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Crocodile Tears (Alex Rider) Paperback – November 16, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6–10—Alex Rider is only 14, but that hasn't stopped MI6, the British espionage organization, from recruiting him for dangerous missions. Here, Alex is enlisted in a seemingly quick and easy mission of downloading computer data while on a school trip to a lab immersed in the genetic engineering of plants. While there, he discovers a sinister plot involving a criminal turned preacher and philanthropist. As in the earlier installments, the book is chock-full of excitement and suspense from the first page to the last. It starts with a bomb at a nuclear plant in India, and along the way there is a charity black-tie card game, poison needles, car crashes, bullets, and exploding gel pens. Most of the backstory is explained, so no prior knowledge of the earlier books is necessary. Great for reluctant readers.—Jake Pettit, Thompson Valley High School, Loveland, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Alex Rider, teenage British secret service agent, returns. This time, a wealthy villain schemes to make millions by creating disasters and then pocketing the money from false relief agencies. Alex discovers the bad guy’s plan to cause famine in Africa, but he is able to expose the fake philanthropist, although he is nearly fed to hungry crocs in the process. Horowitz's series remains on top of the growing genre of YA novels that feature intelligence agencies employing teenagers. He knows how to pace a thriller and delivers one exciting scene after another. Alex Rider fans will rejoice. Grades 6-9. --Todd Morning --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
After all, Alex is my favorite teen spy, and the one that truly kicked off a lot of the action-packed series that have since jumped on board. For the uninitiated, and with the books selling in the millions of copies so I can't believe there can be many of those left, Alex is a fourteen year old boy who lives in London and sometimes works with MI-6, Great Britain's version of the CIA. They love using him because he's young and generally slides beneath the radar of the bad guys. But Alex is a totally hardcore when it comes to martial arts and feats of derring-do.
Usually Alex gets recruited into a mission for MI-6 through some bit of backhanded blackmail, but in this one he inadvertently steps afoul of Desmond McCain (our villain) and ends up first in the sights of a sharpshooter, then at the eye of the storm McCain unleashes on him. The fact that Alex involved himself in so much of the bad guy's overall plot was different, and it makes sense given that Alex is the kind of kid that he is. Most boys his age wouldn't walk away from a mystery or a grievance either, and would look for ways to strike back.
The action in this one is over-the-top stuff that would make great cinematography. Hopefully someone will again pick up the Alex Rider film franchise and give it another go. The series really deserves that, and this would be an excellent story to film from.
Another facet of the stories that I enjoy is the science that goes into the bad guys' plots. In Crocodile Tears, it's genetically modified foods and the threat they pose to Third World countries, as well as to the rest of the planet. The plot doesn't bog down with heavy explanations, but there's enough there to send curious young readers (and possibly older ones) scurrying to Wikipedia or the Internet for answers.
Strangely, the spy gizmos in this novel seem to be toned down. There really isn't much here from Smithers, and quite frankly I was a bit disappointed. I love when Smithers takes the stage, because it's quite a lot like dealing with Q in the lab in one of the James Bond films. Usually Smithers does a lot with designing hardware for Alex that looks like teen-centric stuff.
Overall, I was really happy with the book. The action flowed quite nicely, and the dangerous parts were exciting. I loved the rooftop race with the ductwork and the time when Alex hung suspended over the hungry crocodiles.
Horowitz has maintained that Alex would never be older than fourteen and be a spy. At the end of this book, Alex's fifteenth birthday is only a few days away. I really don't want the series to end and I hope that Alex gets suited back up once more really soon.
A Grateful Mom
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Like their isn't many people living in kikuyu and a GM crop that you can avoid isn't worth the fight.