Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Playing Dead (Blade, #1)” as Want to Read:
Playing Dead (Blade, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Playing Dead (Blade #1)

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  396 ratings  ·  71 reviews
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 t ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published May 14th 2009 by Philomel (first published 2008)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Playing Dead, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Playing Dead

Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsAlong for the Ride by Sarah DessenShiver by Maggie StiefvaterBlood Promise by Richelle MeadCity of Bones by Cassandra Clare
TRT's 2009 Gotta Have 'Em List! (Part 2)
161st out of 198 books — 265 voters
The Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanThe Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. TolkienDeception Peak by Dianne Lynn GardnerTreasure Island by Robert Louis StevensonThe False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Best YA Guy Reads
133rd out of 239 books — 117 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 798)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Ariel Acupan
Originally posted at PINOYPETERPAN.

A Letter to Blade (A Review of "Playing Dead")


I remember you told me, "I'm going to blitz your mind".

Well that's what happened Blade . I was not that sure at first when you started telling me things about how to stay down, being invisible or the way you put it, "Playing Dead" . I was having trouble following you around the city that you knew so well because I'm not so sure why we are hiding on the first place. At the age of 14, you seemed so troub
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I love the style of it; the way Blade speaks directly to the reader. It draws you, not only into the book, but into the city, right next to Blade. Plus the short, sharp sentences keep the suspense up and reflect the panic/intensity of the situations he gets in. And who honestly always talks in long, laborious sentences in a casual conversation? Very realistic writing style. Loved it :-)

As a character, it's obvious that Blade has a tendency towards violence. But t
Kyle Purcell
Block E

I would recommend the book blade by Tim Bowler to a friend because it is an exciting story about survival, staying invisible, and that you cant run from your past.
Blade is a book about a teenager who is just trying to survive in the big city. When he is doing this he is faced with difficult challenges. Most that threaten characters lives. He is hated by gangs both male and female. This made the book rather exciting The book is exciting because of its suspense.
Mani Sundararajan
Blade Playing Dead was written by Tim Bowler. This is an interesting drama which is about a boy who is alone and living on the streets of the United Kingdom trying to survive. He steals, lies, and tricks people to get what he wants. Something that really interested me was the main character is going to the story while talking to the reader. He refers to the reader at many points in the book "I know what you’re thinking" and other phrases. He is telling the story to the reader and I liked this be ...more
“Trust no one,” A quote frequently used. Blade; Playing Dead by TIm Bowler is a very interesting drama. This book teaches a lot about knowing what is the right and wrong thing to do at very serious situations and teaches self-control.
Everyone has experienced a time where you feel like something bad is going to happen. With Blade, it’s a gift. He senses everything. “Otherwise silence, in the house, around the house. But it’s still not right. I’ve felt this before, many times, and I’m never wron
Sue Murdoch
I just could not put this down! The way Blade speaks to the reader really makes you feel that you are in that dark street trying to escape with Becky and Jaz. We know that Blade has the capacity to be violent, but something tells us that he's not all bad and that somewhere in the past is the reason for all of this; his life is one of constantly being alert, staying in the shadows and one step ahead, but that moral compass pulls him back to something. Blade's character elicits a range of emotions ...more
Chris Winter
A 14 year old boy that goes by the name of Blade lives on his own in a city he knows like the back of his hand. He has been living on the streets for some time now, so he has learned to notice the slightest details. Anything and everything that goes on, he is aware of. Playing Dead by Tim Bowler is a book that keeps throwing things at you and making twists in your head. It is told from the first person point of view. His tactic for surviving is; don’t trust anyone and stay hidden. While hiding f ...more
Es difícil de decir qué me hizo sentir este libro. Es prácticamente una introducción muy, muy pequeña que me hace querer leer más, pues aún al final existen muchos secretos y el inicio de una historia. No me fascina que, siendo una historia que podría tener un buen provecho, esté dividido en pedacitos.
Por otra parte, me agrada como Blade interactúa con el lector. Hubo momentos en los que me sentí detrás de él, escondiéndonos de las personas que lo persiguen, siguiendo sus ordenes. No sé si se d
Blade is a captivating book about a 14 year old boy who essentially is a killer an thief. While this book may be hard to follow at some points in the book, it is an easy and thrilling book. This book left me wondering what happened. This is not a book for people who only read the first book of a series. In order to find out what happens and I all ends up well you have to read the sequel to this book, Out of The Shadows. I highly recommend this book to people who like odd books and an easy read t ...more
Blade has learned to survive. Alone in The City, he has studied every nook and cranny, staking out the whole community just to find a place to sleep. He has an arsenal of snugs, or homes, knows when their owners are absent and uses the places undetected. These days, his goal is to be invisible in The City. But he has a dark secret. It involves his skill with the knife, and it’s coming back to haunt him.
Blade: Playing Dead is the first in a series of books about a homeless teen in an unnamed UK
Derek Hunter
Ms. Romaniuk
Reading/LA, Book review #1
21 September 2010
Blade: Playing Dead
A Wonder with the knife
Can you imagine living on your own at age fourteen stealing, getting beaten up well that is the life of blade? Blade is a young delinquent stealing for money so he can buy food and eat. There are many gangs that Blade must avoid. The only time he is not watching everywhere around him that is when he gets caught. When Blade gets caught it is not a pretty sight. When an incident happens Bl
Blade is running from his past but he gives few clues throughout the book to what that past entails. Blade lives in an unnamed British city, he is homeless, and he breaks into houses and apartments just to sleep, shower, eat, and read books, which helps to humanize him. The writing style is reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange with short, choppy sentences, an unusual slang, and the first person narration is directed at someone he calls “Big Eyes.” The short sentences contribute to the excitement an ...more
Kinch Roussell
I think Blade Playing Dead was a okay book. I feel like the book was kinda slow at first but really picked up at the end. I didn't rate the book any higher was because I did't like how they left you hanging. They didn't give you and more background or history on blade and that really
ruined the book for me. I would recommend this book to some friends mainly because they have another book to follow up.
Summary of book
It's mainly about a young kid who doesn't have a family and is in trouble of so
Blade has been hiding in London for a while, hiding from his past. his past catches up to him though, in the form of thugs who are trying to take him back.

Then he meets Becky, and gets tangled into her life. Becky wants to get away and Blade says he'll help. Becky has some secrets she's keeping from him.

It took so long to figure out what Blade is saying, I wasn't really a fan. He talks to you and there's lots of excitement and danger, but on the whole, I didn't care.
Mar 03, 2015 Deborah added it
Shelves: reviewed, 2015
The book's greatest strength is its engaging prose and unique vocabulary. Open to the middle of the story and you'll have no idea what the narrator is saying, but read to that point and it'll make sense. Kind of. Enough to keep you going.

It raised a lot more questions than it answered, though, so that the ending felt unsatisfying. I'm not sorry I read it but did not like it enough to seek out the sequels.
This story is written from an unusual first-person viewpoint that sustains the pace of the story. It's a fast read and well written for it's market audience of YA's. Blade is a teen, living on the streets but the story isn't just about his survival, there is obviously much more going on. No plot spoilers here!

Recommended to Y9-13 and it is the first of a series, so you can read on if you enjoy it.
Instantly tense and engaging, this was a surprising thriller. As Blade speaks directly to the reader, Bowler spins an action packed story that takes surprising twists in the seedy world at the bottom of the British social ladder. Chapters are short, descriptions are economical, character development is nil. UK slang peppers the book, which might slow some truly struggling American readers, but generally adds to the flavor of the story. The conclusion came up a bit short for me, but the velocity ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I think Tim Bowler wrote this as a thrilling adventurous tail. It is a fun story with a lot a twists and turns that keep you on the edge of your seat. In the book the main character, Blade, spends most of the time trying to get away from his past, and in the end it came back to bite him in the butt. Bowler tries to show us that if in the past you have made mistakes, it is wise to just stand up strong and take care of it so it doesn't become a problem for you forever. I am under the impression t ...more
Craig Simpson
I have to confess that until last year, I'd not read Tim's work. I bumped into him at the Norfolk Kids Lit Festival at which we were both appearing. As part of his session he did a reading - the first chapter or so of Blade. I loved the originality of the voice. Very stylish and in-your-face just as he intended.
Artin Hakobyan
Blade is about a fourteen year old homeless kid with a past that he mostly keeps a secret. 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 not home. But one day things go wrong. First, he is tracked down and beaten by a group of teenage 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 want Blade. Soon he gets on the run, with six ...more
It was okay, but I don't know if I'm going to read the entire series...good, but not necessarily notable.
Plus, it was so unresolved in places that you feel like you skipped to the second book. They needed to add more info about past to keep the reader drawn in. And the ending...I was like ?!?!?!?!?
I really think you should read this book because it is super interesting and will keep you on the edge of your seat. The characters seem real and the challenges they face are full of thrills and surprises.
Thomas Torrens
I thought this book was boring in the beginning it started picking up near the end. I did not like the ending very much, there were a lot of twists in the end and overall it was a confusing book. The beginning was very shady and did not explain the main character, it made him even more mysterious than he already was. There wasn't much excitement in the beginning, I am a person that likes excitement. I didn't like the story line it was so different and it did not explain itself very well at all. ...more
Justin Alfonso
The main character is a teenager who calls himself Blade. Blade was a trouble maker his whole life. when he was little he had fun playing in the middle of the road and trying to see how many cars he could stop. He had to learn how to survive on his own in the streets. once he got older he realized that life wasn't as easy as he thought.After roaming the streets for a while he felt like he was being watched,it turned out he was being watched.He gets beat up and left in a parking lot. An old woman ...more
Nov 02, 2012 Rory added it
Blade wanted to remain hidden but people from his past found him so he started to run with a girl that got in trouble with him and his whole world started crumbling apart and he realized his past would always be in his future. i thought the book was a very good suspenseful story. At one point Blade was watching some grunts from a ditch, and one came up behind him and just stood there. You never know what's going to happen next. He could attack Blade, walk past him, or Blade could have attacked t ...more
I didn't like this book. It was good at first, but then towards the end, it just kept on getting worse, I didn't like how he was talking to you (me) the whole time, it just didn't give me any excitement. Others may like it, but I don't.
I was really into this book, so I would give this a book a chance. I recommend this book to Georgianna Tikluk. She was wanting to read this book for awhile. Terrel Lord was reading this book at the time, so Georgianna did not want to interrupt his good reading time. Terrel was also into this book. That is why I moved it on to him to get him interested into the awesomeness "Blade Series". Now he's onto the second one. I would also recommend this book to Nicholas Gordon. It seems like he is into " ...more
Gustavo Macias
1) This book was made for people who like thriller that keeps throwing more at you.

2) I give it 3 stars.

3)I feel that blade should have know that he couldn't have helped anyone in his situation. I would like to know a little more about his past, but in my opinion he made almost perfect choices with what he knew at the time except leaving them alone.I also don't like how he couldn't tell the lie when in the beginning he could tell if anyone was not telling the truth.

4) Blade show's us that it do
Gwyn Ryan
Blade knows the city better than anyone. He knows how to escape, how to hide, how to go unnoticed. But when he meets Becky and her daughter Jaz, everything changes. Because now they all have people after them, and it looks like Blade's past and Becky's past have joined forces, and there's nowhere left to run. This was actually really good, fast-paced, gritty and realistic. But it's very dark and depressing. It's the first in a series, and I don't know if I'll continue or not. On the one hand - r ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 26 27 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Death of Jayson Porter
  • La nuit du 3 août (XIII, #7)
  • Itchcraft (Itch, #3)
  • Days of Little Texas
  • The Prisoner's Gold (The Hunters #3)
  • Exposure (Paul Faustino, #3)
  • The Hit List (Ashley Arthur, #2)
  • The Losers Omnibus, Vol. 2
  • Dragon's Claw (Modesty Blaise, #9)
  • Killing God
  • Gravbøygen våkner (Alvetegnet, #1)
  • Vigil: A Novel
  • MetaWars: Battle Of The Immortal (MetaWars 3.0)
  • A Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • Deadfall (Agent 21, #4)
  • The Martyr's Curse (Ben Hope, #11)
  • Jimmy Coates: Blackout (Jimmy Coates, #7)
  • Finding Lubchenko (Lubchenko, #1)
Tim Bowler is one of the UK’s most compelling and original writers for teenagers. He was born in Leigh-on-Sea and after studying Swedish at University he worked in forestry, the timber trade, teaching and translating before becoming a full-time writer. He lives with his wife in a small village in Devon and his workroom is an old stone outhouse known to friends as ‘Tim’s Bolthole’.

Tim has written t
More about Tim Bowler...

Other Books in the Series

Blade (8 books)
  • Blade: Out of the Shadows
  • Breaking Free (Blade, #3)
  • Running Scared  (Blade, #4)
  • Fighting Back (Blade, #5)
  • Mixing It (Blade, #6)
  • Cutting Loose (Blade, #7)
  • Risking All (Blade, #8)

Share This Book