Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Stormbreaker - by Anthony Horowitz

I have a confession to make; until this week, I have never read any of the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz. I hadn’t even heard of the Alex Rider series until about a year ago (I know, for shame!) I finally picked the first novel in the series up and read it.

Stormbreaker begins with fourteen-year-old Alex Rider learning from a police officer that his Uncle Ian (who happens to also be his guardian) has been killed in a car accident because he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt. This strikes Alex as odd because his Uncle was a careful banker who always insisted that he wear his seatbelt. After some lucky investigation, Alex discovers his uncle’s car in a junkyard riddled with bullet holes and he knows his uncle was murdered. His Uncle’s coworker asks Alex to meet him and his office downtown to discuss his financial situation. When he leaves Alex alone in his office, Alex can’t resist temptation and jumps out of the 15-story-high window onto a flagpole and then into his Uncle’s old office. There he discovers Ian Rider was really a spy working for a secret government agency called MI6. Alex had been setup to see if he was spy material. The folks at MI6 want him on the same case that his uncle was working on when he was killed. Alex tells them he’s not interested, but they insist stating that they are his new guardians and they have control over his finances so he has no choice. Alex reluctantly agrees and is thrown into training.

This series is being called the James Bond for teenagers, and I agree with that description. Alex has cool gadgets that don’t exist in real life and he escapes all sorts of impossible situations. The plot is preposterous, but it’s interesting and fast-paced and kids love it. I’m sure many will be waiting in line for the Stormbreaker movie being released this fall. Here’s the movie poster.

The graphic novel version of Stormbreaker will be released in October.

Overall, I thought Alex was a bit of a flat character. He does struggle with not wanting to murder anyone (although there’s still plenty of murder in the book), but he doesn’t struggle with the fact that he’s been orphaned. Perhaps that’s for later books in the series.

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