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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Teenage boy becomes secret spy
I'm a big fan of the Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz and the Young Bond books by Charlie Higson, so when I saw this and read the blurb, I picked it up immediately because it sounded like a book in the same vein. I've never read anything by Chris Ryan before but I know that he's written mainly adult novels and has very recently branched out into YA. I read `Agent...
Published on 13 Mar 2011 by SJH @ A Dream of Books

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kids stuff
Given Ryan's previous books I was expecting another fast flowing and intense storyline. Unfortunately this was more of a teenage story of schoolboy adventure. Highly implausable storyline for me.
Published 8 months ago by alex mcintyre


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Teenage boy becomes secret spy, 13 Mar 2011
This review is from: Agent 21: Book 1 (Paperback)
I'm a big fan of the Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz and the Young Bond books by Charlie Higson, so when I saw this and read the blurb, I picked it up immediately because it sounded like a book in the same vein. I've never read anything by Chris Ryan before but I know that he's written mainly adult novels and has very recently branched out into YA. I read `Agent 21' in one evening. It's not a particularly long book but it was so thrilling that I couldn't put it down.

The formula is pretty similar to other books in this genre, however unlike some series which do start to get a little far-fetched (fast cars and multiple gadgets), the story was realistic enough to believe that it could actually happen. Zac Darke is recruited by a shadowy government organisation after the death and suspected murder of his parents. He's trained to become a teenage spy and then sent on a mission to infiltrate and capture a notorious drug lord in Mexico. Along the way he has to use all the skills he's been taught and survive on his wits and guile alone to avoid detection.

I loved this book! It was fast-paced and exciting and a thrill-ride from start to finish. The storyline is pretty simple but well executed. Chris Ryan has plenty of experience in learning how to survive from his time in the SAS and therefore situations felt authentic and believable. I really liked Zac who makes a likeable hero. He's intelligent and brave and clever and I enjoyed following his progression from normal teenager to fully-fledged spy. He has to make difficult choices and learn when everything isn't as black and white as it might first appear to be.

There are plenty of books about boy spys on the market but this one really stood out for me. It's full of action-packed adventure, thrills and spills and although obviously targeted at male readers would appeal to anyone looking for a great read.

The ending sets things up nicely for the sequel, although I'm hoping that there are going to be plenty more Agent 21 books to come!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC, 14 April 2012
This review is from: Agent 21: Book 1 (Paperback)
This book is the story of Zak Darke, a teenage boy who is orphaned my his parents' mysterious deaths and after living in unhappiness for a few months, is approached by a secret agency, so he hence becomes agent 21. He is then trained on an island off the Scottish coast before being sent on his first mission: to bring down drug lord Cesar Matinez.

I am a 14 year old girl who has never read one of Chris Ryan's books before (they don't really appeal to me) and thought that after quite a slow start, this book is honestly one of the BEST books I have ever read. DO NOT underestimate this book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Secret Agent Boy, 30 Jan 2011
By 
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This review is from: Agent 21: Book 1 (Paperback)
As a huge reader, I've heard of Chris Ryan's work before both military as well as civilian however I've not really had the chance to read his work, as to be honest, I' m not a huge fan of modern military exploits. As such it was with great delight when Random House let me loose with this book, a brand new young adult title set in a mysterious world of espionage.

It's definitely a book that will appeal to young male readers as it has some great adventure, it has a hero with morals and above all else it has a fast moving plot that doesn't ease up from the throttle from start to finish. Add to this some great dialogue, a chance to explore a country that we in the UK know very little about alongside the chance to see the seedier side to wealth that has been purchased through pain and suffering. All in, its pretty well rounded and whilst Darke in name as well as nature, it's a title that will hopefully spawn a whole successive series as there's so much more to be explored and hopefully a prequel with Gabriella as the lead character.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable start to a gripping series!, 27 July 2014
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This review is from: Agent 21: Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
Read the full review at: http://polkadotbookblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/agent-21.html

For starters, I was really excited for the genre of the book because I was a really big fan of the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz, so the books genre really appealed to me because it sounded so similar in a lot of ways. Which is why in the In the beginning I was really gripped and excited for what was to come. The prologue was so amazing! Yet I felt that the book dragged a little after that, so it took me a while to get into it and to really enjoy the writing. Having said this, I did find the story highly enjoyable and I loved how it ended like everything tied up and connected in a neat little bow. Another thing that really made this book for me was the realistic detail that it had when it came to the mission and the training. I really felt that I was learning along with Zak and it was really believable spy/espionage skills, like the Morse code and navigation lessons that were integrated into Zak's training. I just absolutely loved those parts of it!

The characters in the book were strong and relate-able, so they felt more realistic and believable to me. Which helped me to like them and cheer them on from the sidelines because you just wanted them to survive. But then I felt that in some cases they were a little underdeveloped to me. However I think that was more down to the fact that it was the first book so I just wasn't used to the writing yet.

Overall, Agent 21 is a really enjoyable read that does encourage you to buy the rest of the series because you do get carried away with the characters and the missions that they go on. There was action, adventure, mystery as well as lovable characters that have a lot of room for growth. So while I didn't love it, I am really excited to carry on with the series and find out what the rest of the adventure is like for Zak Darke.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kids stuff, 13 April 2014
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This review is from: Agent 21: Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
Given Ryan's previous books I was expecting another fast flowing and intense storyline. Unfortunately this was more of a teenage story of schoolboy adventure. Highly implausable storyline for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different from Chris's Norm... But good!!, 9 April 2012
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This review is from: Agent 21: Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
I've probably read most of Chris Ryan's books, and I have to say when I started reading this I was more than a little worried.
Using a young boy as the main character seemed to me like a bad idea.
I was totally wrong however, I enjoyed this probably more than any of is others.
Great read and I shall be straight onto the next.
In short very surprised to have liked this!
Well worth the money!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing read, 3 April 2012
This review is from: Agent 21: Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
this was a gr8 fun and fast paced ,but not too fast, book. i realy enjoyed it as it was action packed and did not drag on for too long! i was realy surprised to discover that agent 21 is only 13 years old which makes it another alex rider kind of book ALTHOUGH it is still DIFFERENT in all the important ways . it is kept unique as their is no mr smithers and the hero is totaly willing and is not blackmailed which was , as far as im concerened, a short-coming in the alex rider series. if u like alex rider u will love this even more as chris ryan injects his genious into this book!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book from Chris Ryan, 24 Feb 2011
This review is from: Agent 21: Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
I've read a lot of Chris Ryan's books and I wasn't sure what to expect with this one. I was pleasantly surprised however what a good read it was. The characters were in-depth enough for the plot and the length of the story and there is plenty of depth with the main character 'Zak'. Despite what other reviews say who give it a bad rating, I chose to ignore them and find out for myself what this book was like. Chris Ryan doesn't usually disappoint, so I was very happy when I found myself engrossed in this book wanting to read more and more as the story continued.. I really look forward to the next book in this series. Well done Chris!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read - more plot than character driven, 13 Dec 2010
This review is from: Agent 21 1 (Hardcover)
Agent 21 isn't the sort of book I'll be raving about, but it's alright. It could probably do even better as a Teen TV series as the idea for this series is simple yet good.

Zak Darke's parents die under mysterious circumstances in Nigeria- the official line is that no-one is to blame for their deaths, but back in England Zak has his suspicions. Now orphaned Zak moves in with his Aunt, Uncle and cousin, but the adults don't make him feel welcome. It's only his cousin Ellie that Zak shares a connections with - he's a loner at school. No-one would miss Zak if he simply disappeared or at least that's what the govt agent who offers Zak covert commando training tells him. If he takes on the job Zak will find out what really happened to his parents.

The training and the mission Zak undertake are exciting and well-written. Here you can tell that Chris Ryan is writing about something he knows...but I didn't think he knew all that much about writing characters that I would truly care about. Something was missing and I found myself wishing the characters were less flat. Calacas the villain was scary so he had a little oomph. The two agents that train Zak - Raf and Gabs - show potential but in a way come across like paper dolls...it doesn't matter that a face has been painted on they're still just paper shapes, in need of some real dressing up.

Plot is good
Mission is well written
Characters could have been more engaging
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1.0 out of 5 stars Shotal tit, 15 Jun 2014
This review is from: Agent 21: Book 1 (Paperback)
Where on the cover does this book indicate it is for the younger reader? Answer...nowhere.
So is it? Well it reads that way. The minimilast writing style is woeful. I was between books and picked this for a quick read.
Get this. A 13 YEAR OLD BOY IS RECRUITED BY A SECRET GOVERMENT AGENCY. IN 6 MONTHS HE IS FULLY TRAINED IN ALL ASPECTS OF KILLING, NAVIGATING BY THE STARS, DRIVING, SPEAKING FLUENT ARABIC, INFILTRATING MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS.
Save the children!! Save the adults from this killing machine.
The whole book is an elaborate joke published on the back of the authors previous successes.

Is it for adults and poorly written or for young adults who want to read a load of crud. I was going to say you decide but really dont bother its not worth your time and effort.
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Agent 21: Book 1
Agent 21: Book 1 by Chris Ryan (Paperback - 6 Jan 2011)
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