The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp Book Poster Image

The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp

(i)

 

Likable loser tries to save world in action-packed novel.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Good choice for reluctant readers: This ain't made for English class, but rather to remind young teen boys how much fun reading can be -- and it does so admirably.

Positive messages

Alfred tries to fix what he has messed up -- and save the world.

Positive role models

Alfred is a loveable loser who makes a pretty major mistake -- but then does work hard to correct his error (and, you know, save the world along the way).

Violence

This is a fantasy adventure, but there is lots and, while not graphically described, somewhat extreme -- beheadings, eye-gouging, throat stabbing, disembowelment, death by sword, knife, gun, arrow, and explosion. The teen hero shoots one man in the kneecap and beheads another.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

One mild epithet.

Consumerism

Names of fast food restaurants, sodas, cars, and clothing labels mentioned.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking of wine and brandy.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there is a lot of rather extreme violence referred to in this fantasy adventure. Though not graphically described, there are many deaths by beheadings, a throat stabbing, and a disembowelment -- plus weapons and explosions. In addition, names of fast food restaurants, sodas, cars, and clothing labels are mentioned. But Alfred is a loveable loser who makes a pretty major mistake -- but then does work hard to correct his error (and, you know, save the world along the way). This could be a good choice for reluctant readers: This ain't made for English class, but rather to remind young teen boys how much fun reading can be -- and it does so admirably.

What's the story?

Oversized, clumsy, luckless, untalented, unmotivated, slow-witted Alfred has not had it easy. His father disappeared when he was a baby, his mother died of cancer, and his guardian, Uncle Farrell, is a night watchman with big dreams and a small mind. When Farrell forces him to help steal a valuable sword, neither of them know that it is Excalibur, the most powerful weapon on earth -- or that their employer plans to use it to rule the world. Swept up into a world of international intrigue that combines black ops agents in attack helicopters with medieval knights who fight with swords but drive Ferraris and motorcycles, Alfred stumbles forward trying to fix what he has messed up, only to see nearly everyone around him get killed. But there are secrets within secrets, including why Alfred is involved in this at all.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Though well-written, this book doesn't withstand literary, or even logical, scrutiny. There's been an interesting trend in kids' books in the last few years toward stories that are the literary equivalent of The Terminator movies -- well-made, cinematic, edgy, violent action-adventure thrillers that are just pure, ridiculous fun. This book is one of those. But that doesn't matter, because the story carries the reader along so rapidly, and with so much satisfaction and pleasure, that harping on its flaws seems positively curmudgeonly. This ain't made for English class; it's made to remind young teen boys how much fun reading can be -- and it does so admirably.

From its terrific opening hook to its obviously-this-is-going-to-be-a-series ending, this has what many young readers are looking for: a mystery, a bit of fantasy, humor, nonstop action, violence edgy enough to be cool and bug your parents, a nice array of weapons, cars, and planes, and, of course, a likable orphaned loser as the protagonist. Only at the climax does the author lose focus for an instant, making the resolution a bit fuzzy. Otherwise, this is high-quality escapism -- let's hope more is on the way.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the book's protagonist. Does he seem like your typical hero? What other sort of awkward, slow heroes have you read about or seen in movies? What's appealing about these characters?

  • What did you think of the violence here? This book includes deaths by beheading as well as a throat stabbing and a disembowelment. Does the rather fantastical premise make this gritty material easier to handle?

Book details

Author:Rick Yancey
Genre:Adventure
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:January 16, 2006
Number of pages:339
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17

This review of The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old April 25, 2010
I didn't care for this book because to me it wasn't very actiony if you know what I mean.It did sound better with recording reading it than are teacher.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written bymkalv February 26, 2009

I loved this modern mythical adventure!

This is a modern fantasy starring a realistic teenager that involves car chases, sword-fights, and other cool things. However, I found the violence a little strong. A must read for teens.
Teen, 13 years old Written byEpicPerson June 21, 2011

Yancey's so awesome

This book is a great book for teens! It has a lot of violence, but it is terrific! Teens will get hooked in this novel! It's also a series. Loved this book!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much consumerism

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