Noble Conflict
Malorie Blackman




Years after a violent war destroyed much of the world, Kaspar has grown up in a society based on peace and harmony. But beyond the city walls, a vicious band of rebels is plotting to tear this peace apart. It is up to the Guardians - an elite peacekeeping force - to protect the city, without ever resorting to the brutal methods of their enemy.
When Kaspar joins the Guardians, he has a chance encounter with a rebel - a beautiful girl named Rhea. Haunted from that moment on by strange visions and memories - memories that could only belong to Rhea - he realises he hasn't been told the truth about what the rebels really want, and what he's really fighting for.
"As ever, for Blackman, story is king. The dialogue is vivid, inclusive, full of energy and ribald humour . . . her legions of fans have a treat in store." The Guardian

"Malorie's back with a new novel exploring love, violence, trust and betrayal . . . highly anticipated." Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

"A fantastic book that had me gripped . . . Malorie doesn't just write great stories, she also writes characters that can tell those stories with a real heart in them . . . Noble Conflict is just as much a thriller of the mind as well as making your heart race." sisterspooky.co.uk

"A brilliant book which I quite literally could not stop reading." Clare Poole, The Bookseller
Avani, from Wren Academy Barnet

Malorie Blackman wrote Noble Conflict in a way that the reader could clearly understand her creativity and ideas towards the plot. The suspense is effectively shown in the blurb which helps the reader to empathise with the characters. This is because of the tragic events to take place or which have happened before. It is also because of the beginning of sneaky twists and turns that invite the reader onto a dangerous and mysterious adventure where he will be one with the characters. 

The story is about Kasper and Rhea, and their tragic life which is filled with ups and downs and adventures that they have no choice, but to survive - to kill. The most surprising twist in the book is when Kasper realises that he had been fighting for the wrong side the whole time and that he was misled by the people that he called his leaders and preachers of doing right.

One example of the shocking truths is when Tilkian (member of the alliance, head of SSG-special support group) tells Kaspar [something which]... hits the reader like a rock ...

Even though the book is very emotional it also has some comic parts which are like outliers compared to the rest of the story. The female characters in the book contribute to the vast range of humour used. Firstly, there is the flirty relationship between Kaspar and Mac. Secondly, there is a love-hate relationship between Kaspar and Rhea. Their funny encounters and emotional moments entangle the reader’s thoughts. This is because at first it’s serious then it has a very funny and awkward moment and then it comes back to serious. Also when they are fighting and arguing, Rhea has the lead and it is funny as she has control over him and Kaspar is always pestering her with questions which normally lead off topic.

Malorie Blackman has written this book and filled it to bursting with truths and adventure. She has really thought about and effectively included all aspects and key features for the reader to really grasp the book and learn from the moral and apply bits of it to his life. The main moral of the story was to not trust anybody so easily and always fight for the truth no matter what you will have to face to succeed.

Overall the book is aimed at teenagers.  I would give the book a recommendation of 5/5 stars.

Hannah, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Noble Conflict is about a boy called Kasper who has always wanted to join the Guardians and follow in his parents' footsteps. The Guardians are a group of people who fight against the rebel Crusaders to try to create peace, or so he thinks. When Kaspar meets an Insurgent called Rhea, everything changes. He starts seeing weird visions which don’t belong to him, he starts seeing things from a Crusader’s point of view, and he discovers some very unpleasant truths.

Noble Conflict is full of twists and turns. You never know what is going to happen next which leaves you wanting to read more. As I was reading it my heart was racing. I absolutely loved reading it and now I want to read more books by Malorie Blackman. I would recommend it to anyone, especially Malorie Blackman fans.

Jacob, from Jewish Community Secondary School

This is one of the books I read while choosing the shortlist for my school's book award. This is a very interesting but then again hard-to-follow book about a world after a war has destroyed the world. The survivors made a society that has an elite group of peace keepers who keep peace all around the world. One of them is Kaspar Wilde, also known as Agent Wilde. While on a mission his best friend dies and he meets the most beautiful girl who is part of a group of rebels, her name is Rhea. While going on missions he has this really bad dream, but they aren't his - he figures they must be Rhea's. Kaspar doesn't know what he is fighting against. In the book he finds out enough to find out if he has made the wrong decision or not. I enjoyed it, it was very gripping. I would give it eight and a half out of ten. 

James, from Jewish Community Secondary School

If there was ever a book which you could judge by its front cover, it would be Noble Conflict. Malorie Blackman has not only managed to create a whole new universe (or is it just our own one in the future?) but also invented a new history: creating passages supposedly written by members of the High Council in ancient times. This tale is a treat for slow and fast readers alike as it includes twists in every nook and cranny of the story. Raising the question, ‘who is in the wrong and who is in the right: the Alliance or the Violent Rebels?’ no one can claim that this book lacks cunning. The page before the first extract shows three war-related quotes including “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” which translates as “it is sweet and honourable to die for one’s country”. But the genius of Blackman’s novel is leaving us wondering if this is really true.

Jonathan, from University College School London

Once again, the occasion descended that I would need to read another book for the 'WeRead' programme. This time, my class and I were tasked on reading Malorie Blackman's latest book, Noble Conflict, a novel with nothing to do with any other series by Malorie Blackman. When I first saw that this was a Malorie Blackman book, I was instantly filled with an anticipation to wolf it down in a few minutes, and eagerly rushed through it. 

It's set in the dystopian past/present/future (which isn't actually specified). It follows the story of Kaspar, an 18 year-old man who has just graduated from the Guardian training program, or something of the like. The Guardians are an elite force which fights for what is 'right', or at least what they believe to be right. This army force must fight against Insurgents, a 'terrorist group' with the intent of 'ruining lives', but who often, when caught, commit suicide. 

Rhea is an Insurgent, presumably one of the ‘bad guys’ who fights and kills the innocent in what is considered to be hatred and pure, insane bloodshed. However, this girl is not all she seems in this story, as she befriends Kaspar, and admits to him that she’s not fighting for the same cause as the Insurgents.

Character fact files aside, the story starts off with Kaspar at his graduation ceremony, but things take a turn for the worse as an Insurgent attack ruins everything. However, Kaspar comes out as the hero, bravely holding off the bad guys and giving cover to those who need it.  After being hailed a hero, Kaspar is sent around the city as a propaganda image, proclaiming to the people the good news that the Alliance has to bring. However, when Kaspar is sent to a desert to look for Insurgent activity, he and his friend are attacked, with his friend being killed, and Kaspar left to die. However, that’s when Rhea comes into the story, saving him from death, and taking him to safety. Kaspar comes back wondering why she saved him, and just a few weeks later, Rhea’s broken into his bedroom, or more specifically, his bed. Here, she plants a touch-empathetic ability – and a few cheeky kisses - on Kaspar, which allows him to see into her memories, specifically her grandmother.

As the attacks persist and Kasper digs deeper for the truth, normality, or at least, the normality we’re given, takes a turn for the worse, as Kaspar discovers what the Alliance is really fighting for...

I think that once again, Malorie Blackman has done a brilliant job of keeping the reader interested, and making the reader think about the message she's trying to give to them. She tackled the racism in the Noughts and Crosses sequence, and here, she's fighting against the perceptive delusion of conflict. It really does bring up a few interesting points. When anyone normally reads a book, they are instantly 'hypnotized' into the point of view of the 'person' telling the story. They seldom wonder if they are being deceived, because they've been fed so much from the narrator’s point of view, that it would be near impossible for them to be told otherwise during the course of a book. However, in this book, it allows us to take a look at the two different sides of a conflict: the side that is initially believed to be correct in terms of moral, and the side who initially seem to be in the wrong. This book manages to raise the questions of which side is actually fighting for what is right, and actually challenges the reader to see through what could be a lie. I believe that it is this type of writing, and this type of storytelling, that actually manages to captivate me, as it actually interacts with my moral, rather than just giving me a story on a plate, and making me finish it. This is why I think so highly of Malorie Blackman, and her latest contraption, Noble Conflict: because it's one of the only stories that both captivated me and made me think. 

Therefore, I score this book 5/5. 

Kishen-Shiv, from East Barnet School

What can I say about this book? It has everything – romance, action, adventure, twists, and of course, a good plot.

This book really gripped me. It put me into this weird dimension of the future, say about 20-30 years forward maybe? I don’t actually know why but Malorie Blackman has just gone to the depths of her imagination and extracted ideas and notions that no other author could dare to think about. The technology used – from CommLinks to state-of-the-art rapid action grenades – really intrigued me and I just couldn’t stop reading it. I [was] once told off by my mum as I ‘accidently’ read Noble Conflict  up until 10.00, way past my bedtime!

Not just that, but the characters each had their own distinct personality and the names were so creative! The places, the plot and the pace of action – just brilliant. A standing ovation for Blackman.

Basically, the book is centred on a teenage boy called Kaspar, and he is training to be a Guardian, part of a small army that is called the Alliance, and he has to try and fight against the Insurgents, who consistently try to take the land of the Alliance. But during his story, he meets a pretty girl named Rhea, who belongs to the Insurgents, and Kaspar is haunted by visions that could only belong to her. He then begins to have feelings for Rhea, but will everything turn out ok? 

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ BELOW IF YOU WANT TO/ARE READING THIS BOOK

The only thing that I am angry about is [...] the end! WHYYYYYYYY Malorie Blackman? Couldn’t Kaspar and Rhea get married or something? They make such a cute couple!

Melis, from Wren Academy Barnet

This powerful and graphic book by the acclaimed author Malorie Blackman is about a dystopian society set in the future, decades after the ‘War to End All Wars’ had ‘destroyed most of the world.’ Kasper Wilding, a budding Guardian (a mix between the police force and the army), is avidly looking forward to his career in serving and protecting. However, all is not as it seems, as we eventually gather!

The book is centred on the main protagonist, Kasper, who has completed his army training and is now a fully–fledged Guardian. When a ‘terrorist’, an Insurgent (who is almost the mirrored version of the Guardians) kills Kasper’s best friend, the reader is introduced to Rhea, who in my opinion was as amazing as she was beautiful and elegant, but could still put Kasper in a choke hold within three seconds flat. I think Rhea was an inspiration for the good people in this book and I think she’s a great role model for women and girls as she was strong spirited and never gave up! I think she was a true hero as she only wanted peace and truth, and she made Kasper question how much he trusted those in authority. Through her thoughts and childhood memories, Kasper begins to realise he had been severely lied to. 

As the book progresses, I realised it was quite hard hitting. It is graphic, as it includes scenes of conflict and torture, and Blackman has obviously researched her material well. The military talk pulled no punches, and it portrayed the harsh reality of military life. Kasper grapples with a mental and a physical conflict. 

Overall, I quite enjoyed this book, even though the war and angst genres aren’t really my favourites. However, it was very well written, and the plot was really well thought out. I think this book was written by Blackman with an aim to ask people how much they trust those who hold a higher office. I would recommend this book to both boys and girls aged 10+.

Millie May, from Copthall School, Barnet

Nobel Conflict focuses on trust and who or what you trust is an important factor in Blackman's plot. I would say it is a dystopian page turner, but at the same time I felt out of my comfort zone in the way I probably wouldn’t have read it out of choice (despite my love for the genre.) In my opinion the ending was a little disappointing as it seemed a little short, even though there was no lack of action.

Kaspar was a good main character, but his personality wasn’t strong enough for my liking, he watched others and let others shape him so much. It worked well in these circumstances (I don’t think it would have worked any other way), yet he wasn’t powerful enough to linger in my mind as other characters have. 

Blackman is the sort of author whose novels can be read at ease, by me anyway; with their fairly simple language they appeal to many. That’s not to say I wasn’t at the edge of my seat confused at Kaspar at certain points.

The plot was powerful and originally extremely intriguing, the text beautiful in some ways. There wasn’t too much of any element in the tale, but I suppose that comes with the author’s experience. Quite real in an unreal way, if that is not utterly contradictory. 

‘Question it all’, is really all this novel will leave me with, but that is more than enough. Although I adored Noughts and Crosses, I didn’t expect this to be as good, so I wasn’t disappointed. I was actually surprised by how much the concept appealed to me, but with WeRead I am always pleasantly surprised. 

One of the few reasons this book would only be about three and a half stars is that the characters were all so sly and once you began to like them you found out more and felt a little foolish. I suppose in some ways this worked to the author's advantage and was unavoidable. Still the majority of the characters were so cold, ignorant and not at all likeable, perhaps this was to showcase the warmth of the minority.

Nevertheless Nobel Conflict provided a powerful message; how valid this message is, I do not know. This being in addition to a unique, intriguing concept and an unpredictable chain of events – I do not regret reading it. 

Nicole, from Wren Academy Barnet

This book is not only a book: it’s a story, it’s wide-opening eyes for most readers about how humans act, how humans absorb information without having evidence to back it up and making readers realise how fighting for the truth is the only way. Kasper, the main character, realised it too. 

Noble conflict is about the violent war, with the Alliances and the Crusaders who have destroyed much of the world. Kasper, a farm boy who lived with his uncle, always dreamt of being part of the Alliances (to be a guardian, like his mother and father - who sadly died): to win the war and defeat the enemy, evil Crusaders (o,r as he called them, ninjas). However, as he digs deeper into the truth of this war, it seems that the Crusaders aren’t as evil or even the enemy, as he thought. During this mystery he meets people that help him find the truth.

The imagination is astonishing; the plot won’t let your hands slip away from the book and the writing is clear as water. It’s enjoyable to read and makes the reader have mixed emotions towards the actions of the characters. And I like the quote (the same style of Hamlet):

“To keep quiet or not to keep quiet, that was the dilemma.” 

It also shows what real friendship is: Kasper and Dillon (even though Kasper got Dillon in some real trouble, he was still a true friend by caring about him).

I would have preferred if Malorie Blackman had made this book into first person, with Kasper as the main character because he was really clever, and I would have wanted to know more about his thoughts; but at the end: this book is a masterpiece! 

Also, I really liked the idea of having a page of writing, from a different book which linked (or where Malorie Blackman got her idea of the book), which had a really nice effect.

Finally, the book is a range of genre: comedy, mystery, romance (just a little bit) and some parts were suspected before the scene has happened.

Peter, from East Barnet School

Noble Conflict is truly the greatest book that I have ever read. It is about a boy called Kaspar who joins a group called the Guardians, which are the protectors of the people. On the way to a mission, he meets this mysterious girl who is one of the people that he is supposed to hate, she is an Insurgent. Strangely, she helps him and carries him to safety.           

Noble Conflict was amazing! Therefore I give this book a 5/5. Noble Conflict is a gripping book that made me not want to put it down. This book is suitable for secondary school children who like books with action and or discovery.

Sophia, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

Holding a high approval of Blackman’s previous works I commenced this novel with the fervour of any passionate reader, brimming with optimistic expectation.  Admittedly, it was slightly naïve of me to assume that this novel could surpass its notable predecessor: the Noughts and Crosses series; however this did turn out to be an enjoyable read. 

Set in an indeterminate time period, this dystopian novel commences by lurching the reader straight into the action. We find ourselves at the graduation of Kaspar Wilding, a determined young spirit who is willing to die for his country.  He lives in a world dominated by an ongoing war between the peaceful Alliance and the barbaric Crusaders. The Alliance strives to live harmoniously with the enemy through non-violent means, attempting to protect themselves from unprovoked attacks, whilst the Crusaders intend to sabotage their prosperous society. Kaspar is convinced that the merciless Crusaders deserve to die. But one day, when Kaspar is left stranded on a mission, he meets Rhea, a rebel fighter who is unwilling to kill him. This chance encounter with a Crusader leaves Kaspar questioning the real motives of these people, and the truth behind all the fighting.

I quickly submersed myself in the story and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although I was initially disappointed, the chapters progressively became more intriguing and captivating, until the final revelation hit me. Even with a slightly dragging plot and underdeveloped characters this novel still managed to draw out all sorts of emotions from me. Confusion, exhilaration, anticipation and pure shock were all feelings I experienced throughout this novel. 

Although I enjoyed many different aspects of the book, I especially loved Blackman’s stylistic choice of providing excerpts of historical texts at the beginning of some chapters. It was from these historical texts that we learnt the origins of the Alliance and the Crusaders, and this provided a unique way of creating the back plot of the novel. 

A recurrent theme in Blackman’s novels is to take big themes and portray them in a teenage-friendly way, whilst also maintaining strong conviction to the subject matter. Blackman achieved this yet again with Nobel Conflict.  Her foray into the world of dystopian fiction has proved to be a huge success, and I would certainly recommend other teenagers to read this book.

Stefan, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Noble Conflict, a book by Malorie Blackman, is an amazing book about what the future may bring. Kaspar has just joined the Guardians, the elite alliance protection force. When the alliance is attacked, he must help defend the alliance. Following all the clues he has, and with the help of his friends, he must figure out why the Insurgents, the 'army' of the Crusaders attacked. However, with Mac, his remarkably smart friend, he uncovers some worrying things. Despite this, he decides to keep it to himself. Voss, his boss, finds out about this; he isn't happy. He sends him and his friend to work elsewhere. However, when disaster strikes, Kaspar must dig deeper into a huge mystery that has just filled his life. When everything Kaspar has ever known gets turned upside down, his life becomes a big dilemma. Will he and his friends uncover the truth?

I would recommend this book for anyone above the age of 10, although, not any age below that. It is an extremely engaging book that I would easily rate 8.5/10. It grips you and makes you imagine you are actually there. It is absolutely fantastic!

Tal, from Jewish Community Secondary School

There's a reason Malorie Blackman has been made Children's Laureate, and that reason is that she is an excellent storyteller.

Noble Conflict is a layered look at a dystopian world where deadly force is not deployed against enemies. Instead, "terrorists" are stunned, and they are always treated well, even getting medical help before Alliance Guardians are.

Into this world comes Kasper, who has just completed his training as a Guardian. Proud to be serving his country - like his dead parents before him who were legendary Guardians - Kasper soon starts to realise everything is not as it seems. As he learns more and more about the world around him, he discovers that what he believes in and is fighting for may have been constructed on lies. 

Knowledge is at the centre of Blackman's book - Kasper quickly learns that knowledge is power, but that the leaders of his world are working on the basis that the ignorance of their population is what makes them powerful. 

It's a chance encounter with an Insurgent, the fighting arm of the Alliance's enemies the Crusaders, that sets Kasper on his path to knowledge, although you can see the cogs beginning to turn even before that. This is what I liked most about Kasper - he wasn't afraid to question things, and to fight for what he believed was right. It's that belief that kept him going throughout Noble Conflict, even when the boundaries of his world changed.

Rhea, the Insurgent Kasper meets, is an interesting character, but one we only really know through Kasper. Literally. After their encounter Kasper gets flashes of her life, and it's through these that he, and we, begin to suspect something is up. Kasper's encounters with Rhea reveal a lot - both about the Alliance and the Crusaders, and about Kasper himself. 

Aside from Rhea, Noble Conflict is full of strong female characters, such as Guardians Janna and Mariska, who we only see briefly but who kick arse. I loved Mac especially, the nerdy librarian who helps Kasper with his research and opens up a world of learning for him. If this was a conventional YA novel, Rhea, Kasper and Mac's relationship would be a love triangle. Luckily, this isn't a conventional novel, and although Mac and Rhea are pitted as opposites, they're never pitted against each other as rivals for Kasper's affections.  

This choice is one of the reasons why Noble Conflict is a higher class of YA novel than some out there. The other reasons include that it's a thought-provoking novel about how we should question our leaders, and another still is that it's a beautifully crafted story - Blackman tells you everything her characters know and need to know, and nothing more. It makes for something quite poignant (even though I spent the last third of the novel yelling at various characters in my head), and as a standalone I thought it ended just right. 

Yumna, from Wren Academy Barnet

When I first began the book, my instant thought was, "Too short. Not enough detail. Don't like it." I couldn't have been more wrong. Admittedly, I did find it was too short and over too quickly but it wasn't lacking in detail at all. For a short book, Malorie Blackman managed to squish a complex, insightful story into a few pages. Honestly, I love romantic, dystopian novels like The Hunger Games or Divergent but Noble Conflict was something entirely different. It did have elements of romance in it but that's not what the book was truly about. Fighting for what you believe in. Not knowing what the truth is. Not knowing who to trust. Having everything you believe in pulled out from under you. The writer explored all these things really deeply yet the entire book was shrouded in mystery right until the end. And that was what I found the most impressive about the book. Malorie had me under her spell in under a chapter. I could have put the book down whenever I felt like it, but that didn't happen. Curiosity overwhelmed me and I couldn't stop wondering about the book, even when my nose wasn't in it. My mind was constantly wondering what, why, who - and that's what I enjoyed most. Being in the book even when I wasn't reading it. And what's even better is the fact I cried. Though I seem to cry in every book I read nowadays, I still love it when books, mere words on pages, are able to twist my emotions enough to make me cry, and Noble Conflict really did have me wiping tears off my cheeks in the middle of the night when I WAS STILL READING.