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Stormbreaker (Alex Rider) Paperback – February 16, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Readers will cheer for Alex Rider, the 14-year-old hero of British author Horowitz's spy thriller (the first in a projected series). When his guardian and uncle, Ian, is mysteriously killed, Alex discovers that his uncle was not the bank vice-president he purported to be, but rather a spy for the British government. Now the government wants Alex to take over his uncle's mission: investigating Sayle Enterprises, the makers of a revolutionary computer called Stormbreaker. The company's head plans to donate one to every secondary school in England, but his dealings with unfriendly countries and Ian Rider's murder have brought him under suspicion. Posing as a teenage computer whiz who's won a Stormbreaker promotional contest, Alex enters the factory and immediately finds clues from his uncle. Satirical names abound (e.g., Mr. Grin, Mr. Sayle's brutish butler, is so named for the scars he received from a circus knife-throwing act gone wrong) and the hard-boiled language is equally outrageous ("It was a soft gray night with a half-moon forming a perfect D in the sky. D for what, Alex wondered. Danger? Discovery? Or disaster?"). These exaggerations only add to the fun, as do the creative gadgets that Alex uses, including a metal-munching cream described as "Zit-Clean. For Healthier Skin." The ultimate mystery may be a bit of a letdown, but that won't stop readers from racing through Alex's adventures, from a high-speed bike chase to a death-defying dance with a Portuguese man-of-war. The audience will stay tuned for his next assignment, Point Blanc, due out spring 2002. Ages 10-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-9-Alex Rider's world is turned upside down when he discovers that his uncle and guardian has been murdered. The 14-year-old makes one discovery after another until he is sucked into his uncle's undercover world. The Special Operations Division of M16, his uncle's real employer, blackmails the teen into serving England. After two short weeks of training, Alex is equipped with several special toys like a Game Boy with unique cartridges that allow it to scan, fax, and emit smoke bombs. Alex's mission is to complete his uncle's last assignment, to discover the secret that Herod Sayle is hiding behind his generous donation of one of his supercomputers to every school in the country. When Alex enters Sayle's compound in Port Tallon, he discovers a strange world of secrets and villains including Mr. Grin, an ex-circus knife catcher, and Yassen Gregorovich, professional hit man. The novel provides bang after bang as Alex experiences and survives unbelievably dangerous episodes and eventually crashes through the roof of the Science Museum to save the day. Alex is a strong, smart hero. If readers consider luck the ruling factor in his universe, they will love this James Bond-style adventure. With short cliff-hanger chapters and its breathless pace, it is an excellent choice for reluctant readers. Warning: Suspend reality.

Lynn Bryant, formerly at Navarre High School, FL

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 0670 (What's this?)
  • Series: Alex Rider
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books (February 16, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142406112
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142406113
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (553 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

222 of 227 people found the following review helpful By Julia Flyte TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 9, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am coming late to the Alex Rider series as my oldest son is only seven. This is the second Alex Rider book that I've read, for the purpose of understanding when my spy-obsessed son might be old enough to start reading the series.

I enjoyed reading this book. It obviously lacks the complexity and depth of a book written for adults, but it is still a fast paced and enjoyable thriller that borrows heavily on the James Bond and Mission Impossible franchises. Alex Rider makes a likable hero who is brave, tenacious and resourceful.

I would feel comfortable giving it to my son to read when he's a little older - my gut feel is 9-10 years would be about right. He still needs to strengthen his reading skills (words like interrogation, hyperventilating, cloying, claustrophobic and exquisite are typical), but also to develop the maturity to cope with a plot that involves a fair amount of violence (the book opens with the death of Alex's uncle and bad guys get shot on a regular basis).

Here are some things that parents may like to know about this book:
- The storyline is reasonably simple and the bad guy/good guy lines are clearly drawn.
- Violence is not described in overly graphic detail, but it does occur throughout the book. Alex fires a gun twice and hits a bad guy on one occasion. He also causes the death of another villain by causing a plane crash.
- There is no swearing or bad language.
- There is a noticeable absence of positive female characters (unless you count the housekeeper who barely appears). There is a reference by the MI5 (the English equivalent of the FBI) regarding female agents predominantly being of use if you need to slip someone in as a secretary or receptionist.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By H. S. Wedekind VINE VOICE on April 28, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't remember how I got hooked on the Alex Rider Adventure books, but I'm glad I did. Alex is an unusual fourteen-year-old with many skills: he is fluent in French, Spanish, and German...has the ability to drive a Quad...a Blackbelt in karate...can play snooker like Minnesota Fats plays pool...and has a nose for danger...AND a sense of humor! He usually finds himself up against the wealthiest, nastiest, cold-blooded villains this side of James Bond. Alex is also the youngest special agent MI6 (British Intelligence) has ever had. Put all that and more in a fast-paced, action-packed, page-turner of a novel and you can't lose. Mr. Horowitz has developed a likeable and interesting hero. I hope he continues writing more of these wonderful books. I think adults would enjoy reading about Alex, too.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 30, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Story: Alex Rider, a 14 year old boy, wakes up only to find that his uncle, who he was staying with and like a father to him, is dead. The police say it was a car accident. Alex doesn't buy it though. The obvious damage and bullet holes in the car his uncle was in at the time prove something's wrong with the police's story. Why would they lie though? Why would anyone want to kill a bank manager? Alex finds out more than he asked for. His uncle was working for a military intelligence called MI6. He was a "secret agent" as you might say. Now Alex has to summon all his courage to complete his uncle's final mission. In his adventure, he finds himself trapped many times. How will he get out? During the entire book, many questions race through the reader and Alex's minds. Why was there any need for his uncle to die? What did he discover? What will Alex discover? And more importantly, will Alex have to die too for what he finds?
Comments: This was a very suspenseful and action-filled book. There was truly hardly a boring moment. Nearly every minute of the book was full of heartpounding action and shocking heartstopping suspense. There can be some confusion to some, but other than that, it can also explain things rather well. The plot is excellent, full of unexpected twists and turns, but not as good as the action and the way the book is written. Right when you think it's over, it's not. It's impossibly hard to guess what happens next. You're literally at the edge of your seat by the 3rd chapter! If not at the 3rd chapter, somewhere else in the book! I'd say it was one of the most exciting, suspenseful, and non-boring books I've ever read. Stormbreaker is a mix of James Bond, Alias, and a mystery. Good mixure indeed. Read it today!!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mel Odom VINE VOICE on July 25, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
When fourteen year-old Alex Rider hears of his uncle's tragic death in an auto accident, he becomes immediately suspicious. Ian Rider had been a banker, a very careful man. He was also Alex's only living relative. Following up on his uncle's car, Alex discovers that the car is at a junkyard and is sporting dozens of bullet holes and blood on the seats that proves his uncle was murdered. So who killed Ian Rider and covered the act up? And why? Alex's quest for the truth introduces him to Alan Blunt, a spymaster for Great Britain's MI6 espionage agency. Caught while seeking further information, Alex is blackmailed by Blunt into becoming the youngest spy to ever work for MI6. Herod Sayles, a multi-millionaire, is giving away thousands of his newest computer, Stormbreaker, to the children of London's schools. Ian Rider was investigating the man and those machines when he was killed. If Alex doesn't agree to undertake the mission, Blunt promises that he will be sent off to an orphan's home, and that his housekeeper, Jack Starbright, will be deported back to America. Before he can adjust to getting blackmailed, Alex is sent on a three-week crash course training with SAS commandos. Yanked out of training, Alex is thrown headlong into the grinning jaws of death where he will meet a spectacular array of villains, including Mr. Grin who has had his face disfigured during a throwing knife accident in a circus, and a huge jellyfish.
Anthony Horowitz is a successful writer of novels and television shows. His second Alex Rider novel, POINT BLANK, is out this year. In addition, he's written historical thrillers, THE SINISTER SECRET OF FREDERICK K. BOWER and THE DEVIL AND HIS BOY.
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