Bond, Teen Bond: ‘Stormbreaker’ by Anthony Horowitz
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If you’re a huge, massive James Bond fan then… I have nothing to say to you. Seriously. No, let me have a go. You may well ask, if the franchise does nothing for me, never has done anything for me and I am utterly at a loss to understand its persistent appeal, then why would I read or review the teen-focused proto-Bond style novel by Antony Horowitz in the first place? I hereby confess: it was part of a ‘three for the price of two’ offer in Waterstones, I’d already chosen two others and, as always with these offers, was having a bloody hard time coming up with a third option. And it came highly recommended via broadsheet reviews. That’s my excuse, anyway, and I’m sticking to it.
So you’re looking for an adventurous, rollicking teen novel, suitable for boys (or girls who fancy themselves in a tux and doing a little undercover work for HMSS. They exist)? Maybe this is the book you’ve been looking for (and especially if you can find it on the same three for two offer!)
To start off with, Alex Ryder is a boarding school student who finds himself thoroughly orphaned when the guardian who’d replaced his parents, his uncle Ian, is also killed. Alone in the world, he investigates the death: and by a mysterious chain of events, finds himself recruited as a secret agent in the service of her majesty’s government.
His induction completed, he is assigned his mission. National Security is at risk – isn’t it always in undercover agent books? – and he has to investigate the enemy, foil his secret, malign plans and win the day for Queen and country. Hurrah! All that, and discover what happened to his poor old uncle too.
The book is written in a pleasant, fast-moving but clear prose, and if not endearing Alex is at least harmless and pretty smart. (If annoyingly competent at every single thing he assays. I hate kids like that.) Secret investigations, mayhem and murder: as a fourteen year old schoolboy, how is poor old Alex going to take to it? Check the book out and find out!