Review: Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

Stormbreaker Anthony Horowitz Alex Rider
Stormbreaker Antohony Horowitz cover Alex Rider

Title: Stormbreaker 
Author: Anthony Horowitz 
Series: Alex Rider #1 
Genre: Adventure, Children 
Publication date: April 12, 2004
Rating: ★★★★ 

They told him his uncle died in an accident. He wasn't wearing his seatbelt, they said. But when fourteen-year-old Alex finds his uncle's windshield riddled with bullet holes, he knows it was no accident. What he doesn't know yet is that his uncle was killed while on a top-secret mission. But he is about to, and once he does, there is no turning back. Finding himself in the middle of terrorists, Alex must outsmart the people who want him dead. The government has given him the technology, but only he can provide the courage. Should he fail, every child in England will be murdered in cold blood.

The very first thing you should take into account when you start reading this book is that it is not written for a 16+ audience. Let alone a 20+ audience, as I know many of us belong to. If you try reading from the perspective of an eleven-year-old, this book will be a whole lot better.

The second thing you should probably know before you start reading is that none of this is realistic. There’s just no way MI6 would ever choose an ordinary teenage boy and send him on what will most likely turn out to be a suicide mission. If you can make yourself move past that, this read will be very enjoyable. If you can’t, you’ll probably hate it and I recommend you don’t even start reading it.

I read this because one of the kids I teach brought it to class and I like to know what my pupils are interested in. Plus, I’d seen the movie (which wasn’t exactly bad, but not a great success either) and Anthony Horowitz is just a great author of books for children in their early teens. And I wasn’t disappointed. Not at all. The eleven-year-old in me loved this.

This book is fast paced and has a lot of action. There’s suspense, there’s humour etc. The story has a traditional bad guy you love to hate, a Russian villain, nice tech-toys… and it all starts with a boy who suddenly finds himself all alone in the world, with no place to go and no people to care for him.

You're never too young to die.

Alex Rider is everything you want your childhood hero to be. He’s kind, he’s smart, brave, responsible, daring, just… He finds himself alone in a corporation that’s intent on killing millions of people, but he doesn’t lose his head. Instead he comes up with a plan and although the execution of it doesn’t go as planned, he keeps going. He has a great sense of justice and although he was originally blackmailed into taking the mission, he ends up fighting the Stormbreaker project because it is the right thing to do.

In the old days, spies had done they'd done because they loved their country, because they believed in what they were doing. But he'd never been given a choice. Nowadays, spies weren't employed. They were used.

The events are believable, even if they could never happen in real life. Alex has both good luck and bad luck. Things don’t just go as planned, he needs to work for it and the situation is precarious until the very last pages of the book. There’s no time for nonsense, everything is straight and to the point, as children usually love.

You should decide for yourself if you want to read this. The book is short so even if you don’t like it too much, it won’t take much of your time. You can easily finish it in a couple of hours. For young young adults this is a great book.

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