested in the characters and the plot feels like it has actually got started, it just stops with a ‘to be concluded’. It’s like reading half a book and then just stopping. There is no conclusion, no satisfaction.

I don’t mind reading a book in a series if at the end of a book there are a few loose ends for future books to deal with but this book simply stops, there is no resolution to any of the plot strands. It feels like one book has been divided in two just to sell more books and make more money.

In addition to the ending, I didn’t feel like the rest of the book lived up to Blackman’s previous books in this series. I found it hard to care about characters I had previously liked such as Sephy and Callie and I really didn’t care for the new young characters like Troy and Libby. I’ve seen lots of reviews describing this book as a searing indictment of today’s society and the current political situation in Britain and America, but I just didn’t see that. It felt muddled, all the characters are really flawed and I couldn’t really tell what point the book was trying to make. Maybe if I’d got to read the second half of the story, it would have been clearer, but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see. I think the swapping of the races so that black people are the dominant race, which worked so effectively in the earlier books adds nothing to this book, and actually serves to confuse who we should be rooting for.

If you are planning to read this, I’d probably wait until the next book comes out to avoid the frustration of the ending.

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Review of ‘Love Hurts’

Love Hurts coverThanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House for the ARC of this book.

‘Love Hurts’ is an anthology of mostly extracts from young adult novels with a few original short stories by YA authors all based loosely on the theme of love. Authors include Malorie Blackman, Patrick Ness and David Levithan.

I’m quite surprised that this book is being sold as a full price book. I would expect it to be given away as a free sampler or sold for a token price as it is basically just a shopfront for promoting existing YA novels. It’s aim is to get you to buy more books by these authors.

I’m not really into anthologies. I find I either love the story and I am frustrated that I can’t read the full book or I’m unengaged and want to skip to the next extract. There were also quite a few extracts from good books which I have already read such as ‘Noughts and Crosses’, ‘Trouble’ and ‘The Northern Lights’, which I skipped over.

There were two extracts that I genuinely enjoyed and which had the desired effect of making me intrigued enough to consider buying the full novel: ‘You Against Me’ by Jenny Downham about a love affair between the sister of an alleged rapist and the brother of his victim; and ‘Forbidden’ by Tabitha Suzuma about an incestuous relationship between a brother and sister. I thought these were unusual premises for books and the extracts seemed well written and piqued my interest.

I think if you are going to buy a YA book, you’d be better off picking one of the featured books and buying and reading that rather than spending money on this book, as I didn’t really get much out of it. However, the cover is beautiful.

Countdown to Hay

Hay bookcaseIt’s just over a week until the Hay Festival starts and I’m so excited!

It’s the most wonderful literary festival located in a small town in Wales which is surrounded by rolling green hills and where every other shop is a book shop. Plus, there is never any shortage of fascinating authors to listen to. I always come away with piles of signed books I’ll probably never get around to reading!

Hay sign

We go every year and in the past we’ve had the joy of seeing and meeting some amazing authors including:

Malorie Blackman
Malorie Blackman
  • Malorie Blackman – she is absolutely the loveliest person you will ever meet and so inspiring.
  • Patrick Ness – also really lovely person, he was really chuffed to sign a ‘well read book’.
  • John Irving – one of my absolute favourite authors.
  • Sebastian Faulks – amazing speaker with no notes whatsoever!
  • Cassandra Clare – really interesting on the subject of turning her books into a movie.
  • Simon Mayo – fantastic talking to children!
  • Mark Haddon – very different.
  • David Mitchell
  • Audrey Niffenegger
  • Lionel Shriver
  • David Peace

Plus some great comedians and cultural figures like Tim Minchin, Mark Watson, Michael Vaughan and Rob Lowe.

I love that these brilliant and intelligent people make the effort to come to little old Hay-on-Wye in the middle of nowhere to talk to book lovers from rural areas!

Hay entranceThis year I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Stephen Fry talking about Shakespeare; Benedict Cumberbatch reading letters; Cassandra Clare signing copies of the last in the Mortal Instruments series before it goes on sale; and Ian McEwan and Joshua Ferris talking about their latest books. Can’t wait!

I’ll be sure to blog and let you know what exciting things we see!