Sunday, 23 June 2013

Noble Conflict by Malorie Blackman

Age Group: YA
Genre: Dystopian/ Science Fiction
Pub date: 1st June 2013
Publisher: Random House Children

I desperately wanted to love this book because I love Malorie Blackman. I even went and met her, which was amazing and if you want to hear my feelings on the event, click here. Firstly, thank you Random House and NetGalley for the copy! I was initially disappointed with Noble Conflict, but I was glad that I kept on going, because the last half of the book was amazing.

Noble Conflict is a dystopian novel, set in the future where the Alliance is battling the Crusaders. The story follows Kasper, who is a Guardian (a police-force) as he slowly uncovers the truth about his world. I don’t know if it was because I’ve read too much dystopian fiction, but I found the first half of the novel pretty predictable. However, all was not as I had thought, and soon the twists started to kick in. Blackman has done what she does best, and created a well-structured science-fiction world, and uncovering the truth behind it was really exciting.

The writing style also took some getting used to. It was written in third person, but in the style of a teenage boy. Normally I love realistic teenager talk, but initially I found something clunky about the writing, and despite it all I found Kasper quite difficult to relate too, but he grew on me as it went on. As for the other characters, I liked Mac and Rhea, but I found most of the other Guardians irritating. I also didn’t understand why they every character talked with a gung-ho attitude, from teenagers to Voss, their commander. However, one stylistic part of the book I loved was the excerpts from “books” in that world. I thought it was a nice touch, and really helped to illustrate her themes.

And that’s one place Blackman really shines: her themes and story. Once I realised that I had been wrong about the predictability, I really started to enjoy my moments. What I love was that Blackman wasn’t afraid to do something drastic with the story. I was continuously shocked through the book, and I think it really hits home on how much do we know about the social system that we feel so protected by? Other subtler themes were creeping in too: the use of technology, the reliability of facts, death, and love.

Overall, I think Noble Conflict is a pretty decent YA novel. There’s plenty of thought-provoking content, and an interesting story within it. I would say it’s a bit like a 1984 for a younger audience. Do I think it’s to the standard of her previous work? Probably not. But don’t let that stop you reading it.

Sum It Up: A good dystopian, with brilliant ideas and themes, but if you are new to Malorie Blackman, I recommend starting with another one of her books.

Rating: 7/10

*I received this copy from Random House via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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