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4.4 out of 5 stars
Noble Conflict
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 July 2013
Yet another totally gripping, epic and amazing work from Malorie Blackman. I cannot recommend this enough to all readers who love Dystopian literature and, in fact, to anyone who loves to read at all! Following the War to end all wars the Alliance are protecting their lands and people by employing a force of highly trained Guardians as a peacekeeping force. Kaspar joins the Guardians following in his parents' footsteps in his wish to protect his fellow citizens from the attacks by the Insurgents from the Badlands. However soon Kaspar begins to suspect that all he has been told about their history and wish to live in peace is not absolutely true. The more he is sucked into trying to understand what has really happened to the Alliance citizens and the Insurgents, the more danger he finds himself in. A really powerful and well written story you won't be able to put down!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
In a future where nuclear explosions caused shifts in the earth's tectonic plates and made large areas of land uninhabitable society has been split in two. You have the Alliance who have built a protective city to keep their citizens safe, they are all about peace and want to live in harmony but they are under constant attack from the Crusaders who want to steal their city. The Crusaders are the ones who caused the devastation to the land and their actions forced them into a nomadic lifestyle where they are struggling to survive in the dessert.

Kaspar's parents were some of the most respected Guardian's for the Alliance and he wants nothing more than to follow in their footsteps. He has just completed the Guardian training program and is now determined to do whatever it takes to keep the city safe from the Crusader terrorists. It's not easy to fight an enemy who has guns and bombs when you're only allowed to disarm them and not kill them though. Kaspar has spent his whole life wanting to become a Guardian but now he's achieved that goal he starts to realise that not everything is what it first seems and the terrorists may not be quite as bad as he has always been told. When a terrorist saves his life rather than kill him it makes him question everything but uncovering the truth may not be an easy thing to do.

Noble Conflict is a very fast paced story with plenty of twists and turns that will surprise readers along the way. I enjoyed reading the story from Kaspar's point of view, he's a character with a strong sense of right and wrong who refuses to just believe everything he is told when the evidence shows different. He has the brains to question his orders and the courage to investigate the issue. It's very hard for him to know who to trust but he does have friends who are willing to risk everything and help him. I don't want to say too much about what happens but this is the kind of story that makes you question things and ask yourself what you would do in Kaspar's situation. Would you be brave enough to make a stand against injustice when you know it would put your life at risk? Would you be willing to trust someone you've always been told is your enemy just because she saved your life once?

One thing I would have loved would have been more information about Rhea, the terrorist who saved Kaspar's life. I would have enjoyed seeing more about the way the Crusaders lived outside of the city and perhaps had some of the story told from Rhea's point of view as she fought for her people. It wasn't a major problem but I do think that would have added something to the story. Overall I found Noble Conflict an enjoyable and fast read and it's one I'd recommend to fans of dystopian fiction.
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on 22 April 2015
I desperately wanted to love this book because I love Malorie Blackman. I even went and met her, which was amazing and if you want to hear my feelings on the event, click here. Firstly, thank you Random House and NetGalley for the copy! I was initially disappointed with Noble Conflict, but I was glad that I kept on going, because the last half of the book was amazing.

Noble Conflict is a dystopian novel, set in the future where the Alliance is battling the Crusaders. The story follows Kasper, who is a Guardian (a police-force) as he slowly uncovers the truth about his world. I don’t know if it was because I’ve read too much dystopian fiction, but I found the first half of the novel pretty predictable. However, all was not as I had thought, and soon the twists started to kick in. Blackman has done what she does best, and created a well-structured science-fiction world, and uncovering the truth behind it was really exciting.

The writing style also took some getting used to. It was written in third person, but in the style of a teenage boy. Normally I love realistic teenager talk, but initially I found something clunky about the writing, and despite it all I found Kasper quite difficult to relate too, but he grew on me as it went on. As for the other characters, I liked Mac and Rhea, but I found most of the other Guardians irritating. I also didn’t understand why they every character talked with a gung-ho attitude, from teenagers to Voss, their commander. However, one stylistic part of the book I loved was the excerpts from “books” in that world. I thought it was a nice touch, and really helped to illustrate her themes.

And that’s one place Blackman really shines: her themes and story. Once I realised that I had been wrong about the predictability, I really started to enjoy my moments. What I love was that Blackman wasn’t afraid to do something drastic with the story. I was continuously shocked through the book, and I think it really hits home on how much do we know about the social system that we feel so protected by? Other subtler themes were creeping in too: the use of technology, the reliability of facts, death, and love.

Overall, I think Noble Conflict is a pretty decent YA novel. There’s plenty of thought-provoking content, and an interesting story within it. I would say it’s a bit like a 1984 for a younger audience. Do I think it’s to the standard of her previous work? Probably not. But don’t let that stop you reading it.

Sum It Up: A good dystopian, with brilliant ideas and themes, but if you are new to Malorie Blackman, I recommend starting with another one of her books.

Rating: 7/10

*I received this copy from Random House via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
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SYNOPSIS
Set in a future society, there are two groups of people: The expansionist Crusaders and the peaceful Alliance.
By triggering nuclear explosives within the earth in order to shift the tectonic plates and to expand their territory, the Crusaders had destroyed large areas of land, causing most of their people to die. The survivors were forced to live as nomads on the volcanic wasteland they had created.
After their population number has recovered 200 years later, the Crusaders form a group of fighters called the Insurgents to forcefully take the land of the Alliance.

Kaspar Wilding is a graduate of the Guardian Academy, whose job it is to protect the citizens of the Alliance from terrorist attacks of the Insurgents with the use of non-lethal weapons. All his life, he has thought that he was fighting for a good cause, until he meets an Insurgent named Rhea, who saves his life and causes him to question his beliefs.

MY OPINION
The outset of this story is captivating: Blackman depicts a world that is not only gloomy and shaped by the military and a lenghty war, but it also seems realistic. It was interesting to learn more about the conflict that leads adolescents to consider it an honour to serve their people as Guardians. The reader obtains further background information on the conflict between the two cultures through excerpts from fictitious historical texts, which I thought was very well done.

The hero of the story is a 19-year-old orphan named Kaspar who has lived on his uncle’s farm for most of his life. He is sympathetic, because he is ambitious and strong-willed and seeks to accomplish his goals by his own effort. I could relate to him to some extent, but not completey, as he is a male soldier.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this novel at first. I initially thought that it was a critique on technology and humans tampering with nature. But that’s not the main issue.
In the first half of the book, there is no communication between the two groups and they take no action to end the war. So because I didn’t see the chain of Insurgent attacks leading to anything, it felt like there was no real climax of suspense. However, that changes in the second half of the book.

As more suspicions arise and Kaspar begins to uncover the truth about the Insurgents and the Alliance, things start to get really interesting.
The lines between good and evil begin to blur, and Kaspar realises that life is not guns and roses. The novel is cleverly constructed and thought-provoking to the effect that it makes you question people’s motives for their actions. Who benefits from war and who suffers? Do we actually know what’s going on around us or do we close our eyes to the truth out of convenience? It also encourages readers to look beneath the surface, and to see that not everything that looks harmless at first glance is actually good.

Malorie Blackman’s writing style is smart and engaging: She keeps a fine balance between subtle humour and action-packed scenes. I’m glad that I read the book, and I’ll make sure to read her Noughts & Crosses series next!

If you are looking for a young adult dystopia that addresses actual problems in society instead of losing itself in a pointless romance, look no further.

NOTE: This review can also be found on my blog, bibliophilic geek.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2013
Seemed to be a bit short and went in quickly but I suppose that may be because I couldn't put the kindle down. An excellent book and I do recommend it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2013
Having eagerly awaited a new book by Malorie Blackman I was not disappointed. This book has many levels and could simply be read as an exciting futuristic adventure but it is much more than that. It is a thought-provoking read and will appeal to adult readers as well as the Y/A audience. Any book by Malorie is worth reading and this all the more so. I will not spoil anyone's enjoyment of this book by detailing the plot or characters. Read between the lines and make up your own mind.
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on 14 December 2013
If you have read noughts and crosses, then you will know exactly what I'm talking about, the Literacy laureate's works are renowned for good reason, this book has been structured beautifully with great care for not letting you guess what's coming, for first time readers of the author, the Noughts and Crosses series is a brilliant start, it is, in my opinion, the very making of a modern classic, an unmissable read(s).

Malorie Blackman specialises in YA fiction but is not the mediocre story teller you might expect that is often associated with this genre.

I rate her higher than Tolkien himself.

Unmissable,

Unforgettable,

Incredible.
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on 6 June 2015
One of the best books I've read in a long time. Full of twists, puzzles and explosive plots. An amazing storyline that really makes you think, and makes you feel like you've achieved something when you figure out the answers to endless questions, even if it is pages after the main character does! Its one of those books that you want to re-read again and again - for the first time. It makes you think about the misguided loyalties in our own world (even if they are less drastic)! I only have one word. Wow...
Malorie Blackman's done it again, and come out with another mind blowing bestseller.
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on 17 May 2015
Not as good as Noughts and Crosses it's in a similar vein - dystopian novel of two factions fighting each other to get control of the better land. The Guardians are tasked with protecting the High Council but as a new member, Kasper finds that all is not as he's been told and when he meets Insurgent Rhea, he begins to question the whole basis of their lives with drastic consequences. It has hard hitting and throught provoking elements as we've come to expect from Malorie and many correlations with modern day.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2013
I would suggest this to any reader who enjoyed reading noughts and crosses.
Buy This Book.
It is too good to miss out on.
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