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Russian Roulette: The Story of an Assassin (Alex Rider Adventures) Hardcover – 1 Oct 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 201 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 374 pages
  • Age Range: 11 - 15 years
  • Publisher: Philomel Books (Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399254412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399254413
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 3.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (201 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,612,665 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Anthony Horowitz is a world-renowned screenwriter for television and film, a playwright, and of course, the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Alex Rider series (including STORMBREAKER, POINT BLANC, SKELETON KEY, EAGLE STRIKE, SCORPIA, ARK ANGEL, SNAKEHEAD, CROCODILE TEARS, SCORPIA RISING, and RUSSIAN ROULETTE) which has spawned a major motion picture and a line of graphic novels.
Mr. Horowitz lives in London with his wife, Jill, and their two sons, Nicholas and Cassian."

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Yassen, a vicious assassin in the employ of Scorpia (a consortium of vile international crooks), is given the order to kill Alex Rider, the fourteen-year-old hero of several of Horowitz's wonderful stories for children. He, Yassen, settles down, the night before his evil mission, to read his diary, the story of his own life, beginning when he, too, was 14. We are off.

Could anyone else have made a paid assassin into a sympathetic character for young readers? I doubt it. But Horowitz pulls it off. We follow the young Yassen on his journey through life, from the disaster which destroys everything he knows, including his parents, his best friend and his grandmother, to his becoming one of the most successful killers in the world. And that journey is appalling. But, somehow, Yassen retains his humanity through most of it.

Horowitz's writing style is perfect for teenagers (and even for elderly readers like me). He is never patronising. He resists the temptation to which so many other writers for children (and even adults) give in to lecture and educate. He just tells a story beautifully and grippingly.

Why should we adults be given rubbish written by Dan Brown, Jeffrey Archer etc. when children are given pearls like this?

This is yet another triumph for the man who must, surely, be our finest living author of children's books.

Charles
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My 10 year old son devoured this book! He was bursting with enthusiasm when he was reading it and has declared it one of his top 5 all time reads! He hadn't read the Alex Rider books but that didn't matter and he now wants to go on to read the Alex Rider series.
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Format: Hardcover
My 15 year old son was completely gripped by this book, finishing it in 2 days, he was not even tempted to go on his computer until he had finished it -most unusual -he really enjoyed it, so much so that I read it too and was also glued to it, couldn't put it down until I had finished. Highly recommended. A great Christmas present to tear teenage boys away from their computer games ( & mums too)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As described by AH, this is the long awaited prequel to the Alex Rider series.

The book focuses more on a major character rather than Alex Rider but no doubt will still be enjoyed by AR fans.

I should point out that I would advise that parents should exercise slight caution before giving the book to children who are under 13 due to the content - it may be wise for parents to read through the book first and decide if it's right for younger readers - but otherwise the book is fine for a general audience. Despite this, in my opinion there's nothing which would suggest it should be for adults only since Anthony Horowitz is a well known children's author.

This is a great read and the content shouldn't be too much of a problem for any established Alex Rider fans, so I'm happy to give it 5 stars.
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Format: Hardcover
Russian Roulette is Yassen Gregorovich's moment in the spotlight. Despite playing an integral role in Alex Rider's life and career as a reluctant spy, as a top notch international assassin Gregorovich has remained largely a man of mystery. While clues as to his past and his relationship with the Rider family have been found throughout the series, it is in Russian Roulette that Anthony Horowitz finally pieces everything together for curious readers. Beginning with Gregorovich receiving the order to kill Alex Rider, the book then turns back time to his youth and lets him narrate how he went from regular kid to notorious killer. Russian Roulette is a thrilling, action-packed journey through the life of Yassen Gregorovitch and is a really exciting read. There's plenty of danger, escapades and explosions but there's also considerable soul-searching and some much anticipated answers to questions about Gregorovitch's motivation.
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Format: Hardcover
I have to say that it's difficult to rate this book. I averaged the two ratings I would have given it and ended up with three stars. If it were a stand-alone novel, I would have given it 4, maybe 4.5 stars. It was interesting to find out how an innocent boy of fourteen could end up becoming one of the world's deadliest assassins. However, this is supposed to be a part of the Alex Rider series, and in that respect, I would have only given it two stars: it simply doesn't fit in with the background set out in the prior books.

I don't like spoilers, so won't get too specific, but I assume the reader is familiar with Yassen from Stormbreaker, Eagle Strike, Scorpia, and Snakehead. In this book, Yassen and John Rider's relationship and their time with Scorpia simply isn't in sync with the other books, especially with Snakehead and the story Alex's godfather Ash tells about Malta.

In fact, Malta is completely ignored in this book. I've made allowances in the past with the other books when a few small details don't match up between them, but this one I can't. Mdina is such an integral part of canon. Yassen and John are supposed to be partners, all the way until their assignment in Malta 'goes bad'. It's the motive behind Ash's actions in Snakehead, the motive in Eagle Strike for Yassen telling Alex about Scorpia in the first place. It makes the chapter 'Power Plus' in this book simply difficult to accept.

As a fan of the series, I was disappointed with how this book turned out. I really wanted to like it because it was well written. It started out strong, but failed for me in the end.
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