Knife Edge – Malorie Blackman

***Knife Edge is the second in the Noughts and Crosses series. Please note that this review will contain  unavoidable spoilers for Noughts and Crosses, the first book. ***

“‘Oh come on, Jude. My feet are killing me,’ Morgan moaned.
‘Tough!’ I said from one of the two single beds in our hotel room. ‘And keep watching out the window. We don’t want any surprises.’
‘I’ve been watching the traffic for the last three hours.’
‘And you’ve got an hour to go, shut up complaining.’ I ordered. He was getting on my nerves and no mistake.”

Jude and Morgan have been in hiding since the kidnapping of Sephy Hadley, the kidnapping that Jude’s brother, Callum, was hung for. Sephy is living with Jude’s mother after having given birth to Callum’s baby. Sephy is trying to build her life up but being a Cross in a Nought neighbourhood is hard and she just wants to shy away from everything. Jude is on edge, he is angry and upset for the lose his family has suffered and he will get revenge on those he holds responsible, including Sephy. 

So Knife Edge, the second in the Noughts and Crosses series, was just like its predecessor – utterly fantastic. We are thrown right in just a few months after the end of Noughts and Crosses and the lives of the characters have changed completely just in that short space of time.
The story is again told in split perspective but unlike the first book it isn’t just two characters perspectives. Sephy is the main one with Jude coming in a close second but in Knife Edge you also get Callum and Jude’s mum, Meggie, and Jasmine, Sephy’s mum as some of the points of view. I really loved the way the book was split up into sections named after the rainbow because Sephy thinks of Callie Rose – her and Callum’s daughter – as her Rainbow Child. I especially loved the words listed at the beginning of each section which were associated with the colours and their relevance to the story at that time. 
The story is a tough one to read. Jude is full of hatred and that hatred makes him do awful things which we get from his perspective and really, honestly cannot be justified. The reader can tell that he is angry and out to destroy anything and everything but there is very deep meaning behind some of his actions and it still comes across as shocking and appalling. Sephy is retreating at the beginning of the book and that is causing Meggie to worry a lot but when she gets Callum’s last letter from jail she changes completely and not for the better. Life is messing with Sephy and being so young with a child in tow she struggles a lot. There is a lot going on for Sephy and for the most part she struggles to know what to do but she gets there in the end, kind of! The most terrifying, scary part of the book is right at the end and unlike Noughts and Crosses, Knife Edge finishes on a major cliffhanger. I’m so glad that I am going to go straight on to the third novel because if I had to wait they’d be trouble! 
The characters do develop more in this book and you learn the reasons behind a lot of their actions. Sephy is still quite young and naive but you can tell she is trying to do whats best for those around her, especially her daughter. There is a brilliant scene involving Sephy in which she majorly gains my respect and I think that was a turning point for the character. Meggie is a brilliant character who really, has gone through a lot, her husband was killed trying to escape prison, her daughter was run over and killed and her youngest son has been hung. Her eldest, Jude, disappeared and she has no idea where he is or if he’s safe until his name pops up on the news accused of murder. Its not a great book for Meggie but she deals with it all quite well and she gets a lot of respect. Sephys mother, Jasmine is an interesting character too but still majorly self absorbed, even now she’s stopped the drinking. She didn’t annoy me too much but I didn’t really feel mum for her. Minerva however, ergh, she was awful and so selfish. I understand that she is ambitious but resorting to blackmail and conniving ways to get her news story was going too far! 
My 2005 edition

I think I may have possible loved Knife Edge more than Noughts and Crosses if thats possible. I loved the action and suspense of it all and how much went on. The cross perspectives weren’t confusing at all and I loved that the story was all linked up with the first book so well. My only problem was that the events from the short story ‘An Eye for An Eye’ would have been so useful to read before Knife Edge as I can remember what happens in it slightly but I don’t have a copy anymore and things got confusing when the events of that story were mentioned. In newer editions of the book, including the new cover version, the short story is included. There’s more swearing and violence in this book than the first so the warning about younger readers should not be ignored with Knife Edge. 

Knife Edge was published in 2005 by Corgi. My copy was purchased as a gift. 

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  • Cliona

    Amazing review! I loved this book too 🙂 I HATED Jude, but I sort of felt sorry for him at the same time :/

    I agree with you about and Eye for an Eye! If I hadn’t read it I probably would have been really confused about the story!

  • Zoe Crook

    Urgh I need to read this!! Noughts & Crosses is amazing.
    Jude is a really interesting character, his hatred is uncontrolable, but like Cliona said, you can’t help but feel sorry for him. Sephy lost him, but Jude lost his brother. Wow… Malorie Blackman is mind-blowing :@
    Fab review, Raimy! I can’t wait for the rest of MB week 🙂

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