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I’m thirteen years old and have read the entire series over and over again. I LOVE them. They’re fast-paced, interesting, but sometimes cheesy — especially when the villain ties Alex up and then explains their grand plan to him in detail. I mean, COME ON. No villain would do that. Then they just so happen to leave Alex alone for the night or alone to die. The author’s manipulation is felt really strongly in these parts. I much prefer it when the protagonist figures out what’s going on by themselves, not by the antagonist. When they start to monologue, it’s just so CRINGY. But despite some of the flaws, I thought that the fourteen year old spy concept was pulled off well. Alex’s good abilities were well-explained and not just passed off as talent, which I find irritating. But anyway, ON WITH THE REVIEW. Personally, I found "Skeleton Key" the weakest in the series. In it, Alex goes to Wimbledon as a ballboy by request of Crawley because there was a break-in. So once Alex gets there, he starts investigating a security guard who turns out to be part of a gang called the Big Circle, who will stop at nothing to kill Alex. So, Blunt sends Alex off to America for his safety with the CIA agents Turner and Troy as part of their cover. Once they get there, it becomes clear Alex doesn’t know the full story and that the agents are REALLY investigating a man called General Sarov, who allegedly has a nuclear bomb. The Russian president is coming and nobody has a clue what’s going on. That’s a pretty loose synopsis, but I want to get on with my opinion. [MILD SPOILERS AHEAD. ]OK, so first off: I didn’t like Sarov as a villain. There, I said it. He always seemed far too sympathetic for my taste. Yeah, it’s nice to have a "grey" character, but this is the ALEX RIDER SERIES! All the villains are NASTY! Sarov wants to do this terrible thing but his character just doesn’t match that. He’s willing to kill thousands of people, but wants to adopt Alex. Personally, if Sarov had been driven insane by his son’s death and thought Alex was a sort of replacement for him, I would’ve liked it better. It would’ve fitted, anyway. But Sarov has never caused Alex bodily harm. I just find it hard to root for Alex when Sarov isn’t that unlikeable. Conrad, on the other hand. .. I love Conrad. After Kaspar, he’s my favourite sidekick. He is AWESOME. If he was the main villain and Sarov was the sidekick, it would’ve been a bit better. But hey, that’s just my opinion. Some parts of the book I loved. The bit with the shark was really good, so was the sugar crusher thing Conrad used on Alex. I didn’t think Sarov’s plan would’ve worked as well as he hoped. It’s a pretty big plot hole for Horowitz, because if something like that had happened, the outcome would be completely different. In conclusion: A decent entry to the series, but by no means up there with Scorpia and Snakehead. Check it out!
Skeleton Key Mass Market Paperback – 2004 4.7 out of 5 stars Review
My teenage daughter had to have this book. She’s read each of the Alex Rider series books several times! She can’t get enough. Talks about them all the time. Great to keep our youth reading. -Read Reviews-
I’m breaking a taboo in this first paragraph to say how much I am enjoying this series for “children” (10 and up). Actually, anyone who enjoys a great spy thriller and very little outright graphic violence would absolutely LOVE this series. Not since Harry Potter have I had such fun! “Skeleton Key” is the third in the series about Alex Rider, a 14-year-old English school boy, who works as a spy for M16, the U.S. ‘s equivalent of the CIA. Not that he wants to work as a spy–oh no, he does not, but M16 manages to entangle him every time in a new episode in which, bottom line, he saves the world. That’s three times now that he has done so. The first time was “Stormbreaker,” set in the Cornish coast of England, involving a computer scheme unlike any you have heard of. Alex triumphs spectacularly! The second time was “Point Blank,” set in an elite school for highly privileged and troubled youth. The school is set on Point Blank in Switzerland. Another, no, make that two spectacular endings in this book!Let me say that what Anthony Horowitz creates for Alex to know and do are truly preposterous–if you logically examine the plot, but, I’m telling you also truthfully, that Horowitz’s skill at writing is such that the reader believes these things CAN happen. Example: Alex must board a departing yacht and does so on skateboard by ramping up a plank, hurtling through air, just barely grasping the handrail, and pulling himself up and over. Allow me to explain: In book one, Horowitz laid the back story to show that Alex was trained in many areas by his uncle, who was a M16 spy, unbeknownst to Alex. In Book Three, “Skeleton Key,” Alex’s new assignment is working with two agents from the CIA to explore a mansion on the tip of an island, Skeleton Key, owned by a retired Soviet general, who has serious hanky-panky in mind. It involves uranium and an atomic bomb. The yacht-leaping takes place in this story. However, Alex is thwarted several times in this adventure, showing the reader that Alex cannot elude every case of danger. An atomic bomb, world domination, a mad general, and one more put-together Frankenstein assistant. Can a 14-year-old boy handle those? That is absolutely the fun of reading this series–you know he will, but you don’t know how!Highly recommended!!This is a series that needs to be read in order for the back story, which builds with each book. To begin:1. Alex Rider: Stormbreaker tie-in novel (Alex Rider Movie)2. Point Blank (Alex Rider Adventures)There are currently eight books in the series. Horowitz plans a total of ten.