Sunday 18 March 2012

Book Review - Noughts & Crosses series (1-3)

Titles: Noughts & Crosses, Knife Edge, Checkmate
Author: Malorie Blackman
Series: Noughts & Crosses (books 1-3)

This isn't a proper review, more of a re-read/update.

I read this series years ago and loved it, I promote them to everyone and think they are incredible. I was so excited when I heard a fourth book was coming out, I bought it straight away but even now I still haven't read it. I wanted to re-read these 3 first but I never got round to them.

Then a couple of weeks ago I discovered Spoken Word CD's, I always knew they were there, I've given enough out at the library! but I never wanted to try one, i was convinced that it wouldn't do the story justice or the reader wouldn't sound right to me, would emphasize the wrong words etc, but I decided to give it a go. basically I wanted to re-read the books but I have so many review books and other books I want to read that are new that I couldn't justify making time for a re-read, so since I sit listening to music in the evenings whilst I blog and Facebook etc, I thought I might as well listen to a book whilst I did all that stuff instead, this means I can get through more books and stay up to date with everything else I need to do at the same time. I  thought this would be a good series to start with, I know the books reasonably well but it's been years since I read them so I wasn't expecting too much.

When I started the first one (read by Nina Sosanya, John Hasler and Joan Walker) I was impressed, the voice actors were incredible, really good and believable. And I found myself once more in love with the story, I actually finished it really quickly, and hearing the words being spoken between Callum and Sephy really brought it to life. I cried when I read the books all those years ago and I did again listening to it, maybe even more (the final chapters wrench my heart everytime!).
I went from putting a CD on whilst busy doing my blog etc, to sitting and trying to find something to 'do' whilst listening to the CD, I found it very hard to stop. So it didn't go quite to plan as I spent longer playing games etc online so I could listen longer instead of reading one of my review books. I needed to start trying to restrain myself.

I moved immediately onto Knife Edge (same voice actors), now safe in the knowledge that I would enjoy it and I wasn't disappointed, I was immediately swept back into Sephy's story, each word weaving such wonderful, sorrowful and magical imagery and again I found it very hard to stop after just one disc, it's the magnificient story that hooks you in. A heart-wrenching story that will have you laughing and crying and begging for more. I would love to meet Malorie Blackman and tell her what a genius she is, the voice actors did an incredible job bringing it to life but it's Blackman's wonderful mastery that created the words for them to speak in the first place.

I then moved onto Checkmate, knowing I was almost through the series already and not wanting it to end. I was actually out quite a lot over the last week and I had less time at home to get on my computer and when I did I was in a hurry so I didn't get to listen to much of it, and I felt myself thinking about it and wanting to listen to more.
The third part was just as good as the first two, this time with added voice actors (Nicole Davis & Adjoa Andoh) joining the cast. This book of course has more points of view therefore needing the extra actors.
This book in some ways is the most exciting, everything is kicking off and I was literally holding my breath during parts of it. I did remember bits of it, but it was mostly fresh and just as gripping.
I finished the CD's in perfect time, I have just finished my current physical paperback book so I can go straight onto 'Double Crossed' and I cannot wait!
I am thinking though that I will try and get the spoken word too in a few months as I really loved how the books came to life, hearing the characters and the expression in their voices. I'm not convinced every spoken word book I listen to will be of the same quality as Blackman's books as I think a big part of it is her storytelling style but I am going to keep going with them.

So that's it really,  a bit of a rambly post, basically me just shouting about how much I admire Malorie Blackman, but it had to be done. And if you haven't read her books, why not? you really should, and if you have a chance to listen to them too I encourage that too!

Right, I'm off to read Double Crossed, see you later!

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