9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
My family and I have been reading the Alex Rider novels since they first started coming out, and my youngest son has grown up with them. We found the latest to be the best yet--clever, classy, intrigue- and action-packed, with some great twists and turns. We also loved the fact it was set in our part of the world, in Australia and South-East Asia. A fantastic read, with some truly evil villains(including some horrible Dr Strangelove/Boys from Brazil medical types) and some great set-pieces, including a punishing bout for Alex of Muay Thai, the bloody Thai martial art with no holds barred at all!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This was the first Alex Rider book that I've read. I wanted to gauge its suitability as a Christmas present for my nephew and also to get a feel for when my son might be old enough to start reading the series.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book which is a very readable thriller. The beginning is a little slow, but it builds and the action in the final quarter is particularly exciting. I won't reiterate the plot, but it is as plausible as any Bond movie (ie: just enough for you to suspend disbelief) and touches on current events like people smuggling and tsunamis.
I would think the bullseye age group for this book is 10-14 years. The vocabulary is probably too stretching for a younger reader (words like acrid, infiltration, gantry, proposition and ricocheted). The 400 page length and reasonably complicated plot would also be unlikely to sustain the interest of most younger readers. And while a child older than 14 would still enjoy this book, I think they could cope with something more complex, such as Matthew Reilly or Allan Folsom.
Here are some things that parents may like to know about this book:
- There is a lot of violence - mostly shooting but also stabbing and fighting. Some of that violence is unprovoked or involves innocent civilians. While the violence is not described in graphic detail, it does frequently occur. Alex once fires a gun, but he doesn't hit anybody.
- There are also some disturbing scenes, eg: one in which Alex is covered in rats (it scared me anyway!) and another when he is going to be farmed for body organs.
- There is no swearing or blasphemy - Alex does swear once but the description is "he spat out every foul word he knew" which is pretty vague!
- Alex is offered beer on at least two occasions (which he always declines).
- No sex. One passing reference to topless women in a Thai bar.
Overall I thought this action packed story was an excellent choice for a mature early teen.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
My 10 year old is a reluctant reader, on the whole. Most of the books that captured my attention when I was growing up (Narnia, Swallows and Amazons, The Hobbit) he struggles with. Even Harry Potter, who he loves, he gets bogged down in, and would rather I read to him.
Alex Rider is the exception. We went through all of the first six books in just over a school term. And when this one turned up, he read 50 pages in the first evening he got it.
I like the books as well, and managed to start this one before my son got his hands on it! Alex is a reluctant secret agent, and the scars and pain from earlier adventures stay with him. The issues that he faces - people trafficking in this book - are issues that children will hear about in the media, and the stories present them in such a way that they can see the human dimension. If anything, this book is a little less preposterous than some of the others (he isn't sent into space again ...!), but just as compulsive, and just as well geared into boys' minds.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2010
I like this book because it is exciting, and there is a surprise round every corner!!! It is the best book I have ever read! It has 416 exciting pages counting a thrilling extra chapter that you don't get in hard cover.
After that there is some words about how the author felt about this book. Overall it is an action packed book that you'll never forget:).
on 6 July 2008
Alex Rider returns for another action packed adventure where he drops down on Australian land and is recruited by the ASIS to go undercover in a snakehead, which will ultimately bring him back to an old deadly enemy.
In the 7th instalment of the acclaimed series, Horowitz again uses a brilliant depth and accurate view of the world through researching all of the elements to be used in his novel, which has to be admired, and through this, do readers get a great description of what is happening and a very descriptive approach to the novel.
This research conforms brilliantly to what Horowitz has chosen Rider to do this time, in exploring boats, Australia, science, bombs plus other meaningful and wonderful things that are all well developed and executed by one of the best children's fiction writers of recent years.
Though not as intriguing as the first couple of novels, Snakehead packs a deadly bite into the Alex Rider story with a very dramatic twist on Alex's personal life, by including Alex's godfather, who is an intriguing character to read about from start to finish.
Again Alex is put in a do or die situation at many points and a high authority blackmails him in a way to get him to do a job. Horowitz again writes with a sense of purpose, and an inevitability that is gripping and is almost impossible to put the book down when a major event is happening.
The book conforms to the genre brilliantly, with chases, fights, helicopters and guns etc, the typical conventions of the action genre. And as usual, here is a question of the realistic outcomes of situations but even so are deadly exciting and edge of your seat reading with a great central lead.
This is perhaps a more emotional book than the others with Alex growing up and higher stakes than usual and the other Rider books have more intensity but regardless it is an action packed adventure and the stakes are once again, raised to a great extreme with Horowitz's pin point accuracy.
So, after 2005's Ark Angel, still an extremely good book, but not as much so as the stunning Scorpia, Anthony Horowitz diversified into his equally good Power Of Five series but now i am pleased to say, Alex Rider is back and Snakehead is a resounding success.
Far more gritty than any of the other novels in the series, this one sees Alex tavelling to the depths of Asia and the harsh outback of Australia in what is arguably his most physically demanding and tense adventure yet. The plot is lightning slick as always and you learn some extremely interesting secrets later on in the book.
What i think let Ark Angel down was it began to become too unbelievable, and didn't feature as much of the complex character interactions and deep cover stories that made Scorpia so thrilling. In this novel though, the plot hinges off Alex disguising himself as an Asian imigrant in order to ingratiate himself into the Snakehead's workings and the resulting storyline is fascinating as is Alex's interactions with fellow character, Ash.
As always, you become so close to Alex you can really feel every punch and battering he goes through and that only adds to the tension. I think Anthony Horowitz is one of the greatest writers around today and Snakehead is yet more proof of his brilliance.
on 17 February 2008
If you've read the previous books in the Alex Rider series you will know that Alex rider is a boy that has to do things which no boy at the age of fourteen would every think of doing and with a climactic ending to the Ark Angel (the previous book in the series) Alex Rider is back with all of his gadgets and gizmos, moves and of course enemies in Snakehead, the seventh installment in this exhilarating series of books.
Snakehead picks up exactly where Ark Angel left off with Alex falling from space and landing in the coast of Australia. From there he is recruited to by the Austrailian SAS to infiltrate the Snakehead organization (the equivelant to Scorpia in Asia but on a MUCH larger scale). From there is teamed up with is godfather, Ash. he learns about his past, Ash's past whilist being transported from Australia to Asia with tons of action along the way. At the end of the book he discovers shocking peices of information.
It is told very well by Anthony Horowaitz whom made the book as accurate as possible while still maintaining the Alex Rider formula which fans have grown to love and enjoy.
Overall, Snakehead is a brilliant book...but I do recommend readiing the other books if you havent already just to brush up on your facts.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
How far would you go to obtain knowledge of the parents you never knew?
Alex Rider has decided he'll go on his most dangerous mission for a chance at information. Once the Australian Secret Intelligence Service tells him his godfather will lead the mission, Alex doesn't hesitate. Unfortunately, there could be a mole on the inside.
Alex and Ash travel undercover as illegal immigrants trying to find a better life in Australia. What Alex doesn't realize is that the leader of the Snakehead organization also works on the executive board of Scorpia. Major Yu knows exactly where Alex is and what he's doing. He's got several plans in motion to make Alex's life miserable...and then nonexistent.
Anthony Horowitz delivers another action-packed adventure in the ALEX RIDER series that will leave readers breathless and anticipating the next installment of Alex's strange but exciting life.
Reviewed by: Jennifer Rummel
on 24 November 2013
Alex Rider returns in a direct continuation from the previous novel, which sees him team up with the Australian Secret Service to try to crack a people smuggling operation. It's another thrilling and fast-moving action novel, although seems to be borrowing more and more from the format of the James Bond films.
The novel introduces some interesting new characters and motivations, and is clearly trying to enrich the world that the stories inhabit. There's also some threat that's unexpectedly strong for an entry in this series, though it's written very much with the target audience in mind, and the reader isn't exposed to anything too traumatic, just the idea.
One thing that's emphasised heavily in this book is the short amount of time that has passed since Alex Rider's first adventure. Presumably this is to make him seem the right age still for the target audience, but for me had the effect of breaking the flow of the narrative and making the overarching story seem less plausible - this is the seventh book after all.
Overall though it makes for a good adventure that explores a much wider setting than before, delves into the past, and builds up the overall plot that's been developing throughout the series.
Scorpia is a problem again, brittleboned Major Yu with plans for destruction on a massive scale. Australia's Secret Service asks for Alex's help, he tempted by news of who his partner will be: Ash, close friend of his parents and the last to see them alive....
Addicts well know what to expect - high speed adventures, near miraculous escapes, a mad villain destined for the worst death Horowitz can devise.
Everything seems grimmer now with the smuggling of immigrants, drugs hidden in toys, people kept captive so their organs can be harvested. Needless to say, Alex will suffer. Many will long remember his nearly drowning in Bangkok - amidst sewage, rotting vegetables and hungry rats. Each new set of dangers seem disconcertingly real.
It is all very exciting, at times moving too. Be advised there is a very real shock on its way. Alex anticipated it. How many readers will?
The paperback version has an extra chapter, Horowitz giving more details about Ash and Alex's parents. In a 2010 edition "Afterword" he tells of the fun he has concocting names.
Food for thought. At one point Alex is asked, "Why aren't you at school?" What great reads we would miss if he had been!