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September 23, 2008

Alex Rider Scorpia

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Alex Rider Scorpia

Author: Anthony Horowitz          

Page Length: 388

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Fiction        

PLOT SUMMARY: In the fifth book of the Alex Rider series, Alex is on vacation with his friend, Tom, in Italy.  Alex is trying to find out what “Scorpia” is and what it has to do with his life, as Yassen Gregorovich mentioned to him in his dying words.

Alex learns that his father was a member of Scorpia, the world’s leading terrorist organization, and was a hired assassin as Yassen was.  Mrs. Rothman, the head of Scorpia, invites Alex to become a part of the terrorist organization.  She has proof that Mrs. Jones of M16 shot and killed Alex’s father.  Alex joins the group and has his own personal vendetta to kill Mrs. Jones. 

As Alex attempts to kill Mrs. Jones, he is captured by M16 and learns the truth about Scorpia, his father, Yassen, and Mrs. Rothman.  He is then lured by M16 to help stop Mrs. Rothman’s latest project, Invisible Sword, which is a plan to kill all the middle school students of England, including Alex Rider.

REVIEW: I enjoyed this the most of the Alex Rider books I have read.  It has lots of action with many twists and turns.  It is hard to predict what the outcome will be for not only Scorpia, England, but Alex, too.  The characters are vividly developed and it is easy to form opinions about them and their personalities.

I thought this was the final book of the series, but discovered there are two more that have been published—Ark Angel and Snakehead. 

SUGGESTED TEACHING AREAS:  Leisure reading, Sequence of Events, Drawing Conclusions, Predicting Outcomes, and Making Generalizations, Descriptive Writing and Character

RELATED BOOKS: Point Blank, Stormbreaker, Skeleton Key, Scorpia, Ark Angel, and Snakehead

MOVIE, MUSIC, ART CONNECTIONS: “Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker” (2006), “Mission Impossible l, ll, and lll”, “The Bourne Identity” (2002), “The Bourne Supremacy” (2003), “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007)

RELATED WEBSITES:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scorpia

www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?inkey=1-9780142405789-0

http://turnpaige.com/2008/02/13/scorpiabyanthonyhorowitz

www.kidsreads.com/series/series-alex_rider-titles.asp

www.teenreads.com/authors/au-horowitz-anthony.asp

www.funtrivia.com/playquiz.cfm?qid=207325

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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Alex Rider Eagle Strike

Alex Rider Eagle Strike

Author: Anthony Horowitz

Page Length: 322

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Fiction        

PLOT SUMMARY: In the fourth of the Alex Rider series, Alex begins another spy experience in the South of France where he is vacationing with Sabina Pleasure’s family.  Alex met Sabina in the last book, Skeleton Key, while working undercover at the Wimbledon Tennis Championship.

While relaxing on the beach, he sees Yassen Gregorovich, a hired assassin, who killed his uncle.  After a bomb goes off in the Pleasure’s dwelling, and injures Sabina’s father, Alex believes Yassen is clearly involved, and that he may be the intended target of the bombing.

Thus follows a series of action packed events including:  Alex in the arena fighting a bull, a discovery that Damian Cray, England’s most celebrated entertainer is involved, help denied by M16, nuclear missiles, a life-size video game, and the hijacking of Air Force One.   Alex is determined to stop Damian Cray and Yassen Gregorovich but comes close to losing his and Sabina’s lives.  As the book ends, Yassen Gregorovich is killed but in his last words tells Alex to go to Scorpia and find his destiny. . . 

REVIEW: As in the previous three books of the series, Anthony Horowitz pits Alex Rider in the middle of high-action, life threatening situations.  I like that Sabina has become a part of the series, and Alex is able to have a typical teen romance while in the throws of harm’s way. 

The book is filled with non-stop action.  I especially liked the detail written when Alex is going through the life size version of the video game.  Although there is a lot of background in the previous books, a reader could read and enjoy Eagle Strike without having read the others.

SUGGESTED TEACHING AREAS:  Leisure reading, Sequence of Events, Drawing Conclusions, Predicting Outcomes, and Making Generalizations, and Descriptive Writing

RELATED BOOKS: Point Blank, Stormbreaker, Skeleton Key, Scorpia

MOVIE, MUSIC, ART CONNECTIONS: “Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker” (2006), “Mission Impossible l, ll, and lll”, “The Bourne Identity” (2002), “The Bourne Supremacy” (2003), “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007)

RELATED WEBSITES:

www.anthonyhorowitz.com/alexrider/books/eaglestrike.html

www.kidsreads.com/reviews/0399239790-excerpt.asp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eagle_Strike

http://turnpaige.com/2008/02/07/eaglestrikebyanthonyhorowitz

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

Alex Rider Skeleton Key

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Alex Rider Skeleton Key

Author: Anthony Horowitz

Page Length: 327

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Fiction        

PLOT SUMMARY: As the story opens, Sarov, a former General in the Russian army, has obtained a kilogram of weapons-grade uranium.  He intends to destroy the world with it and regain Russian power.   In the United States, 14-year-old Alex Rider is playing ball when Mr. Crawley, an employee of M16, a branch of the investigative department of England, approaches him.

It has just been a month since Alex Rider completed his second piece of spy work for the M16, and he is reluctant to talk with Crawley.  He says he does not want to be a spy, but a schoolboy.  Crawley assures him that he just wants Alex to help him find the reason the Wimbledon Tennis Courts have recently been burglarized.  Crawley believes Alex can do that, while he acts as a ball boy at the world famous Wimbledon Tennis Championship.  Hesitantly, Alex agrees to help. 

Alex does find there are advantages to working the tourney.  One, seeing the famous tennis players of the world compete, and the other, meeting Sabina Pleasure, another teen helping at the tourney.  Alex is surprised when two of the top ten players suffer losses to a not-so-well known Chinese player.  He becomes suspicious of a guard who he overhears talking on a cell phone. 

In his own investigative style, Alex discovers how the victories of the little known player are being made, but not without incident, where he is almost charged with attempted homicide. Once again, Mrs. Jones and Mr. Blunt of M16 rescue Alex from harm, but only to “loan” him out to the American CIA to do undercover work for them.  Although Alex feels he has been railroaded into another dangerous adventure, he agrees to be part of an undercover mission where he plays the role as son, to a couple vacationing in Cuba.

When the couple does not return from a scuba diving trip, Alex begins another adventurous, action packed investigation where he meets General Sarov and learns of his plan to destroy the world.

REVIEW: I found the third book of the Alex Rider series as intriguing as the first two.  Anthony Horowitz does a great job of creating suspense in his writing.  He also writes with vivid descriptions, which the reader can realistically imagine.  I think anyone who enjoys mystery, suspense, adventure and action would like this series of books.

SUGGESTED TEACHING AREAS:  Leisure reading, Sequence of Events, Drawing Conclusions, Predicting Outcomes, and Making Generalizations, and Descriptive Writing

RELATED BOOKS: Point Blank, Stormbreaker, Eagle Strike, Scorpia

MOVIE, MUSIC, ART CONNECTIONS: “Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker” (2006), “Mission Impossible l, ll, and lll”, “The Bourne Identity” (2002), “The Bourne Supremacy” (2003), “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007)

RELATED WEBSITES:

www.bookmooch.com/detail/0142401021

www.anthonyhorowitz.com/alexrider/books/skeletonkey.html

http://mplteens.blogspot.com/2008/04/skeletonkeybyanthonyhorowitz.html

http://turnpaige.com/2008/01/29/skeletonkeybyanthonyhorowitz

http://bookcrossing.com/journal/4313686

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

Alex Rider Stormbreaker

Filed under: *AWESOME BOOKS!!!,A — thebookreviews @ 1:47 am
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Alex Rider Stormbreaker

Author: Anthony Horowitz

Page Length: 234

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Fiction, Adventure           

PLOT SUMMARY: Alex Rider is a fourteen-year-old orphan who lives with his uncle, Ian Rider, a bank manager (or so Alex thinks).  Alex receives news at 3 o’clock in the morning that his uncle has been killed in a car accident.  The police reported he wasn’t wearing his seat belt.  Alex finds this hard to believe, because the one thing his uncle always insisted on was that Alex always wear his seat belt.

Alex became even more suspicious when five lawyers appeared at his house to go through his uncle’s study. Then, he saw a gun on one of the driver’s of a limo at the funeral, and upon his return from the funeral, all of his uncle’s papers and belongings had been removed from the study.

 Alex decided to do a little investigating on his own. He found the junkyard where his uncle’s car had been taken, but was discovered by employees just before he was almost crushed by the Lefort Shear, a metal smasher.  

From this point, Alex is taken to the “bank” to talk with the men who had appeared as lawyers for his uncle.  Alex learns that his uncle was never a banker but a spy for M16 (the English government’s equivalent to the CIA).  His uncle was killed by a Russian who works for a man developing a super computer to be given to all the students of schools in England.  The computer’s name is the “Stormbreaker”.

Alex next learns that the M16 people want him to follow in his uncles’ tracks and become a teen-age spy.

REVIEW: This is the first in a series of five action, spy novels about Alex Rider.  I found it comparable to adult spy novels I have read by Robert Ludlum as far as action and suspense are concerned.  It is an easy read and I think the most appealing book I have read for teen males, especially those who don’t think they want or like to read.   I would suggest it not for a teaching tool, but exclusively for leisure reading.  Because there are five books in the series, if a non-reader enjoyed the first, he would be set on a trail to read the next four as quickly as possible.  After getting through the series, we would now have a lifelong reader.

SUGGESTED TEACHING AREAS:  Leisure reading, Sequence of Events, Drawing Conclusions, Predicting Outcomes, and Making Generalizations

RELATED BOOKS: Point Blank, Skeleton Key, Eagle Strike, Scorpia

MOVIE, MUSIC, ART CONNECTIONS: “Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker” (2006), “Mission Impossible l, ll, and lll”, “The Bourne Identity” (2002), “The Bourne Supremacy” (2003), “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007)

RELATED WEBSITES:

www.stormbreaker.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stormbreaker  (novel)

www.anthonyhorowitz.com/alexrider/books/stormbreaker.html

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

Alex Rider Point Blank

Filed under: *AWESOME BOOKS!!!,A — thebookreviews @ 1:43 am
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Alex Rider Point Blank

Author: Anthony Horowitz

Page Length: 274

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Fiction, Action/Adventure         

PLOT SUMMARY: As Alex Rider returns to school he feels like an outsider.  He longs for another adventure as he just experienced with the M16 of England’s government.  He soon discovers that things are different at school, and attributes that to Skoda, a former student at his school, who is now dealing drugs to his friends.

Alex takes it upon himself to sabotage Skoda’s drug ring, by lifting a barge with a crane and placing it next to the police station.  His plan goes foul, when the crane breaks and the barge lands in the center of the city conference center.  Although Alex does manage to break up the drug ring, he finds himself in jail.

It is Mr. Blunt and Ms. Jones from the M16 who rescue Alex, but only so that he can help them investigate two recent deaths of wealthy Englishmen.  Alex is sent as a spy (he is only 14 years-old) to a very exclusive boarding school for boys who have been in trouble, either with the law, school, or drugs.  The basic thing all of the boys have in common is that their parents are very, very wealthy. 

In recent weeks, two of the former student’s fathers have died.  The M16 want Alex to learn what, if anything, the boarding school might have to do with the deaths.

 REVIEW: This is the second book of the Alex Rider Series and I am “hooked”.  In this book, Alex, demonstrates even more daring spy moves with little defense or aid.  Because of the high action and adventure, it is hard to put the book down. 

It is an easy fast read which will keep the reader turning one page after another.  I would use this series to help those who think they do not like to read develop leisure reading skills.  If students like spy movies such as the Mission Impossible, Jason Bourne, or James Bond series, I think they would like this book.

AREAS OF TEACHING: Sequence of Events, Compare/Contrast, Cause/Effect/, Conflict

RELATED BOOKS: Stormbreaker, Skeleton Key, Eagle Strike, Scorpia

MOVIE, MUSIC, ART CONNECTIONS: “Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker” (2006), “Mission Impossible l, ll, and lll”, “The Bourne Identity” (2002), “The Bourne Supremacy” (2003), “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007)

RELATED WEBSITES:

www.anthonyhorowitz.com/alexrider/index.html

www.goodreads.com/book/show/224500.Point_Blank

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Rider

www.alexrideradventures.com/books.html

www.kidsreads.com/series/series-alex_rider-titles.asp

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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