Blade: Risking All by Tim Bowler

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Blade: Risking All by Tim Bowler

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Category: Teens
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: The final instalment in this wonderful series about a boy on the run. Blade has his final confrontation with his nemesis, but can he find redemption? It's startlingly good, but don't start here. Find book one and read it!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: September 2010
Publisher: OUP
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 019275601X

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It's the final chapter. There's nothing left now but the last confrontation. Blade has nothing left to lose and at last revenge is in sight. Under pressure from the porkers and the gangs, and with his private empire crumbling, Hawk has retreated to his remote hideout. Blade is there, waiting. But Hawk is surrounded by a private army of security. Dozens of grinks and gobbos lie between Blade and his nemesis and getting past them isn't going to be easy. But Blade has his instinct back and nothing is going to stand in his way. Losing is not an option. But can he beat the man who has never known defeat? Can he find redemption?

What do you think?

Ah man. It's all over. The Blade series has kept me riveted for more than two years. It's been simply fantastic, bringing so much to the table that I couldn't hope to cover it all in a review, but I'll have a go.

Mostly, it's startlingly original - there's nothing like it out there at all. On the surface the series is composed of short, sharp, shocking episodes that can be read in a single sitting and eschew complicated sentences and difficult words. So, it's intended for the fabled "reluctant reader" audience then, right? Well, yes, it is. Reluctant readers will love the gritty setting, the pace, and the tension. They'll also love a mere hundred and fifty pages of large type.

And well, no, it isn't. I've only described the surface of Blade. The episodes tie together into a mystery thriller with a very complicated background and enough twists and turns to shake a stick at. It's challenging to work out each piece of the puzzle. Dig a bit deeper and you find some strong themes of exclusion and redemption. Dig deeper again, and you suddenly realise that these books - so vivid, so immediate, so exciting and so quick to read - actually have a tremendously complex structure.

There's the notoriously difficult second person narration - Blade is talking to a passive character called Bigeyes - and there's the Clockwork Orange-style argot of nebs and grinks and gobbos and grime. These are "proper" novels with "proper" conceits that can be usefully analysed in the classroom - in fact, if Blade doesn't find his way onto the GCSE curriculum, I'll want to know why. Let's interest them with something exciting, contemporary and relevant, eh?

I truly can't praise this series highly enough. I've loved it from start to finish. And Risking All is a fitting close - even if I do feel rather bereft now it's all over. There's a twist in the tale I hadn't seen coming at all and yes, we do finally find out about Bigeyes. Highly, highly recommended.

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

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

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


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