Sunday, April 3, 2011

Review: Scorpia Rising - Anthony Horowitz

Synopsis: In his time as a British spy, Alex Rider has taken on countless enemies. While he's never come away unscathed, he's always completed his missions. But there is one enemy that just won't stay down, the terrorist organization that murdered his parents and forever changed Alex's life: Scorpia.

Back and more powerful than ever, Scorpia has its sights set on the turbulent Middle East, and Alex must risk his life in one of the most volatile regions in the world. His mission? Put Scorpia out of business. Permanently.

But this may be one mission Alex won't be coming home from. You've been hoping this day would never come, but you won't be able to tear yourself away from the final chapter in this international #1 best-selling series.

Review: An absolutely brilliant conclusion for the series, from beginning to end. I actually had doubts about whether or not Alex would live; the first time that that has ever happened in reading any of the Alex Rider books. Scorpia has, by far, always been Anthony Horowitz's best villains, and what better way to wrap everything up than to have Alex face them once more? Though Scorpia, as a whole, is hardly Alex's worst enemy in this volume. Yet another comes back from a past mission to haunt him, and it's good. Horowitz's choice to allow the Reader to actually see what Scorpia is planning was a new and excellent move on his part as the Author. We have always gotten a small window into what the master villain is planning, but this time we get about half of the book to find it out, making things, believe it or not, a lot more suspenseful. We get to see just enough to understand a little beyond the general gist of what is happening, but we still wonder: What's truly happening?

Scorpia Rising
really suffers from no shortcomings that others didn't as well. It is written in a very movie-ish style, which I accept because for a spy series like this, I suppose it would be difficult to write it otherwise. But the chase scene toward the end felt like it dragged. The Author focused on every little detail so much that I found myself tapping my fingers impatiently against the pages. However, it ends satisfactorily, as if to make up for the drag. The villains are pretty cliche, as in all the others. They graciously explain the whole extent of the plan to Alex before killing him, and even before they do that they explain how they are going to kill him. If villains did this more often in real life, fewer people would probably die. But I have to admit that I would miss the clicheness a bit; it's a spy series, after all, and what is a spy series without gadgets, crazy villains who politely explain everything just in case we miss something, and of course the unusual forms of death? No, it just wouldn't be the same.

But for all of those typical shortcomings, Scorpia Rising offers a lot of surprises. I found myself more than once thinking, Wow, I really didn't see that coming. If it weren't for these twists, Scorpia Rising would have been a disappointing grand finale. But it isn't. The end is, in a way, like no other Alex Rider book. It surprised me a little, made me sad, but happy and satisfied at the same time. And also unlike the others, it actually felt like a conclusion. Alex Rider is finally at rest.

I was pleased.

Overall Rating: 

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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