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The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp Hardcover – September 15, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Grade 6-8–Astonishingly tall 15-year-old Alfred is plunged into a world of adventure, assassination, and Arthurian legend when he agrees to help his uncle filch an ancient sword from the office of a CEO who just happens to be a descendent of the Knights of the Round Table. Of course the sword turns out to be none other than Excalibur, and the guy Alfred swiped it for is Mogart, a knight-gone-bad who hopes to use its magical powers to take over the world. Enter Bennacio, another descendant of the Round Table, who then takes Alfred under his wing on a quest across the Atlantic to rescue the sword from Mogart. The descriptions of minor bits of blood and gore leave much to the imagination and will make Kropp especially appealing to fans of Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider books (Philomel), Geoffrey Huntington's Sorcerers of the Nightwing (ReganBooks, 2002), and even Darren Shan's The Saga of Darren Shan series (Little, Brown). True to its action-adventure genre, the story is lighthearted, entertaining, occasionally half-witted, but by and large fun.–Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 9-12^B. Everyone around Alfred Kropp is dying. And all because the unassuming 15-year-old took something he shouldn't have. Darned kid. Then the big lug goes on to save the world. Sound incredible? Well, not when you learn that what he's taken is Excalibur, King Arthur's sword, the most powerful weapon on earth, which has somehow survived in the custody of descendants of the original Knights of the Round Table. Of course, taking the sword is one thing; keeping it, as Alfred discovers, is quite another, especially given international forces--for good and evil--are after Excalibur, too, and they will stop at nothing to get it back. Heads literally roll in the ensuing, intensely violent and cinematic action, as Alfred discovers enough astonishing things about himself to fire a whole host of sequels, which are sure to follow. For readers willing to suspend disbelief, Yancey's first novel for YAs is a white-knuckle, page-turning read. Michael Cart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
Alfred Kropp is an orphan living with his uncle, who ropes him into a get rich scheme. That leads into an adventure involving Excalibur, the Last Knight protecting that famous sword, Agents of Darkness, and a shadowy group called OIPEP. There are car chases, bullets flying, a beautiful girl, and sword figthts - i.e. action and fun.
I liked this a lot better than the Percy Jackson series (a bit more grounded in reality- but only a bit) and not only look forward to reading the rest of the series, but am hopeful for a movie or TV series..What I particularly liked about the book (besides the action) was how it portrayed Alfred's feelings of alienation, betrayal, guilt, and honor. Something to have a good discussion about with my kids when they read this.
First things first. Many people will find this book because they liked Yancey's "The Monstrumologist" and the followup "Curse of the Wendigo", and are looking for more Yancey. The Kropp series came out before Yancey hit it big with Monstrumologist. I didn't particularly care for "The Monstrumologist"; I thought it was humorless, and the whole Victorian era America meets hyperviolent Frankenstein vibe was forced and a little overwritten. Well, the Alfred Kropp series is entirely different. It is very funny. It is not so earnestly written. It is more fun. And, it just feels more honest and authentic, (even though fantastical), than the sort of high-concept but shallow Monstrumologist.
Second things: this book is being described as white-knuckle non-stop adventure, in the style of the Horowitz Alex Rider books. Well, there is non-stop action, but not in the mindless, silly Alex Rider style. Alex Rider may be the most bland one-dimensional hero in ya action fiction. Alfred Kropp, on the other hand, is an absolute hoot, and a truly engaging personality.
And that brings us to the real appeal of this book. Alfred sees himself as a failure and a loser. But, as his first person narrative makes clear, he is insightful, thoughtful, observant, honest, rueful, and very, very funny. Throughout the course of the book the action seems to be designed to put him in the company of noble, interesting, admirable adult characters, from whom he actually learns lessons about bravery, dedication, effort and loyalty.
After all of the silliness of the plot and wild implausibility of the action, we end up with an appealing character who has entertained us through the entire adventure and who has actually grown up a little, and gained some confidence, some backbone, and some self-awareness.
What other ya "action" book can claim all that? And that's why this book is worth serious consideration.
Well worth reading. Books 2 & 3 are not required as each is a complete story (although reading 3 before 1 is not recommended).
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What I liked:
* The premise was great.Read more