Hope you’re all doing well and are trying to remain positive despite everything that has been going on the past couple of months. I was looking through my drafts and found a review of Crossfire from a while ago that I hadn’t yet published. I thought that since the TV show has just been released, now would be the perfect time to finally share my review of the latest book in the series.
Years have passed since the love between Sephy – a Cross – and Callum – a Nought – destroyed their world and changed their families and society forever.
Society appears to be very different now. For the first time ever, a Nought Prime Minister – Tobey Durbridge – is in power. Race and class don’t divide people anymore. But things are never really that easy.
Because Tobey’s just been framed for murder, and the only way to free himself is to turn to his oldest friend – Callie-Rose.
Their families divisions run deep, and when two young people are kidnapped, their lives and everything they’ve fought for are put in the firing line.
And when you’re playing a game as dangerous as this one, it won’t be long before someone gets caught in the crossfire…
As a fan of Malorie Blackman’s brilliant series Noughts & Crosses, I was overjoyed when I found out that she was going to release a fifth book this year. Malorie Blackman was inspired by the current political events occurring in the UK and USA (namely Brexit and theUS presidential election of 2016) to write a fifth instalment in her hugely popular Noughts & Crosses series, and it arrived just in time for the TV adaptation, which is available on BBC iPlayer.
Crossfire is set 10 years after Double Cross and just over 30 years after Noughts & Crosses. Life is very different for the two communities and has seemingly improved, although prejudice and racism are still prevalent in society. Malorie Blackman throws us back into the lives of familiar characters Callie, Tobey and Sephy, along with new faces Libby and Troy, who are the youngest generation of protagonists. While Libby and Troy have been imprisoned by someone with an unknown identity, Callie has been asked to defend her childhood sweetheart Tobey after he is accused of murdering Dan Jeavons, a member of the extremist group Nought Forever. Callie is forced to put her personal feelings towards Tobey aside and decide if her really did murder Dan or if he is being framed.
As with the previous four books in the Noughts & Crosses series, the narrative in Crossfire shifts between a number of characters. This time, the chapters are split between Libby, Troy, Callie and Tobey, and are grouped into different sections that switch from the past (“Then”) to the present (“Now”). The past chapters focus on Callie and Tobey’s childhood, Libby and Troy’s school election, and Libby’s attempts to find out the identity of her father; the present chapters centre around the kidnapping and upcoming trial.
It’s been years since I read the other Noughts & Crosses books, so I couldn’t remember everything that had happened previously in the series. I had to keep referring to the family tree at the beginning of the book to remind myself of the relations between the characters and who was a Nought and who was a Cross. Nevertheless, I quickly got into the story and enjoyed seeing how the characters have developed over the course of the books. However, I was a little disappointed with the cliffhanger. We don’t find out the outcome of the murder trial or if Troy and Libby manage to escape from the captors. I assume there will be a sixth book to tie up these loose ends as it wouldn’t make sense to just leave the series like that.
Malorie Blackman has once again created a gripping and thought-provoking novel that tackles a range of relevant issues, such as racism, prejudice and politics. Her writing is fantastic and there is plenty of action to keep the reader hooked from start to finish. Crossfire may be over 400 pages, but the chapters are short and engaging so I was able to read it in a couple of days.
Despite being marketed as a children’s book, older readers are sure to enjoy Crossfire too, as well as the other Noughts & Crosses books. I’d recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Malorie Blackman or books that cover racism, like The Hate U Give and To Kill a Mockingbird, as well as novels about love-hate relationships (e.g. Perfect Chemistry and The Hating Game).
Have you read Crossfire or any of the other books in the Noughts & Crosses series? If you haven’t, I’d highly recommend them! And if you’re looking for something to watch while you’re self-isolating, be sure to check out the Noughts + Crosses TV show – it’s quite different to the book, but still enjoyable.