Endgame by Malorie Blackman

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This is the last book of the Nought and Crosses series written by Malorie Blackman and I must apologise to all lovers of the series that this is the first book of the series I have read. Despite coming to the characters, alt-setting and storylines afresh in the ultimate book of the series, I have loved the journey into the intrigue of politics, the complex web of deception within the crime world mired by money and power grabs, and the family drama of life within a polarised society distinguishing Noughts as less than Crosses. And on top of those dramas there is romance, a kidnapping, murder, subterfuge, violence and lies. And the Prime Minister is twisted up in all of that. Knowing the backstory of each character may have helped enormously as I began the book, but it was not long before it was possible to understand the conflicting motivations of all the central characters in this political and crime conspiracy. This is a tour de force and an enjoyable dramatic adventure.

Written through the voice of multiple characters and with additional input via occasional reports and newspaper articles, there is plenty of opportunity to get inside the character’s heads and the permutations of this twisted plot revolving around the kidnapping of two teens and the murder of a crime lynchpin. For the uninitiated this may create some confusion, but it is a powerful narrative tool in this complex story at the end of a long series of books. Blackman manages to create a good stand-alone book and a powerful end to a saga. One of the communicating characters does even manage to speak in first person of their own death – a sometimes strange narrative ‘voice’ while dying. Overall, this is a mature crime and political adventure within the world of discrimination and bigotry of the Noughts and Crosses that is recognisable from our own world, even though it is not our world.  Recommended for readers aged 16+ who enjoy crime drama.

Themes: Political corruption, Crime, Discrimination, Kidnapping, Murder.

Carolyn Hull