Thursday, 11 July 2013

Noble Conflict - Malorie Blackman

I was first introduced to Malorie Blackman when I stumbled across Noughts and Crosses in a bookshop, really loved the first few pages and then fell in love with that series. And any British teenager in their late teens will remember the CBBC series of Pig-Heart Boy, an adaptation of one of her books!? I was both amazed and creeped out by it.
I actually met Malorie Blackman at my local library about 2 years ago with my friend which was like reliving my childhood - she was so lovely too. She mentioned at the time she was working on something a lot like Noughts and Crosses but a bit different which I knew would appeal to me when it was released. So when I first heard about NOBLE CONFLICT and then *dun, dun, dun* saw it on Netgalley, it was like I was 8 again.

Synopsis: Kaspar has grown up in a world founded on peace and harmony after a bitter and destructive war that destroyed much of the world. The rebels on the outside of the city still attempt to cause war and take back the land that they think is theirs. Kaspar is part of an elite fighting force called the Guardians who protect the city, its inhabitants and the High Council but without destructive or violent weapons. Soon after Kaspar joins, he meets a rebel face to face. But this rebel is a lovely girl called Rhea. From this moment, he is haunted by memories and visions that do not belong to him as he starts to realise the secrets that have been hidden about the rebels and what Kaspar is actually fighting for.

Review: With the amount of dystopians on the market, you would think another one - like NOBLE CONFLICT - would get boring. But in all honesty, this is one of the most original I've read.
Everyone would like a peaceful world where society was based on non-violent actions and this is what Blackman plays upon.

I completely think this book justifies why Malorie Blackman is Children's Laureate. I mean, some of the surprises I didn't see coming at all, some I did (mostly because she hints SO MUCH along the way plus I have weird 'read between the lines' English skills). There are so many twists and turns throughout the story that do keep the narrative moving mostly as well as interesting. There are some really thought provoking incidents and moments and I can see a lot of issues that can be translated to present day - much like in Noughts and Crosses.

The characters are well-built and react well off one another. The novel is written in third person which for some I can see they would not particularly connect with Kaspar then. However, I found this didn't hindrance anything and actually allows the reader to see the action from more than one point of views yet without confusion. Kaspar is a character that many may find annoying  - he has grown up thinking he knows the right thing but this is soon changed. For me, I found him engaging, strong, determined and someone who was just misled. Actually, he reminded me a lot of June from the Legend series by Marie Lu. There are some good secondary characters too - Voss, Mac, Rhea, Dillon. Even when bad things happen to them, despite the third person, I still felt emotion for them.

In spite of this, not every book is perfect. The thing that stood out for me was that this book was slow in pace and in all fairness, the real action was in the last quarter of the book. The first part was great with the superb world-building that is some of the best I've seen. Then there's a lull. A big incident happens. Rhea appears. And then, pow, it all slows down. I actually found some of the middle part quite hard to read because in all honesty, I got a little bored.
So reasons? Well, I have two. Number One - there are two main storylines or issues running throughout the story. The discovery of knowledge about the founding of the city, the High Council and the rebels and then running parallel is the strange problem of Rhea and the whole memory thing. About halfway through the discovery/lies thing comes to the foreground.
Then, because of reason Number Two, this book is written in third person which works for the majority of the book but in this bit in the middle, not so much. It is interesting and kind of essential to the plot but I just think it did let the book down a little bit. I don't know - maybe I just anticipated this book too much.

I did like this book, I assure you and it was a true Malorie Blackman novel. Despite some of my writing issues as well as the humour seeming quite forced at times, this novel (literally and metaphorically) explodes in the final chapters turning everything on its head and leaving the reader with this sense of both a closed ending with Kaspar's story ending far beyond the last page. This is certainly far from Noughts and Crosses (but can anything be better than those books?) but it's not far off.
It's just so great to see a British author finally on the young adult dystopian scene.

I give it a 4 out of 5

Author's Website: http://www.malorieblackman.co.uk/
Pages: 368
Publisher: Random House
Challenges: BBC

Related Reviews:
Legend - Marie Lu
The Declaration - Gemma Malley
The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

5 comments:

  1. Oh I've done a display at work of Malorie Blackman and I'm I will be reading Noble Conflict soon. I've heard very good things about her writing and plotlines and this one certainly has me interested. I have to admit though, I haven't read any of her books before so I can't wait. Lovely review Rebecca! :D

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    1. Ah, read it! Any of her books! She is a great writer, quite thought provoking too.

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  2. I WANT TO READ THIS BOOK SO MUCH! I've never seen the Pig-Heart Boy TV show, but have read the book and loved it. I love her Noughts and Crosses series too, it's so haunting and original. Hacker, Boys Don't Cry and Theif! are also amazing. I love dystopian but some are similar to the others, so would be great to read a unique one. Thanks for the great review, Rebecca! :)

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    1. Ah Zoe, I think you'll love this. I mean Malorie Blackman AND an original dystopian. Thank you :)

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  3. I absolutely love novels from Malorie Blackman. She is such a talented author who deserves so much more recognition. The Noughts and Crosses series is beyond phenomenal, and refreshingly original.

    It's so great to hear that her latest book did not disappoint, despite the slow pacing and lack of action at the start of the book.

    The characters sound brilliant and I'm glad to hear they are also well developed. I really want to meet this Kaspar!

    Thankyou so much for sharing this wonderful review with us, Rebecca! :D

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