Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz


Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz is the last book in the Alex Rider series. I have to admit I gave up on the books after Ark Angel which was 3 books ago (I think) but as with most readers, I kept with the series out of a determination to know what happened.

As it happened, the same thing happened that happens in every book- except that a relatively important minor character was killed and Alex Rider is emotionally broken. No biggie really: a shock, but I could have predicted it if I gave it some thought. And I saw it coming 50 pages away. Horowitz is a marvellous writer, and that is part of the reason I probably read the books as well, but I think he has a set pattern of writing that he tends not to deviate from with Alex Rider:
  1. Alex Rider accidentally recruited by MI6
  2. Starts Mission and all seems normal
  3. Clues point to conspiracy
  4. Conspiracy Discovered
  5. Starts to combat conspiracy but fails
  6. Taken into custody by enemies and all hope seems lost
  7. Rider has actually planned an getaway and succeeds
I suppose I should tell you the premise of the books now.

They follow a teenage boy (just turned 15 in this book) who is hired by the British Secret Service MI6 and goes on missions that only an agent who appears as a teenager could do. He was trained by his Uncle for this (unbeknownst to Alex) and is therefore a super spy and very resourceful. I won’t ruin any of the books, but they just deal with his missions and revealed conspiracies and more personal revelations.

They are good up until Scorpia which was the fifth book.

The plot of the book is straightforward and for the most part it was very predictable for me as someone who has read the other books by him. The prose is very good and Horowitz, ever objective, is a good writer that can make the book fast paced, engaging and very hard to put down.

The characters are always a good part in his books: they have suitable back stories, clear motives and a few skeletons in their closets. They are developed really well, but in 8 books, that’s hardly surprising. In fact, I feel that by this book he can’t go anywhere else with them so it is good that this is the finale. I think that he does a good job of tying up the loose ends (though there aren’t many that he carries over between books) and leaving a reader suitable satisfied that everything has been dealt with. It’d be nice to know what happens to Alex, but it’s not a pressing detail and can easily be overlooked.

There is the tiniest of bits of romance in the book but, by this point, Horowitz has cut it down to such a minimum that he only references it on a few occasions: there is actually no romance in this book.

I loved the books and, as I’ve said, I only read this one out of loyalty and the need to know what happens, no matter how dull. I’m content with the ending but overall this is a mediocre book compared to other ones: a cheap thrill, if you will. Nevertheless, it is not a bad read. Maybe I’ve just gotten tired of the books over time. I give it a 4 only because of previous like of the trilogy and Horowitz’s writing.

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