WEFOUNDNoble (Noble Series Book 1)


One of Malorie Blackman 's strengths as a writer for young adults is her directness and conviction: she takes big themes and gets stuck in. With Pig-Heart Boy it was transplants and animal rights; with Boys Don't Cry it was teenage fathers; most famously, with the Carnegie -shortlisted Noughts & Crosses series, it was racism. With Noble Conflict , Blackman turns her attention to the individual and the state, to the beautiful fictions we believe and the ugly truth behind them. "We stopped thinking for ourselves," says Mac, "because it was easier to let others do our thinking for us."

In a series of extracts from "histories" written by the elders of the ruling High Council, we learn the origin of the conflict between the Alliance and the Crusaders. While the peace-loving Alliance tried to live in harmony with nature, the Crusaders all but destroyed and depopulated their own lands; their attempt to move tectonic plates using nuclear devices resulted in catastrophic volcanic eruptions. Now trapped in the "Badlands", the Crusaders have fixed their sights on the Alliance, and their deadliest fighters, the Insurgents, make regular raids on them.

Kaspar was brought up on his uncle's farm on the edge of the Badlands – a nod to Star Wars . Against his uncle's wishes he joins the Guardians, the Alliance's elite peacekeeping force, just like his parents before him – both of whom died in service. Blackman's masterstroke is to tell this conspiracy narrative from a courageous and committed young soldier's point of view. The layers slowly unpeel, the truth about the Alliance is exposed, and the revelations become all the more affecting.

One of Malorie Blackman 's strengths as a writer for young adults is her directness and conviction: she takes big themes and gets stuck in. With Pig-Heart Boy it was transplants and animal rights; with Boys Don't Cry it was teenage fathers; most famously, with the Carnegie -shortlisted Noughts & Crosses series, it was racism. With Noble Conflict , Blackman turns her attention to the individual and the state, to the beautiful fictions we believe and the ugly truth behind them. "We stopped thinking for ourselves," says Mac, "because it was easier to let others do our thinking for us."

In a series of extracts from "histories" written by the elders of the ruling High Council, we learn the origin of the conflict between the Alliance and the Crusaders. While the peace-loving Alliance tried to live in harmony with nature, the Crusaders all but destroyed and depopulated their own lands; their attempt to move tectonic plates using nuclear devices resulted in catastrophic volcanic eruptions. Now trapped in the "Badlands", the Crusaders have fixed their sights on the Alliance, and their deadliest fighters, the Insurgents, make regular raids on them.

Kaspar was brought up on his uncle's farm on the edge of the Badlands – a nod to Star Wars . Against his uncle's wishes he joins the Guardians, the Alliance's elite peacekeeping force, just like his parents before him – both of whom died in service. Blackman's masterstroke is to tell this conspiracy narrative from a courageous and committed young soldier's point of view. The layers slowly unpeel, the truth about the Alliance is exposed, and the revelations become all the more affecting.

Editors' note: The rating on this product has been lowered from 8.3 to 8.0 in response to competitive changes to market. Potential buyers should also check out the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight . It adds an illuminated screen, but is otherwise nearly identical to the Simple Touch e-reader reviewed here. Readers should also note that the "Kindle" this product is compared to in the text is the 2010 version of that product, not the newer 2012 version . See Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad: Which e-book reader should you buy? for more information.

Is the new Nook better than the Kindle? That's what a lot of people are asking and the short answer--at least at this moment--is arguably yes.

No, it doesn't have an audio jack for MP3 music playback or a built-in basic Web browser, but it does have one thing the Kindle doesn't: a touch-screen interface--and it's a good one.


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