Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz

(Cover picture courtesy of Better World Books.)

Working as a secret agent for Britain’s most exclusive agency, Alex Rider thinks he’s seen it all.  He’s been shot at by international terrorists, stood face-to-face with pure evil, and saved the world—twice.  All before his fifteenth birthday.  But Alex is about to face something more dangerous than he can imagine: a man who’s lost everything he cared for—his country, his son—a man who has a nuclear weapon, and will stop at nothing to get his world back.  Unless Alex can stop him first…

I’ll just come out and admit right now that Skeleton Key is my favourite Alex Rider book.  It’s not that the plot was more exciting or anything like that—it was the villain.  I absolutely love my villains and when there is a good villain in a story, it just improves my overall enjoyment of the book.  General Alexei Sarov is one of the great villains that I didn’t have room to include in my list, despite the fact he comes in a very close 6th.

As usual, the plot of Anthony Horowitz’s book moves along at a fast pace that will keep readers turning pages at a furious speed.  I can also vouch for Horowitz’s accuracy in his research, particularly in Alex’s scuba diving scene.  As a scuba diver, I can say with confidence that this is one of the only completely accurate diving scenes in mainstream fiction.  Just like in all of his novels, the effort Horowitz puts into research really shines through in his writing.

Truly, the only place where his writing falls flat is his characterization.  It is by no means terrible, but it does not hold up to his fast pacing or his great research.  General Sarov is a great villain, however Alex falls flat for me.  He seems a little too perfect, especially since he’s saving the world at the age of only fourteen.  Despite this little flaw, Skeleton Key is an excellent book.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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