The Alex Rider series, by Anthony Horowitz, has never lost me once. The books get better and better, every time! Never Say Die, the tenth book, didn’t break the pattern.
The series is about a fourteen-fifteen year old boy named Alex Rider. Alex’s parents died when he was a few weeks old, and he was sent to live with his uncle, Ian Rider, who’s secretly an MI6 agent. When Alex is seven, Jack is hired to be his caretaker, and she stays with him even after Ian dies on a mission for the British Intelligence agency. Now MI6 has taken an interest in Alex because Ian had bragged about “training” Alex. They use him in many dangerous missions, against his own will.
In Alex’s most recent mission, Jack is killed by the enemy, leaving Alex more alone than ever, though MI6 seems to be finally done with him. Never Say Die brings Alex back into the action, when he finds out that Jack might be alive after all, but realizes that finding her isn’t his only problem.
The search takes him to the Sahara Desert of Egypt. There, he learns about twin criminals who might be linked to Jack. They are about to carry out “Operation Steel Claw”. If Alex doesn’t stop them, the lives of fifty-two children could be at stake.
There are several reasons why I like this series. For one, Alex always tries to remain calm, recollect his thoughts, and come up with a solution even in the most stressful situations. In the seventh book, Snakehead, Alex’s organs are about to be sold on the black market! I don’t think I would be able to even think straight if I were in his position! I admire how Alex can immediately think up a way to get out of his seemingly impossible predicament.
This leads to another reason why I like this series so much. There is suspense on every page, with one adventure leading to the next. Even at the end of each book, there is always a hint that Alex isn’t done yet.
However, if Alex was too smart for the criminals, it would get boring. So, Anthony Horowitz pits Alex against very intelligent and creative antagonists, who will do almost anything to get what they want. In the sixth book, Ark Angel, the criminal sends a space hotel hurling into the Pentagon in order to erase his records.
Reading Alex Rider’s ongoing adventure is like listening to Tchaikovsky, with a lot of dynamics: quieter, more peaceful parts and louder and exciting parts, all put together to make a great masterpiece. I would recommend this series for readers as young as 9. These books also appeal to 14 and 15 year-olds because Alex’s age progresses from 14 to 15. I really enjoy Anthony Horowitz's writing because of his creative plots and lifelike characters. Once I outgrow the Alex Rider series, I will still be excited because there is a great selection of adult books by Anthony Horowitz, too. I hope you will give this series a try and enjoy it as much as I do.
Alex Rider: Never Say Die by Anthony Horowitz. Walker Books, 2018. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!
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