“When the doorbell rings at three in the morning, it’s never good news.”
Isn’t that a great first line? It’s the opening sentence of STORMBREAKER by Anthony Horowitz, the first book of the Alex Rider series. Awesome as that line is, the book only gets better from there.
Forced into spying for the British government agency M16, Alex Rider takes over the mission that got his late uncle killed. As he uncovers the plot, he learns the truth about his uncle’s death as well. Alex is a likable hero, strong yet believable, and the clever way he gets out of situations keeps you on the edge of your seat.
The action never lets up in this book. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend that you start it before bed because you’ll be up all night reading and then trying to get your hands on the next book in the series. The plot is full of twists and turns, and of course, explosions. Every good spy novel has explosions, right? And If you’ve ever been fascinated by the cool gadgets that James Bond uses, you’ll enjoy the ones Alex gets: zit cream that melts metal, a Game Boy that can find electronic bugs, and more.
Book 9 (yes, nine!) in the series, SCORPIA RISING, just came out this month so of course my 11yo had to buy it. These books skew to the older end of middle grade, but advanced readers as young as eight or nine will enjoy them too and parents won’t have to worry about inappropriate content. While there are plenty of heart-pounding action scenes, there’s no graphic violence or language.
STORMBREAKER was made into a decent movie starring Alex Pettyfer (currently starring in I AM NUMBER FOUR), but as always, the book (at least for me) is better. If you’ve got a middle grade reader who likes spies, epic action scenes and nonstop suspense, this is the perfect book to start them off with.