A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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What's the story?
Alex Rider has lived with his uncle Ian since his parents were killed in an accident when he was an infant. Now Ian has died in an accident as well, but as Alex looks deeper he finds that everything he knew about his uncle was a lie. He wasn't a banker, he was a spy for Britain's MI6, and his death was no accident. Now MI6 wants Alex to spy for them as well, and they won't take no for an answer. Though he is only 14, he discovers that his uncle was training him for spying his whole life.
Billionaire Herod Sayle is donating his state-of-the-art computers to every school in England. But MI6 is suspicious of his motives, and Ian was killed while investigating him. Now they want to send Alex in to find out what is going on behind the guarded fences of Sayle Enterprises.
Is it any good?
Doing a serious review of something like this verges on the ridiculous; this is like a Bond movie for kids -- just for fun. Full of action, suspense, thrill-a-minute adventure, gadgets, and a massively competent kid who saves the world through brains, guts, and martial arts, it keeps young readers enthralled. For what it means to be it is very well done, and is especially good for reluctant readers.
Don't look here for literary value, clever dialogue, character development, logic, or sense. Don't bother with suspending disbelief: You have to stick it in a bag filled with concrete and sink it in the nearest river (or perhaps put it in a tank with a giant poisonous jellyfish, as is done to Alex at one point). But the target audience won't have any trouble suspending disbelief -- they'll eat up every second and beg for more.
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For kids who love adventures
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