oracne - Victoria Janssen (oracne) wrote,
oracne - Victoria Janssen
oracne

NAUGHTS AND CROSSES, Blackman

Naughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman is billed on the front cover as a "thriller," but I confess I wasn't very thrilled; in fact, it felt predictable to me. Also, I wasn't in the mood to be depressed by a book.

The concept is a near-future study of racism, with black people ruling and white people oppressed, in a way that seems to borrow both from South African apartheid and the Irish Republican Army. As a genre reader, it really bugged me there was no convincing explanation for this situation, even though "reasons why" weren't the point of the book. There were some good things about it; it wasn't as preachy as it might have been, and there were no easy answers; in fact, the ending is a mixture of downer and triumph, but the the triumph, in that world, might well have turned into disaster if the book had gone on about ten more pages. It just didn't grab me.

The main plot thread follows star-crossed lovers, and I couldn't get into them. They felt too cookie-cutter to me; maybe I was resenting that they weren't just characters, they were symbols, and I couldn't see past that. Also, it bugged me that, as so often in dystopic books, the oppressor (represented by the heroine's dad) clearly showed tv-evil, such as slapping his wife, and the oppressed (represented by hero's parents) have loving relationships.

If anyone else has read this, I'd love to know what you thought.
Tags: books, race matters, sf/f, ya
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