Reviews

Double Cross, by Malorie Blackman

thebooksareeverywhere's review against another edition

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4.0

https://thebooksareeverywhere.com/2020/09/20/review-double-cross-4-by-malorie-blackman/

I have such mixed feelings about this book. I see this book as the last in the series, purely because it was the last for so long, and Crossfire is set so long after the original four.

I really enjoyed the plot of this book so much. It was probably the most fast-paced book in the series and I flew through it quicker than any of the others. Especially the last 100 pages, they were so amazingly full of action that I didn’t want to put the book down.

That was all it took – a shower of rain, the slam of a door, the thrust of a knife or a gunshot –

But – and it’s a big but – it wasn’t enough. I really enjoyed the plot, the action and adventure. It was a compulsive and compelling read. But it almost left no room for anything else. No room for emotion, connection, family, friendship. I didn’t really feel like I knew Tobey before this book, and I don’t feel like I know him afterward, either. I did feel for them as a couple, and I won’t lie, I did have tears in my eyes at the end of the book.

I just wish I had more time to connect to the characters, to feel more for them so that when the plot climaxed, I would connect to how it affected everybody around Tobey, himself included.

and just like that, a person could be gone with nothing but the memories of others to show that they’d ever existed.

Unfortunately, it just didn’t add enough to the original story for me at all, and the balance of emotional connection and plot was not right. I wanted a par of both of them, and even though the action and plot were exceptional, it didn’t win me over, just made the book very readable!

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

m3l89's review against another edition

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3.0

Out of the first 4 Noughts and Crosses books, this is the one I liked least. It had a completely different feel to the first three; it wasn’t as political or emotional or thought provoking. This was more like a gangster novel set in the Noughts and Crosses universe; it could have been fan fiction or written by someone else altogether. In comparison with the rest of the series, this was hugely disappointing.

ruby1993's review against another edition

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5.0

I remember when I was walking around Bristol and I saw the advertisement for this new book, and I got so excited! I'd been hoping the series would get another book soon, since finishing the previous one.
Again, I was not disappointed!

milffiction's review against another edition

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4.0

tobias durbridge you bloody genius, his brain literally is outrageous for a seventeen year old and i loved his fearless sort of monotone nonchalant character that was conveyed through the books. i liked him when he wasn't being so insufferable in regards to callie and rebecca, he definitely needs to learn how to maintain good connections with the women in his life without the overthinking and self-sabotage. his story had me so hooked, despite people deeming it unnecessary. although it doesn't add a lot to the series, i think it's super interesting in general to see his perspective and to see the experiences of someone outside the mcgregor and hadley family. malorie blackman was incredible for creating this, another otherworldly addition to this series is hardly anything to complain about!

whatbritreads's review against another edition

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3.0

I’m just struggling to see how we went from Noughts and Crosses to this book - they kind of feel like three very separate books connected loosely by the original world. It’s so disjointed and jumpy and the actual full outline for the series makes next to no sense. It’s such a shame because the original premise so was stellar, I think as a standalone Noughts and Crosses with a bit more work could’ve been amazing.

This book was better than Checkmate, don’t get me wrong, but it was still so far from realistic it killed me. I know it’s a dystopian world but the whole point of it was to border on realism, the events that take place here are so unrealistic. To give it credit, it did keep me entertained and the pacing was good and there were some scenes where I was kept in genuine suspense, but overall just poor. Things thrown in for the shock factor, a happy ending where there shouldn’t have been one, characters doing things that I just couldn’t fathom their motive for. Just a mess really. And for such a chaotic world and storyline, I hate that it keeps having a happily ever after.

It tales on tough topics like knife crime, drug addiction etc. which I think is important but the execution was terrible. Mild spoiler here but the drug addiction plotline was so poorly done and barely touched on, I didn’t feel any emotion at all it felt so shallow. I also don’t believe a teenage boy could’ve outsmarted several gangs but okay cool I guess he did.

The characters had no distinct personalities at all, Sephy and Meggie in particular just turned indistinguishable, Callie is just Sephy 2.0 and Tobey is just another Callum. It’s so disappointing and completely severs any connection I could’ve had with them. The way they talked to each other was bizarre still, for example Callies grandmother referring to Callies uncle as ‘my son’ instead of ‘your uncle’ and everyone constantly calling either other by their full name? Just felt so off to me.

Sorry for the negativity, I’m just ultimately so let down by this series. It’s mediocre where I was expecting mindblowing from the premise. I’m so sad it veered off the original direction it was going in and rushed to a haphazard conclusion.

ahllium's review against another edition

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3.0

it was a fine read, but i could have gone without it ig

monicakessler's review against another edition

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4.0

Double Cross, or as I like to call it, Tobey's Very Mad, Bad, Busy and Dangerous Summer....

Malorie Blackman is once again showing that time hones her craft. Not only does this book show further use of good structuring, but it also makes use of literary devices in a more coherent way. While the structuring of Checkmate and its juxtaposing timelines may have been stronger than that of Double Cross, this book at least is pacier than its predecessor, harking back to the first book in the series. Although not always “fast”, due to the internal monologues I've come to expect in the past few books in the series, it still makes it a quicker read than the previous two books, and the last section is almost galloping. The pacing isn't the only similarity with Noughts and Crosses though; reading this book, which is mostly about Tobey, felt like reading Callum 2.0. Obviously, there are definitely meant to be parallels, and I'm not altogether complaining because I like both characters, but it does make some things feel like a repeat – although possibly done better this time round(!).

The thing is that I feel this book has to be taken separately from the original trilogy – it stands on its own in a way. You might argue otherwise but this book feels the most like the “nought vs cross” mentality and theme is a background issue and just a component of the worldbuilding compared to the general “gangland drama” that the story explores. Like, all of Tobey's chapter headings have two crosses (indicating the double cross) rather than the nought that I'd come to expect from reading the previous books (because previously all perspectives had had the symbol related to their racial identity as their chapter headings). I think that's a sign of how it is now woven into the background rather than the foreground for this story. Ultimately it feels like a standalone YA novel about a boy getting sucked into gangland drama and what he has to do about it. Which isn't usually the type of book I'd go for, but it felt relatively well done here, particularly in the final stages of the book.

One issue I had is to do with character. First of all, several characters have distinct changes in personality compared to previous books. The one that stuck out like a sore thumb was Lucas Cheshire, who is now doing things that he would have decked another person for in the previous book. It's weird because Blackman could have apportioned those types of incidents to someone like Amyas, who doesn't even get a mention in this book. It just felt like a cop-out way to end the love triangle situation that was in the previous book. Other changes include Sephy, Callie Rose, and Tobey himself. I know there's meant to have been some “growing up” that's happened, but the previous book only ended, what, a couple of months before the start of this book?! It is just about within the realms of possibility but I would have preferred more of a journey for these characters to get there. Unfortunately it just feels like Malorie Blackman “started afresh” with these characters for this book, to varying extents.

Tobey's character now just seems like a “Kaz Brekker minus the invincibility” type which would be great, but for knowing how he was in the previous book. I had to adapt to his character to be able to enjoy what was going on. At least it wasn't all “tell not show” in terms of his intelligence; I was glad of several scenes which showed him piecing things together before others in a believable way. Sadly, in some places this was let down by unrealistic scenes, or choices that Tobey made being really stupid, even the ones that we were meant to think were smart.

Ultimately I feel like concluding that I'd prefer this book as a standalone... except that the context does add to it, so that argument falls down as well. Oh well, I think I'll just have to conclude that I did end up really enjoying it despite having my doubts at the beginning! Still not as special as the one that started it though.

4.25* I think I preferred it more than Checkmate (in spite of Checkmate being more relevant to the series overall) but I'm not 100% sure on that. Might just be recency bias.

marianguish's review against another edition

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adventurous dark tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

3.5

zoeg97's review against another edition

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challenging dark sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

house_of_hastings's review against another edition

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3.0

3.5 ☆