Blade,1: Enemies – Tim Bowler

Blade, 1: Enemies, Tim Bowler; OUP; Feb 2012 (Reissue)

Book summary (taken from Amazon UK): So what am I going to tell you? Not much so don’t get excited. You probably want to know my name. Well, that’s a bit of a problem. I got loads. But there is one name I like. Everybody called me it in the old days. No one does now cos no one in this city knows it. And that’s fine. I don’t like to remember. But I do like the name. You can use it if you want. BLADE. Previously published in two parts as Blade: Playing Dead and Blade: Closing In, this is a stunning new package for this groundbreaking series. Narrated by Blade himself, be prepared to enter his world. It’s not pretty . . . it’s urban, real and dangerous. As Blade’s story unfolds, readers will become completely hooked by this unforgettable character.

Literature for Lads review:
The ‘Blade’ series of books was 1st issued in 2008 and comprised of 8 books with the 1st in the series titled ‘Blade: Playing Dead’.  ‘Blade: Enemies’ is a reissue of the 1st two books in the series and was reissued by Oxford University Press in February of this year. I have to confess that I missed this series 1st time round but having read the reissue I’m disappointed that I did. Tim Bowler already has a reputation as one of the best writers in the teenage literature field and this set of books highlights just how good he is.

The story centres around, and is narrated by central character Blade.  From the opening pages Blade is a an intriguing and mysterious character, refusing to give us his name and insisting we call him Blade.  And yes he does talk to us as we read through the novel. (He even gives us a name – Bigeyes.)In fact at times it feels like we are actually having a conversation with Blade as Bowler cleverly builds a depth to the dialogue between ourselves and him.

Each of the chapters in the book is short, sharp and often adrenalin fuelled.  The pace of the book is relentless as we travel with Blade on a odyssey which in this 1st book gives us more questions than answers.  We are kept on edge as the book progresses and chapters often end on a cliffhanger, urging us to read just one more.

The central theme of the book, unsurprisingly given the name of our central character is that of knife crime.  Bowler doesn’t pull any punches when dealing with the subject yet at no point is the issue ever glorified.  Gang culture is also prevalent in the novel and Bowler creates a realistic underworld inhabited by young people with a very different outlook on life and what it means.

Bowler has also given Blade his own personal slang, meaning we often come across unusual words or Blade will use familiar words in a different context.  The use of the language helps to take us, the reader, into Blades world and emphasises again how different this young boy is.  Although it sounds like this could be confusing Bowler always makes sure that the meaning of the word is clear in the context.

This is book which deals with hard hitting issues whilst taking us on a roller coaster ride of a story.  The pace of the book is electric, with suspense and mystery in nearly every chapter and in Blade we have a terrific main character.  Bowler’s writing is once again exceptional as he reaches out to us and pulls us into the heart of the story.  This is sharp stuff but be prepared, book 1 is only the beginning…

Marks out of 10:8
Here is the trailer for the book…

To visit the Blade mini-site click here
For more information on Tim Bowler visit his website here