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Stormbreaker

by Anthony Horowitz

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Alex Rider {Anthony Horowitz} (1)

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5,5631851,397 (3.85)96
After the death of the uncle who had been his guardian, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider is coerced to continue his uncle's dangerous work for Britain's intelligence agency, MI6.
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Showing 1-5 of 172 (next | show all)
The first and in my opinion best Alex Rider book. This is teh start of teh story, now there are 12 books in the series, it's easily as good as the Jason Steed series and its better than the CHERUB series.

This book follows the life of Alex Rider - ordinary 14 year old school boy with an ordinary life. Then one day he's told his Uncle - Ian Rider - has died in a dreadful car crash... But something just isn't quite right. If it was a car crash that killed Ian Rider, why are there bullet holes in his car ( )
  chasebush | Jul 20, 2021 |
14-year old Alex Rider's uncle Ian supposedly died in a car accident. Then Alex finds the car riddled with bullets at a junkyard. Alex is then shanghaied by MI-6 to take up where his uncle failed -- discovering what nefarious plot is contained in an Eqpytian immigrant's donation of a new generation computer to every school in England. Fast paced, better than Six of Hearts. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
{First of 12 in Alex Rider series; children's/ YA, action-adventure, spy} (2000/ 2020)

Alex Rider's parents died when he was a baby so he has grown up with his uncle, Ian Rider. The story opens as the doorbell rings in the middle of the night to let fourteen year old Alex know that his uncle has been killed in a car crash on the way home from one of his many business trips. But then Alex finds out that his uncle was actually a spy and was killed while on a mission to investigate the billionaire, Herod Sayle, who has donated free computers, named Stormbreaker, to every school in Britain including Alex's own comprehensive (Ian Rider thought it would be 'more of a challenge' than any of the smart private schools around Chelsea). The computers are soon to be distributed to the schools and will be activated by the Prime Minister in a ceremony on the 1st of April. Ian Rider must have found something, but was killed before he could pass on the information. Someone needs to finish the mission - and so MI6 calls Alex in, whether he wants to or not, to take the place of another boy who won a competition to be the first to try out a Stormbreaker before they are distributed from Sayle's headquarters. It's a good thing that his uncle seems to have been training him to be a spy since he was a baby.

I read the 20th anniversary edition which was published in 2020 and I don't know if it was updated in any way. Stormbreakers are very advanced computers - they boot instantly, for one thing - which may seem like every-day ordinary technology now but would have been ahead of cutting edge in 2000. Remember when connecting to the internet would give you the 'boing boing crrrrr' sound effect and then you'd have to wait for the connection? So, although it has dated slightly (but not too noticeably), it still works.

I did think that the giant jellyfish got a bit of a raw deal. Alex has a tendency to put his foot in his mouth when talking to Sayle:

'I love to kill fish,' Sayle went on. But when I saw this specimen of Physalia physalis, I knew I had to capture it and keep it. You see, it reminds me of myself.'

'It's ninety-nine percent water. It has no brain, no guts and no anus.' Alex had dredged up the facts from somewhere and spoken them before he knew what he was doing.


The story takes place over two weeks and, since Alex is in the heart of the bad guy's territory, he gets thrown into the thick of the action. There were a few deus ex machina moments although Alex's training and Ian Rider's having run the mission previously did explain a lot of things convincingly.

As an adult reader there were one or two moments that made me pause but I think that it works very well for its target audience (tweens and young teenagers); it still kept me reading. Horowitz wanted to write a book about a reluctant teenage James Bond and he's done it well - after all, this book is the first in a best-selling series.

5 stars (for its age range) / 4 stars ( )
  humouress | Mar 27, 2021 |

'Stormbreaker' was everything I expected it to be: a fast-paced, action-oriented, teen-spy adventure with operatically bad baddies, a megalomanic plot that the main evil baddy monologues to the captive, soon-to-die (yeah, like anyone who has seen a Bond movie expects that to happen) hero and lots of chases and exploding vehicles and a finale where our hero grandstands in an iconic London location.

I liked the start of the story best. Alex's investigation into his uncle's death and his encounters with the British Secret Service were fresh and engaging.

Alex's first assignment lacked any of that originality. It was a clone of a standard James Bond plot. It worked because it was done with a completely straight-face. A sort of, 'You didn't complain when Fleming did this, so give me a break' attitude that I liked. The plot becomes rapidly more and more absurd and lines more and more cheesy (my favourite was the evil assassin telling Alex, 'Killing is for grown-ups. You are just a boy.') but it worked because it had had 'Suspend Disbelief All Yea Who Enter Here' written at the top of every page. The reader is invited to relax and enjoy the ride.

Perhaps the most credible part of the plot was that the whole nation was put at risk by the ego of a Prime Minister who had been a bully at school, was still a bully now and had such a large majority that everyone felt obliged to laugh at his lame humour. There's realism for you.

A couple of things caught me by surprise:

  • The good guys weren't very nice. Alex isn't recruited into spying for the British government, he's Shanghaied. I found this quite convincing. There's a sign of the times for you.
  • It seemed odd to me that Alex Rider kept referring to his dead uncle by his full name, even in his thoughts. It made Alex seem a little cold-blooded, something that was reinforced by an absence of grief from the beginning..
  • The persistence of a World War II German baddy stereotype who, although fluent in English, still uses the odd German phrase and introduces herself as 'Fraulein Vole'. Who does that? At any moment I expected her to say 'Hande hock, Englischer schweinhunde'.


'Stormbreaker' was a few hours of light, fast, fun with enough promise to make put the series on my 'comfort read' list. I'm told the plots get better. I hope that the speed and lightness of tone are maintained.

I recommend the audiobook version. I think Oliver Chris did a good job with the narration. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.


https://soundcloud.com/walkerbooks/sets/alex-rider-audio-extracts

( )
  MikeFinnFiction | Nov 22, 2020 |
00010619
  lcslibrarian | Aug 13, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 172 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Horowitzprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dürr, KarlheinzÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Daniel, LiamPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Evans, GreyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goyat, Annick LeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindforss, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Parker, NathanielNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
van Ewijck, AnnemarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When the doorbell rings at three in the morning, it's never good news.
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He had torn the fence out of the ground. Alex ran over to the man and examined him. For a moment he thought it might be Yassen, but it was a younger man, dark haired, ugly. The man was unconscious but still breathing. The flamethrower lay extinguished on the ground beside him. Behind him he heard the other bike, some distance away but closing. Whoever these people were, they had tired to run him down, to cut him in half, and to incinerate him. He had to find a way out before they really got serious. (P. 139-140)

"This book is gripping from the first page. A phenomenal book in many ways. It is a must read book."
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After the death of the uncle who had been his guardian, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider is coerced to continue his uncle's dangerous work for Britain's intelligence agency, MI6.

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After Alex Rider figured out that his uncle, Ian Rider was a spy, he decided to help his dead uncle complete his mission. He had to do hard and nasty trainings just to get ready for the mission. Alex always became curious when he heard someone say something was going to happen. It always made me nervous because I was afraid that maybe he would get caught by one of the members of the Sayle Enterprises. He's always brave to try out all different sorts of things that his uncle left before when he was still alive. The mission he had to complete was to stop the Stormbreakers, which were computers, to get sent out, because there was computer viruses in those computers. Hope that Alex can complete his mission for his uncle and that way he would know why his uncle died!
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