Knife Edge is the second book in Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses series taking place in an alternative universe, where people of color called “Crosses” are the dominant rulers, with “Noughts”, people of European origin, as a despised underclass. The story in the first book follows teenagers Sephy (a Cross) and Callum (a Nought) as their childhood friendship turns into a forbidden love with all the attendant difficulties that a racially divided world presents. In this second book Sephy is left alone, with her and Callum’s daughter, and with Callum’s brother, Jude, blaming her for the terrible losses his family has suffered.
I really loved the first book, which was so dramatic, gripping, emotional, shocking and tragic and with the beautiful love story against everything between Callum and Sephy. With Callum gone, this second book focuses on the parallel stories of Sephy and Jude instead. I never liked Jude, and with so much focus on him and his bitterness and hatred, this book unfortunately is much weaker and less addictive than the first one. At first, the story showed a more human side of Jude and I really hoped that his character would develop, but sadly not. He continued to be such a two-dimensional character, and his never-ending hatred for the Noughts just got so tiring and uninteresting about halfway into the book.
I also wasn’t so keen on the format of this one and the song lyrics and the newspaper clippings, that just slowed the story down. And it really didn’t need that, as it was slower in itself compared to the first book, with Sephy suffering from depression, and just behing too much inside her head mulling over whether she loves her baby or not.
But even though I wasn’t too fond of this book, it’s well written and I’m still invested in the series and its unique and thought-provoking story. So, I’ll give this book 2.5 stars rounding up to a 3 stars rating based on the overall way this series turns history on its head, and pinpoints racism and injustice.
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