by Anthony Horowitz
This book begins a series of action-packed adventures about a 14-year-old spy named Alex Rider. Alex has been raised by his uncle, Ian Rider, never knowing that Ian was an MI6 agent until the uncles violent death. Before he quite understands what is going on, Alex himself is recruited to complete his late uncles last mission.
Blackmailed into service, subjected to two weeks of brutal training, equipped with a few teen-appropriate gadgets (such as a zit cream that dissolves metal), Alex is quickly plunged into a dangerous world of assassins, conspirators, and terrorists. He has only a few clues and his own resourcefulness, daring, and athleticism to help him crack a sinister plot. And he has precious little time to stop a disaster that could wipe out an entire generation of British schoolchildren.
The Alex Rider series has every sign of being a hit among young readers who are open to a different kind of fantasy: instead of sword and sorcery, it's full of high-tech weapons and see-it-to-believe-it spy capers, carried off by a Harry Potter-sized hero. A physical action-oriented hero whose quest to avenge his Sirius Black type figure begins on page 1 of the first book and continues, presumably, through the entire series. A hero who makes do with muscles instead of magic, gadgets instead of wands, brains instead of friends, and adult spymasters who are willing to put his life on the line ON PURPOSE to achieve their own, highly classified ends.
OK, its implausible. But so is magic. And though the kind of fantasy served by this series is one that distinctly appeals to boys, I can imagine a lot of girls developing a crush on young Alex. And oddly, for a light juvenile adventure that is consciously styled in the manner of the James Bond series, you may find that this series actually has a level of maturity that 007 lacks. Dont believe me? See for yourself!
Recommended Age: 14+
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