Recommended for ages 9-12
Ever imagine you were a top-level spy? Fourteen-year-old Alex Rider never had. But he finds himself becoming one anyway, in the first Alex Rider book, Stormbreaker, by Anthony Horowitz.
Alex’s uncle, who raised him, gets killed in a car accident. He supposedly wasn’t wearing his seatbelt, but Alex knows something is amiss. His uncle was the last person who would ever ride without his seatbelt on…
After school, Alex makes his way to the junkyard, to examine the car for himself, and he nearly gets killed. Thus begins his sudden career as a spy for M16, Britain’s top intelligence agency.
The next two weeks are devoted to tough special forces training. He is thrown in with grown men, having to run obstacle courses and doing what they do, with no special treatment. One of the men, Wolf, seems to want to cause trouble for him, and Alex is almost severely injured in an explosion because of something Wolf does to him.
After training, Alex gets sent off to the headquarters of Sayle Enterprises, a company run by Herod Sayle, a man who appears to the world to be a fine humanitarian. His generous gift to the world will be to make sure every school in the country gets one of his new, advanced, Stormbreaker computers.
Yet all is not as it seems. While investigating Mr. Sayle and his supposedly humanitarian company, Alex’s uncle Ian was killed in the line of duty. Alex’s job is to pick up where his uncle left off. His mission is to discover the secret behind the computers, and what will really happen on the day when they all go online at the same time.
Kids who love adventure will jump into this story, which is full of suspense and action. Alex gets chased, attacked by a giant jellyfish, shot at, and nearly drowns swimming underwater in the dark. There are surprises popping up all the time, and Alex is put to the limits of his intellectual and physical abilities.
The book reads like a suspense thriller, and it’s hard to put down. Reluctant readers will get drawn into the activity and want to continue with the rest of the series.
Recommended for ages 9 to12, it does include some violence, although Alex himself refuses to do any killing. Kids will feel like they have almost been spies themselves, after reading the first Alex Rider book, Stormbreaker, by Anthony Horowitz.