(Cover picture courtesy of Book County.)
They told him his uncle Ian died in a car accident. But fourteen-year-old Alex Rider knows that’s a lie, and the bullet holes in his uncle’s windshield confirm his suspicions. But nothing prepares him for the news that the uncle he always thought he knew was really a spy for MI6—Britain’s top-secret intelligence agency. Recruited to find his uncle’s killers and complete Ian’s final mission, Alex suddenly finds himself caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse, with no way out.
The first thing you need to know is that the Alex Rider series is basically a James Bond series for teenage boys. And you know, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are very few YA novels aimed at young boys, but Anthony Horowitz is a good writer that has tried to tap into this market. The James Bond movies depict a cold, calculating, womanizing super-spy while the Alex Rider series depicts a young boy who wants nothing more than to have a normal life. What stops Alex from becoming a true Gary Stu despite all of his talents is that he really, really does not want to be a spy.
Alex is a decent enough character, but he seems a little too perfect for my liking. He accomplishes a lot of amazing things because his uncle trained him all his life to be a spy, but he is still a bit perfect for a fourteen-year-old boy. He is admittedly a bit of a cardboard cutout, although Alex does improve as the novel progresses. The other characters like Herod Sayle, Alex Blunt and Mrs. Jones are very obviously cardboard cutouts, but what do you expect from an action book?
The plot is fast-paced and exciting, Anthony Horowitz’s writing is excellent and Alex Rider is an interesting character. I think Stormbreaker is a bit clichéd and predictable, but it was written to appeal to a completely different audience. It can be a bit violent, so I would recommend it for ages 12+.
I give this book 3/5 stars.