My heart felt as if it was a lot further up than its normal position, as I raced through Blade, two new books by Tim Bowler.

The quality of his writing is as good as ever, but Tim is going in a new direction with these books. They are short, and for a confident reader they’ll be over in no time. It doesn’t say anywhere, but I’m guessing Tim wants to reach less able readers, and slightly older ones, too.

I’ll call him Blade, because we don’t know his name, and he is only fourteen, but very good (or should that be bad?) with a knife. Tim confesses to a terror of knives, which I probably share with him, but to be honest, I had no time to think about knife crimes per se, because of the pace of the story.

Blade, Playing Dead is first, with an almost introduction of the main character and his life on the sidelines of society. He’s already in trouble, and just ends up deeper in trouble still. But there’s something decent and likeable about him, nevertheless. Blade, surprisingly, has a love of reading, which sometimes gets him into trouble. More trouble.

In Blade, Closing In the story continues and worsens. Whatever he does and no matter how much he tries, Blade just gets deeper and deeper in his black hole. I’m a bit concerned that I felt so strongly for him, that I almost egged him on to kill a man.

I’m wondering a bit, how Tim, who is a very nice man, can even write like this. And I’ll confess here and now, to not understanding all of the slang.

The story is told in the first person, present tense, with no chapters. This adds to the reader’s agitation, and makes you go on an on. Like Blade himself, who can’t stop.

There’s to be more of these, but a cliffhanger ending, and a year to wait, Tim?

9 responses to “Blade

  1. Anthony McGowan has been playing with knives too…haven’t read Tim’s books, but I can vouch for The Knife That Killed Me, which is a chilling, very true-to-life book about what happens when knives make an appearance in school life. I think I’ll stick to pithy epithets at ten paces…

  2. Ah, but Blade doesn’t even make it to school. Go careful with the epithets, no matter the number of paces.

  3. >i think i’ll stick to pithy epithets at ten paces

    ha ha ha. at my critique group, we often discuss the pithy epithet and what place it has in a YA novel.

    seems to me there are two kinds of YA – the no holds barred, adult novel with more pace type, and the more careful, one swearword a book type. at the moment, the YA writers in my group are of the latter classification. but who knows. we are getting more daring.

  4. Yup, must get my hands on this new Bowler. Thanks.

  5. Just got back from holiday to find your blog entry and these posts about Blade. Thanks very much indeed for all the kind comments. I appreciate them very much. In answer to a couple of points: Blade is emphatically NOT designed for reluctant or less able readers. It is aimed at the same readership as all my other books, i.e. a broad one. Some teachers have told me they plan to use the Blade series with less able readers and of course I’m delighted to hear that but to label the series as a “reluctant readers” package would be to misunderstand its aims, which are far broader. Secondly, as regards waiting a year for the next book – Blade: Breaking Free (Book 3) comes out in January 2009, Blade: Running Scared (Book 4) in April 2009, and the pattern of January and April publications will continue throughout the course of the series. Hope that clarifies things a bit. Thanks again for the comments and all good wishes.

  6. Only eight months until the next one? Much more bearable…

    It’d be great if teachers and others can introduce reading good books by using Blade. It may not have been your intention, Tim, but many good ideas happen by accident. To label them specifically would be a mistake, but hopefully adults who need the right kind of book for teenagers will be able to find Blade and use the books.

  7. Yes, I agree, and of course, as I mentioned earlier, I’m delighted that some teachers plan to use the books for less able readers. My point was simply that it would be a mistake to think that the books have been written specifically for such readers. That’s not the case at all. I’m casting a much wider net.

  8. Pingback: Bait, Blade & Freaked « Jacket Whys

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