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Russian Roulette

I received my copy from the publisher.

russian-roulette

By: Anthony Horowitz

Prequel to Alex Rider series

Yassen Gregorovich is an international assassin, he works for an organisation that wants Alex Rider dead. Life isn’t that simple sometimes as these two people who move in international espionage circles share a secret. This is a mission that forces Yassen to remember. He is forced to look at all the things that bought him to this point, the Russian town that no longer exists, the time spent living on the streets and doing everything he had to to survive, when in his first bosses employ. Yassen was trained to be a specific type of agent and some of that training holds the secret that he shares with young Alex.

This is a dark and intense novel. A look at the forces that can shape a young man’s life and lead him to a path of destruction. Yassen goes through some really horrible experiences but he is determined, in fact that is probably his strongest trait. So many stories look at the hero, the good guy, this one looks at the bad guy. It is an incredibly fascinating read.  The world created for this is so very knowable and thus believable. The things that take Yassen to the point where he faces Alex Rider and the secret that makes the decision for him. Horowitz has given us a tale that ultimately we know the end result of but knowing makes it no less engaging. You are drawn into wanting to know how Yassen gets from who he was to what he becomes.

Fans of Alex Rider will love this.

Publisher: Walker Books Limited

Published: 12 September 2013

Format: Hardback 416 pages

Categories: Action, Adventure, Thriller

ISBN 13: 9781406350869

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page

House of Silk (Yes I know it’s not a kids book but I read Sherlock as a teenager)

By : Anthony Horowitz

November 1890 and London is in the midst of a merciless winter. Dr Watson has come to visit Holmes. During this visit a gentleman comes pleading for Holmes’ help. Intrigued by the tale he tells, a story that spans continents, Holmes and Watson find themselves drawn into a case that becomes increasingly puzzling and sinister. As they push deeper into the case they come across the phrase ‘The House of Silk’. This foe proves to be the most deadly Holmes has ever encountered and he is warned to back off. He cannot.

What started as one case splits into two and Holmes ends up somewhere neither of them ever expected. Events spiral out of control as Holmes and Watson attempt to take to lid off a conspiracy that weaves it’s way through society from the dregs to the top.

Now before you say anything I know this is not technically a YA book, I would like to add that I read Holmes when I was that age and enjoyed them, what a kid reads doesn’t always nicely fit into a kids category. The other thing to add here that Horowitz has written for many crime shows but is also the author of Alex Rider a popular kids series. It’s safe to say then that this book intrigued me on a couple of levels. As a fan of the character I wasn’t sure I wanted to pick it up in case it sucked. It didn’t.

From the moment I started reading I felt as if I was about to embark on a typical Holmes and Watson adventure. I will say here though that the crime has a far more modern feel to it, high level conspiracy and such but this is dealt with handily in the preface. For all the modern touches Horowitz has somehow managed to stay true to the feel and spirit of the Conan Doyle books.

Holmes’ mind is sharp, always holding something close to his chest, Watson as dogged as ever. There is a cameo from Moriarty and a some words with Mycroft. If you like crime and Holmes particularly then this is well worth a look. I will say however that the crime itself [spoiler! - it involves minors] puts this book into a category that means it would be best if the reader were at the older end of the YA spectrum.

Publisher: Orion

Published: 01 November 2011

Format: Paperback 304 pages

Categories: Crime Historical Crime

ISBN 13: 9781409133834

Purchase: here or use link on side of page to Booktopia

Point Blanc

By: Anthony Horowitz

Alex Rider is back and trying to fit back into school. He’s trying to juggle a double life and finding it difficult to adapt. he’s not left alone for long though as MI6 have plans for their teenage spy. This time it is Alex’s job to infiltrate the uber exclusive Point Blanc Academy. They accept only a very small number of students, troubled boys with very influential parents. But something has happened that has aroused MI6’s suspicions and they need Alex’s help. Equipped with a few new gadgets and his quick mind Alex has to get accepted in and find out what is really going on. In between getting drugged and the elaborate mind games they seem to be playing on him Alex finds himself stuck in the mountains with enemies closing in. His only way out is so risky he may not survive.

A fitting sequel to Stormbreaker. Alex’s annoyance and reluctance are creeping through and for me this makes him a more appealing character than if  he did it and loved it. There is plenty of action, some fun toys that you’ll wish you could have and plenty of the suspense you want in a spy novel. A good read for someone who likes their spy stories but has out grown Zac Power.

 

Publisher: Walker Books Ltd

Published: 01 April 2005

Format: Paperback 288 pages

Categories: Action, Thrillers

ISBN 13: 9781844280933

Purchase: here

Stormbreaker

By: Anthony Horowitz

When the doorbell rings at three in the morning, it’s never good news. The bad news for Alex Rider is that his uncle and guardian has just died. He is told that it was a car accident but the information they tell him just doesn’t ring true for Alex. His curiosity causes him to investigate an action that changes his life. One day he is an ordinary school boy the next he has been forcibly recruited by MI6 to be a spy. He’s thrown into SAS training, hastily equipped with specially designed gadgets and before he can think is off on his first mission. It’s up to Alex to discover what is really going on at Sayle Enterprises, and what is behind the gift of thousands of computers. It isn’t long before danger closes in on Alex and his first assignment could turn out to be his last.

This book is a good choice for someone who likes action, suspense and a bit of fun. Alex is the kind of guy kids want to be – who doesn’t want to be a spy? Alex actually. Horowitz has created a character who doesn’t believe all he is told and doesn’t like being treated like a kid. The things that drive Alex make him a good spy but that doesn’t make him any less reluctant to do it. Although Alex is 14 the writing style is very suitable for readers about 10 and up. Escapist fun.

 

Publisher: Walker Books Ltd

Published: 01 April 2005

Format: Paperback 240 pages

Categories: Action Thrillers

ISBN 13: 9781844280926

Purchase: here

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