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review 2016-09-25 12:28
Chasing the Stars - Malorie Blackman

I was conflicted about whether to read this book at first. Is this Malorie Blackman's newest book? I mean, it was on display under new books in the library and it was even in hardback. Plus, it was sci-fi and I remember what her last sci-fi book was like.


So I was presently surprised when I started enjoying it a lot. The characters were great, I really enjoyed the setting (set aboard a spacecraft trying to survive to get some fugitives to safety) and for once, the plot was actually decent.


You know what wasn't? The romance. Insta-romance. 


Our two main characters, Vee and Nathan, literally fall in love with each other at first sight. Despite not knowing a thing about each other, immediately pulse rate going up at first contact, temperature going up, all that shit.


Oh boy, the love-making scenes in this book are ridiculous. There's SO MANY of them. Never mind that Vee decides to kiss Nathan full on the mouth in front of his friends just to prove a point to them. Oh, I'm sure it wasn't for any romantic reason whatsoever.


Before the book gets halfway they're both making out in the navigation room. Like getting all sweaty, covering each other with kisses, steamy stuff.


Or at least, as steamy as you can get for a YA book. It does become sex. No, seriously, they start screwing all the time. It isn't vivid or explicit but bloody hell. You know, I started skimming the love scenes because there were SO MANY. There were like several chapters devoted to this. I mean why can't these characters just be friends?


Sure, Vee has spent 3 years with no human contact at all. They're like, 18 or 19 years old maybe even though they start getting butterflies in their tummy just by looking at each other and...well, this is more like how 15 or 16-year olds act (no offence to anyone of that age group). Aside from all the constant sex.


Now, the shitty romance aside, I was a bit bored until maybe just after halfway. Because people start dying and there's a murderer aboard the ship and that starts getting exciting.


And then more love triangles (yes, it's Malorie Blackman, what did you expect?), more people dying, more drama, and it does get pretty good. I was actually pretty hooked onto it in the last part and it ended rather satisfactorily.


There were quite a few decent plot twists. I felt it was mediocre at first but after some unnecessarily frequent sex scenes, all of which I skipped in disgust, the plot picked up again and it kept me reading. So I'll give it 4.5 stars for that.



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review 2016-09-03 19:26
World Book Night pick 2013
Noughts and Crosses - Malorie Blackman
Selected on the list for World Book Night 2013, I picked up the e-edition, complete with alternative ending, which Blackman wrote for the occasion. The story centres on teenagers Callum and Sephie, growing up in a society split along racial faultlines and the experiences of their respective families. It is a romantic/tragic tale of young love stifled by societal tensions, which the author explores sensitively. The first in a series of novels, the plotline was developed well and with pace. A very enjoyable read.


Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1521148423
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review 2016-06-05 16:05
Noughts and Crosses - Malorie Blackman

Well, I've finally gotten round to reading this. I've heard a lot of good things about it, but having finished this it just confirms to me that Malorie Blackman is a superb writer who is good at everything except plots.

The concept of a world with racism REVERSED - as in, black people being superior, white people being inferior - is really good. I really loved that and how this author handled that. Everything there was spot-on.

However, every single chapter was very, very painful and difficult to read. To the point that it actually wasn't enjoyable for me at all. To make matters worse, the characters actually tried to take actions which would make it even WORSE! I almost threw the book down severla times, I was just thinking why on earth would they act that way? Why??

Why did Selphy think it would be a good idea to invite Callum to her birthday party? Why did she think it would be a good idea, holy shit, to show her mum that Callum was under her bed and that they'd been sleeping together? Seriously?! She's a smart girl, how could she possibly be so stupid? I'm just glad she didn't do either of those two things!

To be honest, the entire relationship between Callum and Selphy was like something out of Romeo and Juliet. There's even a recurring scene where he climbs into her back garden! Frequently! They weren't exactly original characters, either.

Anyway, fortunately the book picked up after halfway with the bombings and the murder trial. However, the outcome was EXACTLY like out of To Kill A Mockingbird and even the character death is in exactly the same fashion. Seriously. I just started rolling my eyes at it.

There's another character death earlier on. The character says, "I'm just going outside for a walk", and at that point I said out loud "So she's going to kill herself or something?" Five minutes later I'm thinking....wow, I was only joking about that. Like it officially crossed the line into parody.

It was just so predictable in all these different plotlines. I expected both characters to kill themselves in a Romeo and Juliet setting, just like it ends. It isn't quite like that though, so I guess it isn't completely copied.

Throughout the book I was constantly hoping that these two characters would split up and stop making the reading experience worse. Everytime they kept trying to get closer to each other...even though it was such a bad idea. And the ending felt a bit abrupt and then the book just ends there, which is really misleading. Like it doesn't change anything?

I really liked Selphy in the beginning, but she does so many stupid decisions throughout the book that by the end I'm just wondering what on earth she was thinking. It's like "Oh, I know I'm forbidden to even see Callum or associate with him, but he climbed over the wall and got into my bedroom and we had sex and now we fell asleep and it's midday now and my mum is right outside but IT WOULD BE TOTALLY A GOOD IDEA TO SHOW CALLUM TO HER" like oh my god what the hell

I cannot see myself reading this book again. I can vaguely recommend it because of the setting and the writing itself is great, with a lot of parallels between racism in the real world. I can commend it for that, but everything else?

I didn't think there could be a next book. Whatever it is, I'm not going to read it. I think after getting through this (I skimmed the last few bits because the author decided to flesh out as much pain and angst as possible, even though there was absolutely no relief from this at any time), I might read Malorie Blackman's Boys Don't Cry. But any of her other novels, I don't expect too much from.

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review 2016-05-28 12:48
Dead Gorgeous - Malorie Blackman

Before I say anything, it should be stated that one of the main characters has an eating disorder and this is mentioned in detail. There's no warning of it, no indication of it (especially considering that the rest of the book isn't anywhere near as serious), so avoid if that makes you icky. I know some people will avoid that.

Somehow, I think that's the only reason why this book was in the teenager section at all. The rest of the book feels a bit meh. Even though Malorie Blackman wrote it. I mean, this is the third book I've read by her and although she is good at writing descriptions and feelings...I'm feeling now that her plots leave much to be desired.

The main characters are called Nova and Rainbow. Ooh, how flashy. Their mum and dad are written as pretty quirky and likeable when they are first introduced, but after that they don't seem to do much. They have these two twin brothers called Jude and Jake who do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the story.

Yes, there's a character who's a ghost. And a love triangle with him. Of course. There's another guy who's an asshole but who...somehow becomes heroic at the end...even though he's proved constantly that he's not very pleasant. I don't know what happened to him, to be honest. It doesn't say.

There's these two old women in the book who walk around in pairs and say cryptic stuff, implying that they know about the ghost, but it's never ever explained and it never impacts on the book. I really don't know what the point of them is.

The ghost's backstory is actually written to be quite serious, I mean there's something that's written like a dysfunctional family and the close relationship with his brother before his death. But I mean the rest of the book is so childish and juvenile - yes, I know this is a children's author - but mixing up all these serious issues just throws everything off-guard.

I started liking the book about halfway through since we had a few plot twists, but then it ended in a generic fashion and most of the characters acted and talked in the same way. I didn't really enjoy it at all.

I'll be reading Noughts and Crosses next week, because I've heard that that's the book Malorie Blackman is known for and I REALLY hope it's a lot better than her other books. I haven't read a single one of her other books which is actually enjoyable so far.

Also, I don't know why the book is called Dead Gorgeous. It doesn't revolve around the guy being gorgeous. Dead, maybe, but the title implies it's some supernatural romance and it isn't. It implies it's like a slasher horror book or something which is pretty misleading.

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review 2016-05-22 16:47
The Stuff of Nightmares - Malorie Blackman

This book was alright, I guess. It was very well-written, but it's not horror. It wasn't even scary. Maybe dark and disturbing in places, but not scary. Goosebumps is scarier than this book.

It was more like reading A Compiliation of Very Short Chapters About People's Worst Fears whereas the main plot was a little poor in my opinion. You get "Nightmare" chapters about all these characters in the book (none of whom we know beforehand, so it's difficult to care about them), aout the nightmare they have in the train about their worst fear.

The first of these chapters was really good. It was genuinely creepy. The second of these chapters...was about their schoolteacher being tricked into marrying the Devil. Yes. Satan. Seriously. Are you kidding me? Did Malorie Blackman REALLY write this?

Joe's nightmare actually confused me. I couldn't tell why he'd killed someone (if he had), or why he thought his arms had been chopped off, or anything like that...was it a mental disorder? I honestly couldn't tell. How am I supposed to find it scary if I don't know what the chapter's talking about?

Oh, the chapter about the two evil twins who kill people was pretty cool. It was one of the better chapters.

All in all, I have mixed feelings about this book. It was very well-written, certainly, but I didn't care about any of the characters, I got sick and tired of the Nightmare chapters because I just wanted to get back to the main plot. The main reason I wanted to keep reading was not because it was good, but because I wanted someone to tell me what the hell was going on.

Either way, I'm sure there should have been a "fantasy/supernatural" genre attached to this. The Grim Reaper is in the train? His dad is a ghost? What?? Can we explain SOMETHING? Please? Really, there has to be another of her books that I like better than this.

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