Blade: Fighting Back by Tim Bowler

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Blade: Fighting Back by Tim Bowler

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: There are finally a few reveals in this latest episode of a short, punchy and utterly addictive series about the cycle of violence and crime. Equally well-suited to the reluctant reader and the deep thinker interested in what you can do with words.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: September 2009
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0192755986

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It's Blade's worst nightmare. He's back in the Beast, the city he's been trying to wash off himself for the last three years. But he's no choice - the grinks have Jaz and the little girl has found a crack in his heart that he never thought would open again. He cares about her and he intends to get her back whatever the cost. But he has Bex with him and she has no idea how evil the Beast can be, or how to lie low and avoid attention, how to slide by the grinks and the gobbos and the porkers.

But Blade has a plan. And it's a risky one.

The publisher's blurb describes Blade as a ground-breaking series and I really do think it is. Tim Bowler is out there proving that you don't need five hundred endless pages to write an unforgettable book and that you don't need to patronise reluctant readers. You can create something intelligent and interesting and complicated that will still appeal to adolescents who'd faint with shock then get up and run a mile if you presented them with a doorstep of a fantasy novel. Bowler doesn't waste a word and he expects - perhaps Blade himself demands - that you catch up quick or get left behind. If Blade's lingo confuses you, tough - get with the chat or miss the point.

In this, the fifth book in the series, we begin to learn a little more about Blade's mysterious background. We get more than the few oblique flashes to Bigeyes - the object of Blade's second person narration - it's snatches of concrete information this time. As Blade formulates his plan to rescue Jaz, we start to understand how he came to flee the Beast in the first place, and how his enemies are organised.

It's vivid and immediate, it's tense and mysterious, and it doesn't make a single allowance. You can read it in an hour or two if you're a voracious reader or over a few days if you're not, but you're equally vitalised by the questions it asks. It's getting even more interesting now we've had a mini-reveal or two. We know that knives have ruined Blade's young life so far, but can it really be that he must use them again to save Jaz and, by extension, himself?

I can't wait to find out what happens next.

My thanks to the nice people at OUP for sending the book.

There really isn't anything quite like Blade anywhere. I've sent you in the direction of Teacher's Dead and The Knife That Killed Me before, and I also think they might like to look at the reportage-made-novel, Sara's Face.

Booklists.jpg Blade: Fighting Back by Tim Bowler is in the Top Ten Books To Drag The Kids Away From Computer Games For Ten Minutes At Least.

Bookinterviews.jpg Tim Bowler was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.

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Buy Blade: Fighting Back by Tim Bowler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Blade: Fighting Back by Tim Bowler at


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