Sunday, August 15, 2010

Crocodile Tears Review (Anthony Horowitz)

For a year of Alex Rider's young fourteen-year-old life, he has more or less unwillingly worked for MI6. He's been shot, nearly drowned, and almost met an untimely demise in more ways than can be counted. He's had seven successful missions. But now he's turned his back on MI6. All Alex wants is to return to a normal teenage life.

But danger just finds Alex, and when a New Year celebration ends in a car crash, Alex starts to suspect that his normal life is going to have to wait. One thing leads to another when a journalist appears on Alex's front doorstep, and he soon finds himself on another mission for MI6: break into the computer of one Leonard Straik of Greenfields bio research center and download its contents. But things are far deeper than even Alan Blunt - head of MI6 - could have guessed, and Alex is right in the middle of it.

I've looked for a good spy series and I was simply delighted when I finally picked up the Alex Rider series. Seven books later and I was dearly wishing that poor Alex would get a break from everything. I was glad when Anthony Horowitz ended the series with Snakehead.

But then this one came out and I was a little worried. Series, even good ones, can carry on only for so long! From the very beginning, Crocodile Tears was not my favorite, but I wasn't disappointed, either. The very first page contained the action and sinisterness that is so trademark of Alex Rider, and it didn't stop. I wouldn't say that I was ever held in suspense (because the books are pretty predictable), but I was certainly interested.

Alex himself is a good character. I don't say that often about teenage boy characters - they are almost always as annoying as real-life adolescent males. But I liked Alex from the start and still do. I felt terrible that Alex was once more wrenched from his life. And while I was never in alarm for his life, I felt sorry every time he was injured.

This wasn't Anthony Horowitz's masterpiece. Those dealing with Scorpia are my favorites. But after a rest, this was a good comeback. His writing style was still very much the same - movie-ish. Normally I don't like that, but for a series like Alex Rider, it works. He still went into great mechanical detail, showing off the research he did, knowing full well that his Readers don't know what he's talking about, but hey! It sounds cool and we Readers get the general gist of it, right?

There was one scene, though, that sent chills up my spine: Chapter 9 - Invisible Man. When MI6 deals with the journalist. It did creep me out and it was my favorite chapter. I re-read it when I finished the book. It is like a nightmare. What would it be like if it happened to you?? Creepy!!

Two thumbs up for Crocodile Tears. Normally the 8th book in a series doesn't turn out well, but Anthony Horowitz was successful in his comeback. However, I do hope he gives poor Alex a rest sometime soon in the future.

Star Rating: 4/5 (really liked it)

Others in the Alex Rider Series:
2)Point Blank
3)Skeleton Key
4)Eagle Strike
6)Ark Angel
8)Crocodile Tears
9)Scorpia Rising

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