Bloodchild by Tim Bowler
|Bloodchild by Tim Bowler|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Absorbing fantasy thriller in which a young boy's accident leaves him without memory. Great tension, wonderfully atmospheric, and a nice dollop of the unexplained makes this a must-read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: September 2008|
|Publisher: Oxford University Press|
Will is lying in a deserted lane. He knows he's had an accident. And he is sure that he's dying. Above him there is birdsong and a tree, and girl's face. She's phoning for help. And there's another girl too, a beautiful girl with black hair. But try as he might, Will can't hold on and he submits to the darkness. He comes to in hospital with just flickering images of the accident's aftermath to cling to. Two people are sitting by the bed, apparently his parents. But Will can't remember them. He can't remember anything.
Going home to Havenmouth, Will's parents tell him that he had been suffering from hallucinations and Will is still seeing things. But whether they are visions or delusions, nobody really knows. But Will quickly comes to realise that his old self had found something terrible in Havenmouth and that he must find it again. But when he can no longer distinguish between enemy and friend, he finds his path fraught with danger.
Oh my goodness! Bloodchild opens with such a dramatic punch. The accident aftermath is a powerful enough scene, but told through Will's helpless eyes, it sets the tone for this suspenseful and atmospheric thriller right from the start. I love Tim Bowler. His writing is direct and forceful and ratchets up tension and emotional response with utter fearlessness. He never patronises his readers. He uses slightly supernatural elements without ever losing credibility and what he says is unfailingly intelligent.
Bloodchild is a mystery thriller, but it also deals with otherness, an important issue for adolescents. Should we try to fit in? Should we celebrate our individuality? How do we deal with those who are different? Will represents this search for balance. He's a withdrawn and introverted fifteen year-old, artistic but lacking social skills. And his visions set him apart and threaten others. His battle is as much with himself as it is with the lurking evil in Havenmouth.
There's a clever structure to the novel, with every piece in the puzzle fitting perfectly together. There are one or two red herrings also - there were one or two characters whom I mistakenly mistrusted. And the denouement is fabulous. I read it barely breathing. This one's highly recommended for all teenagers. And their parents too.
My thanks to the nice people at OUP for sending the book.
Bloodchild by Tim Bowler is in the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2009.
Tim Bowler was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Bloodchild by Tim Bowler at Amazon.com.
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