Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Readers will cheer for Alex Rider, the 14-year-old hero of British author Horowitz's spy thriller (the first in a projected series). When his guardian and uncle, Ian, is mysteriously killed, Alex discovers that his uncle was not the bank vice-president he purported to be, but rather a spy for the British government. Now the government wants Alex to take over his uncle's mission: investigating Sayle Enterprises, the makers of a revolutionary computer called Stormbreaker. The company's head plans to donate one to every secondary school in England, but his dealings with unfriendly countries and Ian Rider's murder have brought him under suspicion. Posing as a teenage computer whiz who's won a Stormbreaker promotional contest, Alex enters the factory and immediately finds clues from his uncle. Satirical names abound (e.g., Mr. Grin, Mr. Sayle's brutish butler, is so named for the scars he received from a circus knife-throwing act gone wrong) and the hard-boiled language is equally outrageous ("It was a soft gray night with a half-moon forming a perfect D in the sky. D for what, Alex wondered. Danger? Discovery? Or disaster?"). These exaggerations only add to the fun, as do the creative gadgets that Alex uses, including a metal-munching cream described as "Zit-Clean. For Healthier Skin." The ultimate mystery may be a bit of a letdown, but that won't stop readers from racing through Alex's adventures, from a high-speed bike chase to a death-defying dance with a Portuguese man-of-war. The audience will stay tuned for his next assignment, Point Blanc, due out spring 2002. Ages 10-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 5-8-British actor Nathaniel Parker does a smashing job of narrating this fast-paced thriller by Anthony Horowitz (Philomel, 2001). His voice is clear and consistent, lending dramatic flair to the overall tone of the novel. He successfully distinguishes among the story's various voices, and captures the excitement of the action and suspense. The tapes begin and end with appropriate James Bond-type music as 14-year-old Alex Rider, equipped with special training and gadgets from the government, takes over his mysteriously-killed uncle's dangerous mission. Alex encounters his share of villains and adventures as he uncovers the alarming secret behind Sayle Enterprises' new computer, Stormbreaker. First in a series, libraries will want to add this quality audiobook to their espionage collections.- Kathy Husband, Golden Library, Jefferson County Public Library, CO(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
\rtf1\ansi\deff0An ode to rampant commercialism, this is not exactly based on Anthony Horowitz's thrill-a-second novel about 14-year-old Alex Rider, who discovers that his deceased uncle was a superspy and that Alex himself must face an evil businessman and his multitude of gruesome killers. No, this graphic novel springs from the screenplay for the recent movie, which is based on the novel\emdash which, itself, is a clever compilation of James Bond movies. If it's possible, this is even more rapidly paced than the novel. Alex remains an appealing hero here, and the idea of a heroic teen up against insidious adults continues to be an extremely powerful draw for readers. The female art team casts the action in exciting manga style, and the digital colors produce an anime-like sense of depth and motion. Readers who already like Alex Rider will want this; even adventure lovers unfamiliar with the books will find it difficult to resist the hyperkinetic fun, although they may feel they have sold a bit of their souls to get it. --Jesse Karp Copyright 2006 Booklist
Horn Book Review
When Uncle Ian is murdered, Alex learns that his guardian was a spy. England's intelligence agency then drafts the fourteen-year-old to complete his uncle's work. Equipped with sophisticated gadgetry, Alex investigates a businessman who is planning a violent act of terrorism. This junior James Bond skydives, dodges bullets, and swims through underwater caves in a book that, despite its preposterous premise, is hard to put down. From HORN BOOK Fall 2001, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
What if James Bond had started spying as a teenager? This thriller pits 14-year-old Alex Rider against a mad billionaire industrialist. Non-stop action keeps the intrigue boiling as Alex tries to stop the remarkably evil Herod Sayles from murdering Britains schoolchildren through biological warfare. Alex begins as an innocent boy shocked by the death of his Uncle Ian in a traffic accident. Suspicious of the official explanation, he investigates and finds Ians car riddled with bullet holes. He narrowly escapes being crushed in the car as its demolished, then climbs out of a 15-story window to break into Ians office. He learns that Ian was a spy, and reluctantly joins Britains MI6 intelligence agency. After surviving brutal training and armed with stealthy spy tools, Alex infiltrates Sayless operation as the teenage tester of the Stormbreaker, a new computer Sayles is giving to British schools. Thereafter he survives murderous ATV drivers, an underwater swim in an abandoned mine, and an encounter with a Portuguese man-o-war jellyfish before hitching a ride on an already airborne plane. The plot is, of course, preposterous, but young readers wont care as they zoom through numerous cliffhangers. This is the first book in a series planned by the author, and may prove useful for reluctant readers looking for excitement. (Fiction. 12-14)