“The powerful conclusion to iconic author Malorie Blackman’s ground-breaking Noughts & Crosses -the series that taught a generation to think and act differently.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
Endgame is the sixth (or ninth when you include novellas too) and final book in Malorie Blackman’s ground-breaking and bestselling Nought and Crosses series. The books, written primarily for a young adult audience, have been written and published over a 21-year period meaning many readers have grown up with the books and have long-awaited its conclusion, while other readers may be experiencing the series for the first time.
This final book in Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series, picks up right where the previous book, Crossfire, left off with its high-tension cliff-hanger. The novel sees the return of Persephone (Sephy) Ealing née Hadley, her daughter Callie Rose, son Troy, Tobias (Tobey) Durbridge, and his daughter Liberty (Libby) Jackman.
Without giving away too much of the plot for those who haven’t read this book or the ones that came before it, Endgame’s story spans across a short period of time during which the characters are all on an important life-changing mission. While the main bulk of the plot only really covers about 36-hours, a lot happens in that time with countless mysteries, twists and turns, action-packed moments and shocking revelations. As with all of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses books, Endgame also delivers several emotional punches to the reader, feelings that readers who followed Sephy and Callum’s original story will be all too familiar with. True to Malorie Blackman’s usual style of writing in the Noughts and Crosses series, Endgame’s narrative jumps back between the various characters, plus scenes that throw the reader back to Dan Jeavon’s notorious party, adding further to the tension and suspense that builds up and up for the reader until the story reaches its final climax.
Originally written, in part, to highlight issues of race and racism within society by inverting the hierarchical structure, this final part of the Noughts and Crosses series continues to shine a light on issues of inequality and prejudice. News articles for the ‘Daily Shouter’ that are peppered throughout the story draw parallels to issues such as tokenism, the ‘war on drugs’, Black Lives Matter protests (in this book they’re Nought Lives Matter or NLM), Brexit, and the recent new Policing and Crimes Bill in the UK which criminalises protesting. What’s more, the character of Libby also explores the way in which history is taught in regard to race, and the issues of not teaching Black British history in schools.
Bringing Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series to its breath-taking conclusion, Endgame no longer leaves the reader on a cliff-hanger at the end. Finally, after 21 years, readers who fell in love with Blackman’s writing and characters in Noughts and Crosses and ploughed through the books that followed – Knife Edge, Checkmate, Double Cross and, Crossfire – are given the bittersweet ending they’ve all been waiting for in Endgame.
Catherine Muxworthy, Booksbirdblog
Added 30th November 2021