8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 7 September 2011
I have always been a fan of Anthony Horowitz, and I have read the books from the beginning of Alex's adventure until the end. Scorpia Rising is the ultimate finish to the Alex Rider series, challenging him physically and emotionally. I was not at all disappointed, and it is probably the best book I have ever read, and I would definitely recommend this to any lover of spy stories, action, adventure, and a slight touch of horror.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Alex's greatest challenge - with a heartrending price to pay. He and MI6 are but pawns in Scorpia's latest audacious plans. Chief villain is Razim (greatest ambition to have his name immortalized as a unit of pain). Key to Razim's success is Alex's double, Julius Grief - one of Dr. Hugo's clones from Point Blanc. Julius's greatest ambition? Destruction of Alex in as prolonged and agonizing way as possible.
More high speed adventures and almost unbearable suspense. Necessarily the mood is darker, with Alex so often fighting for his life. Gadget genius Smithers brings welcome light relief - indeed here delivers perhaps the biggest surprise of the series - one surely not anticipated by a single reader?
With odds stacked so much against him, there is a real danger this time Alex may not survive - especially as we know this is his last adventure. For a year (and nine books) he has been shamefully used and abused, his body bearing ample evidence of the injuries inflicted. Surely by now Alex deserves a normal life? What are the chances of this happening?
There will be anxious and rapid turning of pages as addicts (of all ages) try to find out.
Because of Anthony Horowitz, so many young readers are no longer reluctant.
What greater tribute could there be?
68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on 31 March 2011
It really doesn't seem like ten years since we were introduced to Alex, yet even though a decade has passed for us, the time period covered by the series is much shorter - not much more than a year, in fact. In Scorpia Rising Alex is now 15, and he hasn't heard from MI6 in five months, giving him the opportunity to settle into the life a normal teenager should be living, concentrating on his first year of GCSEs, being made captain of the school football team, and even finding himself being given the part of Teen Angel in the school's production of Grease. With every silver lining, there is usually some kind of dark cloud in tow - in this case Alex's long time carer and closest friend, Jack Starbright is getting itchy feet. She rarely sees Alex any more as he has now managed to build a healthy social life with friends his own age, she questions whether he needs her any more, and there is some pressure for her to return to the USA where her father is quite ill. Anthony Horowitz has made it very clear that this will be the final Alex Rider book, and this starts to become quite clear as we read these early scenes between Alex and Jack - time and events have changed them both and now it is possibly time to move on.
I say 'early scenes', but this is a little misleading - we don't actually get to read any kind of scene featuring Alex until page 129! Sounds a little crazy that we don't get to see our hero until almost a third of the book has past, but therein I feel lies the cleverness in Mr Horowitz's writing, and also helps make this book the best in the series so far. Those first 128 pages are devoted entirely to Alex's enemies, following them as they devise a scheme that will net Scorpia a fortune, whilst at the same time enabling them to destroy the teenage boy that has been a thorn in their side for so long. In order to assist them in their dastardly plan they enlist the help of another of Alex's enemies, a character we first met much earlier in the series - and no, I'm not going to say who it is, or even which book it was in, as that would just spoil the surprise for you. All I will say is that this person hates Alex more than life itself and will do everything within his/her power to destroy him. By devoting this much time to the set-up, Mr Horowitz created in me an ever-growing nervous tension, as I started to wonder just how Alex would survive this final mission.
This tension was heightened by the fact that Mr Horowitz had previously stated that a character that had been in all of the previous eight books would die in Scorpia Rising. A little knowledge can be very painful - every time a key character seemed in jeopardy I found my heart beginning to race, fearing that this would be the moment I had to say goodbye to an old friend..... and then somehow that person would survive, my heart rate would return to normal, only to accelerate again a little later. The author does this to us several times, making the scene where a character dies even more hard-hitting, and also very much emotional. I read a large portion of Scorpia Rising whilst on a train heading into London to listen to Mr Horowitz give a lecture for the National Literacy Trust, and as I read this scene I am not ashamed to admit that I had tears in my eyes. I very much doubt that I will be the only Alex Rider fan who sheds a tear at this point in the story. I told Mr Horowitz as much when I had the chance to talk to him, and I got the impression that he had found it an emotional scene to write.
As well as the changing relationship between Alex and Jack, there are many other elements throughout Scorpia Rising that indicate that this will be the concluding episode of the series, long before we get to the final chapters. Before Alex even appears in the book we are told that Alan Blunt will soon no loner be in his senior MI6 position. Somewhat topically, a new prime minister is in power and has decided to shake up the intelligence services, and his discovery that MI6 has been using a teenager on missions was the final nail in Blunt's professional coffin. However, with the end of his career in sight will Blunt worry about the consequences of using Alex one more time or will he finally see sense? Can he possibly stoop any lower than has has before? Another popular MI6 character throughout the series has been the jocular gadget inventor, Smithers. Yet again he is able to lend Alex a hand with a useful 'toy' when he finds himself having to go to Cairo, and for the first time in the series we actually get to see a little more of Smithers as he goes out into the 'field'. This leads on to an incredible revelation about the portly technical wizard, and also the unveiling of his greatest ever invention.
We have seen a lot happen to Alex over the course of the series, and he has matured faster than any teen of his age should, but in Scorpia Rising we see him have to cope with the violent death of someone he knows, and the gamut of emotions he experiences following this - numbness; pain; anger; hunger for revenge... we really do see his raw emotion and with this comes a fatalism that we haven't witnessed before in Alex. In the past it was all about survival - by the end of this book it seems he doesn't care whether he survives or not!
I really do think that this is my favourite book of the whole series - it has all the best elements of the previous eight including the tight plotting, the twists and turns, the great action scenes, totally evil villains.... you name it, Scorpia Rising has it. However, I am sure that there will be fans out there who do not share this opinion. The expectation felt by fans before reading the final book in a popular long-running series is always pretty extreme, and may will have their own ideas of how they want the series to finish. I expect you will read a number of reviews as glowing as mine, and probably an similar number of negative reviews with fans complaining about one issue or another. I would suggest you read the book for yourself and make your own mind up, and whatever your feelings about Scorpia Rising then join me in thanking Anthony Horowitz for the thrills and excitement he has brought us over the past ten years, and will no doubt continue to bring us in the future with the continuation of his fab Power of Five series, and the Alex Rider spin-off book he plans to write, with the story based upon how Yassen Gregorovich became an assassin. Thank you Mr Horowitz!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I started reading the Alex Rider series when the first book was released, so you could say that we've grown up together. I'm 22 now, and when I heard that the final book in the Alex Rider series had been released, I knew I had to read it and finish an adventure I started (and loved!) when I was much younger.
I wasn't disappointed. Scorpia Rising is a fabulous book, possibly the best of the series. The characters exude genuine humanity, perhaps because we've come to know them so well over so many years, but also because Horowitz's writing is second to none. Even in this, the last book, we learn things about many of the major characters that we didn't know (and never would have suspected) before.
As well as giving us that final insight, I feel this book also round off all of the characters well. Alex is truly grown up now, enjoying as much of his "normal" life as can reasonably be expected -- he's studying for his GCSEs, is captain of the football team, and has both true friends of his own age, and a girlfriend. His carer, Jack Starbright, is seeing all of this and wondering if it isn't time to move on. It's definetly a time of new beginnings for all of the characters we've come to know and love.
As you'll no doubt already have heard, Alex doesn't appear in this book until well past page 100, but this isn't to its detriment. The first part of the book, which follows Scorpia's attempts to construct the plan that will renew their reputation, is essential scene setting for what is to follow. Giving us this insight into what is actually going on is a masterstroke from Horowitz, as we as readers see more clearly than anyone else right from the get-go.
Despite this, what happens is still unpredictable. MI6, of course, fall into the trap of using Alex again. This time, though, the consequences are far more real and unfixable than ever before. Without giving too much away, this book sees the death of a major character, a revelation of equal magnitude about another, and a change of personnel at the very top of MI6. I feel that Alex really grows up in this book -- it's more James Bond in style than any of the previous adventures, and we see Alex making decisions that really suit the person he has become. He does get his fresh start at the end of this novel, but we're left to consider whether it's worth the price.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 May 2011
It seems bizarre that over ten years ago, I started reading this series, as a fairly naive reader, who didn't really read much, and for that matter didn't really like reading. Now I have read the entire series cover to cover and at one point around books three and four, grew up with Alex. Now as well as all of Horowitz other books I have read other authors and really have broadened my reading literature. Though this might be the case, Horowitz books have always had a reserved spot with me, to which I have always returned when he has brought out a new book. This final instalment was no different, and writing this I feel sad at the thought that there will not be another book that in much detail follows the life of the young boy caught up in the world of MI6 and spying
Now for the actual review: For this book, Horowitz has made it quite different to the others in the series.
Firstly Alex at the age of fifteen appears more mature and grown up and there are points in the book which remind the reader of this. I have always maintained that Horowitz should have had Alex grow older as the series progressed, ending with Alex being sixteen or seventeen in this instalment.
This books also differs due to the nature of the plot. While some very basic elements remain as standard, the plot starts and remains in the hands of the enemy almost till the penultimate chapter, thus I found it enjoyably quite difficult to work out what would happen next. This was to the point that Alex's death seemed almost imminent on the next page. The only thing that came very obviously was the supposed, 'Shock Death.' Without giving anything away, this is the most blatant, obvious part of the book and reading through the build up events, you instantly know what is about to happen, which I think with the whole, 'Shock Death,' advertising of the book, made it much of an anti-climax. I can, however forgive Horowitz of this because of all the other surprises, that I really wasn't expecting.
The ending could possibly have been better, however he does leave the ends, 'neatly tied up,' as it were, thus continuing the final chapter would have been slightly pointless and would only drag out the book and leave the reader to further ponder Alex's life after the final sentence.
As a final point to my nit picking: more romance between Alex and Sabina would have been nice, I felt that that was lacking from the book. At fifteen, I think Alex is of an age to be experiencing those sorts of things, and the argument that they are deliberately missing because this is a children's book, just doesn't figure when there are numerous vivd descriptions of deaths and killings. As one other reviewer mentions, this book is most definitely a book for early to late teenagers.
For Parents: okay, this book does have a lot of vivid deaths and killings, with at times, some very long descriptions of these scenes, and by the final chapter there is a substantial body count that I think could surpass even a record set by James Bond. This book is also more dark and sinister then any of the other books have ever been.
In terms of other parental guidance there is some mild swearing, and there is much death, killing and violence, but nothing that will give nightmares for nights afterwards.
If your child has read all the previous books, you would be cruel not to let him/her finish the series.
If you're an avid fan, then you must finish the series, even if like me, you have grown a little older then the intended reading age.
For those new to the series, start by reading Stormbreaker then work your way through the series, else parts of this book will make absolutely no sense to you at all
For parents, with children, particularly sons, who don't really like reading, get them reading The Alex Rider series, and from then on they'll be hooked. That's how I started, and since then, i've never looked back.
As a final point: should Anthony Horowitz or someone who works with him, ever read this small Amazon review, then I congratulate him on such a brilliant series, and I look forward to reading the last of the Power of Five books as well as any other books that he ends up writing.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 October 2013
This is a review of the whole series. Mr Alex Rider has got himself into a fair amount of trouble over the course of the books hasn't he? He's been threatened with disection, walked a on a tightrope from a burning building, (tried) to jump a train while skiing, dangled from a skyscraper, survived bring shot, and fought an evil twin of himself (twice). In every single book the characterisation is brilliant, the writing is great, the villains (and their deaths) are memorable, and every book has a side course of cheek and humour! Also I love the way Horrowitz uses real guns and vehicles. Only 1 complaint. The romance. I'm not saying it's ruining the series, but Alex and Sabina barely seemed to be in love from the start and then suddenly their only friends. And Alex didn't bothered to go to America to visit her after she left. One more small complaint is violence. It can be pretty violent and at times even gory.(spoilers) One of the vilians is stabbed in the neck, another is mutilated by a propeller, one is crushed by a mountain of money ( the chapter is entitled blood money), and ones bones get shattered by a shockwave. Ouch. The titles of the books are always great, my favourite being snakehead. Overall the Alex Rider series is superbly well written, and definetly worth a read. Review by anonymous 10 year old.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2012
If you have enjoyed all the other Alex Rider books you will enjoy this one too. The adventures are even more hair-raising and absorbing and a lot of loose ends are tied up. The book is fast-paced, with terrifying enemies, difficult situations and a lot of emotions. A wonderful ending!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 April 2011
I was counting the months and days up to when this book was to be released from when I first heard of it early last year. Horowitz certainly knows how to build up to the end, I was thrilled when he released Snakehead after the orginal ending book 'Arkangel.' What surprises me though is that why he didn't include some of the surprise in this book in Arkangel which was meant to be the end of the series? Maybe he felt as though he wanted to continue and created a new ending - good on you Mr Horowitz! :D
As I said there are many surprises in this book. It is fast-paced, full of action and keeps you reading well into the night as well as being tense in some places where it had me sitting on the edge of my seat. Horowitz was right to continue with the series and ended yet another phenomal bestseller. What are we going to do now without Alex Rider and Harry Potter? Who knows perhaps there will be another new series yet to come to match equally to this phenomally bestsellers ...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2015
The 'final' book in the Alex Rider series is quite an explosive finale. It seems like everyone whose plans he's ever destroyed has come back for one big surprise revenge party
It feels like the writing style has come on in the ten years between the first book and this, and that while the character has only aged an implausibly small amount, the target audience has aged and the level of violence has upped.
It is a thrilling story, and reads much less like a James Bond parody than ever before. The bad guys plan is actually plausible and really well thought out, there are some really nice moments with some familiar characters, and at no point was I sure how the drama was going to unfold.
Actually a really good, shocking, final bow for the series that I really enjoyed. However I notice that there is now another book in the series, and I'm concerned that it will spoil the great ending here.
on 14 April 2011
First of all, this book should only be read if you've read all the previous books, as it's liberal with spoilers.
Generally, this book is very good. The most recent books have been a bit similar in plot - Alex is forced to go undercover in a remote destination to investigate an insane scientific plan, gets caught, escapes, main antagonist dies in a befitting yet horrific incident - and whilst this book also contains elements of the above, it deftly subverts the trend by starting with Scorpia conceiving the plan, so we know all along that Alex is part of a trap. The usual themes of detection and trying to stay undercover are instead replaced with a thriller which never slows down, leading to the darkest book yet, as we know that almost everyone Alex knows could be in danger.
The minor characters benefit from being fleshed out - Smithers finally gets involved in the main plot, and we learn a lot more about Jack's backstory - but the main disappointment is in the villain. Whilst he is a good character, the fact that Alex only goes up against one, and not all of, the board members of Scorpia means that at times the reader is reminded of the previous books rather than recognising him as a brilliant villain in his own right.
The book has many brilliant moments - Alex's reaction to the 'shock' death (if it's a shock, why reveal someone will die beforehand?) being my favourite - which makes it a shame that the last chapter feels a bit rushed, making two big revelations in the space of 2 pages.
Overall, the change in style ranks it, in my view, one of the best Alex Riders, alongside Eagle Strike and Scorpia. Shame about the ending.
Oh, and the lovely and shiny cover has a tendency to pick up dirt and dust easily.