Playing Dead (Blade Series)

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Overview

Nobody knows the city like Blade. You have to when you?re on your own, when you can?t trust anyone, when you?ve got a past you need to hide. Blade is practically invisible, perfectly alone, living only by his wits?just the way he likes it. Until the day a chance encounter sends his world crashing down around him and he finds himself on the run again. Yet he?s not alone this time. Suddenly he?s got Becky and her daughter, Jaz, weighing him down. But is he running from his past or from Becky?s? Blade knows he ...
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Overview

Nobody knows the city like Blade. You have to when you?re on your own, when you can?t trust anyone, when you?ve got a past you need to hide. Blade is practically invisible, perfectly alone, living only by his wits?just the way he likes it. Until the day a chance encounter sends his world crashing down around him and he finds himself on the run again. Yet he?s not alone this time. Suddenly he?s got Becky and her daughter, Jaz, weighing him down. But is he running from his past or from Becky?s? Blade knows he should drop these two, but he can?t. With people depending on him, he?ll need to find a way to outsmart the thugs who are hot on both of their heels, lurking around every corner.

The suspense is palpable in Carnegie-Medal winner Tim Bowler?s new thriller.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Amalia Selle
From the beginning of this rather disturbing tale, the reader is not quite sure what is going on. The book is told from the perspective of a homeless boy with formidable skills of observation and the ability to fly under the radar. His emotional scarring and avoidance leads to questions never being quite answered. Blade, as he calls himself privately, is robbed of both his clothes and wallets he has stolen. An old woman calling herself Mary kindly takes him home and gives him clothes. Then men break into her home, and Blade hears the sounds of shots as he runs away. Holed up in one of his secret "snugs" that night, Blade finds one of the men has followed him. Although terrified over his near escape, Blade's guilt over Mary's death leads him back to the scene of the crime. Entangled in a web of various groups who seem to want him dead, Blade finds his skills tested to the utmost as he struggles to save a young girl Becky and her daughter Jaz. The unusual narrative style, with Blade speaking directly to the reader as if he or she is another character, makes Blade seem even more mentally disturbed. We learn surprisingly little of Blade's background despite his character being fairly well developed. The other main characters within the story, Becky and Jaz, remain undeveloped partially because Blade associates them with a deceased Becky from his former life. Paced well, the book provides an exciting read but disappointing ending. The nontraditional and ill-resolved plot is reminiscent of Robert Cormier's works. Readers of works such as The Chocolate War or I Am the Cheese, may also enjoy Bowler's work. Reviewer: Amalia Selle
Publishers Weekly

Bowler delivers an intense, gripping novel that introduces Blade, a 14-year-old British boy with a mysterious past, who is living on the streets. After Blade suffers a beating by a local gang, an offer of help from a Good Samaritan goes awry and he finds himself on the run from a group of mysterious armed men. Along the way, he ends up protecting a toddler named Jaz and the girl's teen mother, Becky (she, in turn, inspires memories of Blade's long-dead love). There's little joy in Blade's world: characters steal, cheat, abuse drugs and kill, and to Blade, little of this bleakness is out of the ordinary (the first chapter reveals that he's lived this way since at least the age of seven). Bowler (Frozen Fire) imbues Blade with a voice that throws around slang ("porker," "gobbo," "Bigeyes") without needing to stop to explain it, and his reader-directed narration ("I don't trust you one little bit. Why should I?") carries the novel, even as the plot frustratingly ends with a cliffhanger. Readers who like their thrillers brutally realistic will find much to enjoy. Ages 14-up. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
VOYA - Sarah Flowers
Blade is a fourteen-year-old homeless youth with a past that he mostly keeps hidden. He is very familiar with his unnamed British city and manages to survive by stealing wallets and living in people's homes while they are away. But one day things start to go wrong. First he is ambushed and beaten by a group of teen girls who leave him naked. An old woman named Mary gives him some clothes, but then two violent men show up at the door and they seem to want Blade. He is soon on the run, along with sixteen-year-old Becky and three-year-old Jaz. Blade is forced to use all his cunning to escape and to try to keep Becky and Jaz safe. The book is told in the first person, with the reader addressed directly as "Bigeyes," which is somewhat disconcerting at times. Blade reveals only small bits of information about his past, the other characters are not fully developed, and the ending is abrupt and open-ended, no doubt because it is the first book in an intended series. Still Blade has an engaging voice, the pace is break-neck, and young teens will be eager to know what is going to happen next. Reviewer: Sarah Flowers
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—From the beginning of this novel, fear and suspense are palpable as 14-year-old Blade is chased and savagely beaten by a gang of ruthless teenage girls. He is a gritty, British street kid constantly on the run for his life, but readers don't find out why until the end. He has amazingly keen instincts and startling skill with a switchblade, and he knows how to seem invisible, to go unnoticed and stay alive. Blade watches silently from the shadows to learn whether homeowners are in or not, and then uses unoccupied houses as snugs, safe havens where he sleeps, eats, and reads. Books are Blade's one solace, and his love of books softens the character of this streetwise thief. This is a solid choice for reluctant readers who are willing to accept the British slang, which is easy enough to interpret in context. "Quite a few nebs here too but they're all muffins" translates to, there's lots of people out in the neighborhood, but they're harmless. Bowler's use of short, clipped sentences creates a breathless tone that keeps readers on edge and turning pages at breakneck speed as Blade eludes murderers, drug users, and thugs.—Patricia N. McClune, Conestoga Valley High School, Lancaster, PA
Kirkus Reviews
Fourteen-year-old Blade (aka Slicky) is a smart homeless kid who gets caught in many wrong places at a lot of wrong times. He's been on the run from the police since he was seven, sneaking into houses and stealing people's wallets to survive. After an attack from a girl gang, he both witnesses and is accused of multiple murders. On the run from both the girl gang and the boys who murdered their leader, he joins up with Becky, a 16-year-old mother who is trying to get away from the gang. Although he has always operated alone, Blade decides to let Becky and her daughter accompany him as he attempts to bring justice to the murderers. The action is fast-paced, but the book is thin on character development and the ending lacks resolution, perhaps because it is the first book in a series. Much about Blade's present but little about his past is revealed, which may entice readers to pick up the sequel if they don't put this book down in frustration. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399251863
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/14/2009
  • Series: Blade Series
  • Pages: 240
  • Age range: 14 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.36 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Bowler is the author of numerous acclaimed novels for teenagers and is the recipient of many honors, including the prestigious Carnegie Medal for his third novel, River Boy. He lives in Devon, England.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2013

    Arav Patel There is a boy named Blade. He lives with no one, he

    Arav Patel
    There is a boy named Blade. He lives with no one, he has no family. He breaks into peoples houses, reads their books, eats their food and sleeps in their bed. He is being searched by a gang. The whole book he is trying to run away from the gang, with two people named Jaz and Becky. Becky is a girl who jumped him in the beginning of the book and left him there with nothing. And Jaz is her kid. Becky is also trying to get away from the police because they know her and what she has done. This book is hard to understand because of the language they use in it. This book was written by Tim Bowler. It is a very good read and worth reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2011

    this book is amazing the best ive ever read must read it!!!

    There is a boy named Blade who is suffering from being alone his whole life and has to survive without any family. Blade who is alone and has no friends or family is trying to survive by himself. To eat and sleep he sneaks into people's houses when they are gone, he sneaks in for food and a warm place to stay. He has many skills in breaking into homes and fighting. One day Blade was walking and a gang of girls attacked him and stripped him of his cloths. He ran to a park and an old lady took him back to her house and gave him cloths. Blade is being looked for by another gang of guys that want to kill him. The gang eventually breaks into the old ladies house and kills her, while Blade escapes and runs away. Close to the end he meets this girl who was part of the gang that beat him up and took his cloths. They stuck together and tried to get away from the gang that was trying to kill Blade. The girl had a baby which was a little girl. Blade and the girl went to the house where the kid was and took the kid so they could leave. Blade, the girl, and her little girl all were running through the woods and eventually they ran across baseball fields and stopped. Blade had them both stay there so they didn't get caught because he was going to go back and see where the gang was. He found the gang and waited and then he ran back to find that the girl from the gang was killed and her daughter was taken. So Blade tracked down the gang and killed them all and took the little girl and kept her. A boy named Blade trying to survive alone. Blade was trying to escape gangs trying to kill him. Blade was suffering without food or warm place to stay. The main part is when Blade and the girl he met and her daughter are all trying to escape the gang together and then he finds the girl dead and her daughter taken so he tracks the gang down and kills them all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2009

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    Posted December 25, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2010

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