Monday 27 April 2009

Books: The Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz

As an adult, I’m not at all ashamed to admit that Anthony Horowitz is one of my favourite authors. In the space of ten months, I have read eight of his books which used to be more books than I consumed in an entire year! Anthony Horowitz may write for a young adult audience but his fast-paced, imaginative and explosive books are great for reading on the train, when I am not working or when I am not reading up on wars and other non-fiction stories.

The first book in the Alex Rider series is called Stormbreaker. Alex Rider’s uncle and guardian Ian dies in suspicious circumstances and on investigating his death, Alex is taken by MI6 and blackmailed into becoming an operative for them. He learns that his uncle had been training him to be a spy his entire life and after training with the SAS, Alex’s first mission is to investigate Darrius Sayle who plans to donate one of his new Stormbreaker computers to every school in Britain.

Like his Power of Five series, this book follows a break-neck pace and is fast, daring and imaginative. Like the Daily Mirror said, “being James Bond in miniature is way cooler than being a wizard”.

Rating: vc-hot-4star

Mere weeks after the events of Stormbreaker, Alex gets into trouble trying to singlehandedly apprehend a local drug dealer. Once again, he is brought in by MI6 and blackmailed into working for them. So begins the second instalment in the Alex Rider series, Point Blanc. Posing as Alex Friend, son of a major retailer, Alex is sent to the mysterious Point Blanc academy in France to investigate the only lead in the deaths of two prominent business men.

Once again, the book is explosive and it is no wonder The Times had advised to “prepare for action scenes as fast as a movie”.

Rating: vc-hot-4star

Despite enjoying the pace and adventure of the first two books, I had been slightly disappointed with the Alex Rider series so far. It certainly wasn’t the Power of Five series and I felt something was missing. Nevertheless, after a 6 month break, I decided to try another Alex Rider book in March of this year.

I am so glad that I did!! Anthony Horowitz really comes into his own with this book. He retains the pace, adventure and intrigue of the first two stories but for the first time, you get real character development and you start to really identify with Alex Rider.

I absolutely loved this book, I adored the Cuban setting and I liked the portrayal of the “bad guys” in the book. After reading this book I can firmly say that I recommend the Alex Rider series to people young and old and to fans of the Power of Five series and of young adult fiction.

In the book, Alex Rider starts off with a simple enough mission at Wimbledon during the tennis, but is then palmed off on a joint-CIA mission when it becomes too dangerous for him to remain in England. He is to help the CIA in their attempt to investigate the suspicious Russian ex-general Alexei Sarov and his movements on the island of Skeleton Key. Alex is meant to simply accompany the CIA agents so that they can appear to be a family unit but as usual, nothing is ever that simple in the world of Alex Rider.


Eagle Strike is the fourth book in the Alex Rider series and it is the most ambitious book so far. Whilst holidaying in the South of France, Alex’s hosts are subjected to a horrifying and vicious attack. Alex recognises his old enemy, Yassen Gregorovich, the man who killed his uncle and he realises that this is the man behind the attacks.

Alex takes what he knows to MI6 but this time they are not interested. Alex is left out in the cold and it is up to him to find out what is going on and once again to save the world.

This is a brilliant and explosive book and I couldn't put it down! I am looking forward to the rest of the books in the series and I believe that the rest of the series in on an equal par with the Power of Five series (which Anthony Horowitz only began writing after the fifth Alex Rider book).

Rating: vc-hot-5star

And so concludes my review of the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz. Read the books, I highly recommend it!



  1. Hi Emm, I must say I was dissapointed by this book. I didn't like it very much to be quite frank, I saw the movie of it a week ago and I thought that was horrible. I like Anthony Horowitz's Power of Five but I don't like this one.

  2. Hi Pizza! Yes, I know you were quite dissapointed in Stormbreaker. I really recommend that you carry on though - even if you skip Point Blanc. The series really starts to get better in book 3 - Skeleton Key. By the time I got to the fourth book, Eagle Strike, I was really starting to enjoy the series. I couldn't put Eagle Strike down and finished it in 2 or 3 days!


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