Essentially, someone recommended that I read ‘Noughts and Crosses’ but that was reserved by someone else at the library, so I got this one instead. As such, I don’t really feel as if I’ve given Malorie Blackman a fair hearing, and I will definitely go back and do it properly.
‘Thief’ is OK. It felt very slow at first. I was expecting time travel, which didn’t actually kick in until a good third of the way through. The set up chapters didn’t ring entirely true, but maybe that was partly because my expectations were off – if I’d been expecting a real-life contemporary school story, I might have been prepared to give it more time.
I did enjoy it much more once it was in the future.
It was still a bit simple – is that the right word? – for my tastes, but at the end of the day this is YA, and I think there’s an argument for spelling things out a bit more sometimes. It didn’t have the subtlety I tend to associate with really good YA, or the bravery of a lot of recent books in terms of tackling difficult themes and holding moral complexity. I’m wondering whether that’s related to the fact that it was published over 20 years ago, and the genre has evolved considerably in that time.
In some ways, that was one of the most interesting aspects. The ‘futuristic’ elements of the story – published in 1995, set in about 2035 – were technologically not actually all that advanced. Lydia’s total awe of surgical staples is surely a bit naive, even for the late 20th century.
So – it was OK. There wasn’t really enough complexity (political, moral or psychological) to keep me in the story, and there was a lot to pull me out of it. But for the young end of young adult, it wasn’t bad.