Sunday, August 2, 2009

Blade: Playing Dead by Tim Bowler

“There’s the name I was given as a baby, but that’s a dronky name, so I never use it. Then there’s the names I make up. I got garbage bags of those. Different names for different people. Depends on where I am and who I’m with.”

Lately he’s been known as Slicky, but when men start throwing their weight around and chasing after him, his best known name is back. Blade. A name he’d hoped to have escaped, nevertheless, a name given to him for good reason.

This book is practically one long non-stop chase scene. Seriously, it is chase to chase to chase - it is a breathless pace. And there are big holes in our understanding. Like why are these men so intent on capturing Blade? What happened to make Blade into what he is? That’s because Blade’s telling us the story and he’s deliberately leaving things out. He’s street-smart, he’s a survivor, he’s certainly not an innocent and has violence in his past. He is observant and self-reliant, and is able to handle himself, although perhaps not as much as he’d have us believe.

The book was written by a British author and even though I read a fair amount of British books, I didn’t recognize some of the slang. I understood what he was getting at from context clues, but couldn’t figure out the origin of the slang on my own. I was all set to say it was great that they didn’t Americanize it, but interestingly enough, I got halfway through and then he/they/someone chose to use the word flashlight instead of torch.

There are some very exciting plot twists. Honestly, I was almost entranced, I never knew what would come next. And then that ending…um…how can I say this…I found it incredibly irritating. No answers. Not. A. One. Just more twists that lead to more questions. I was frustrated (to say the least). Turns out this is the first in a series. A rather long series of eight books actually! I wonder if they are all as breathless as this one. Our vendor has the second to be released in early 2010. I am officially less irritated.

It is a great book for boys. I would even say this would be good for reluctant readers. I think the action and the constant threat of danger would appeal enough even though they’d have to work harder to understand the slang.

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