Anthony Horowitz, Alex Rider: Secret Weapon, Walker Books, April 2019, 352 pp., RRP $16.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781406387476
Alex Rider: Secret Weapon is a collection of seven stories from author Anthony Horowitz.
Having never read the series before, I think starting with this collection is a good foundation for anyone wanting to dive into the series.
The stories are all action packed spy adventures, in which Alex proves he’s a James Bond in the making. From Afghanistan, to being kidnapped and held for information on MI6, Alex is a calm, cool and collected action hero.
He is also a reluctant one. The stories give readers enough of his history with his uncle Ian, the training to which he subjected Alex, and how that brought him to the attention of MI6 to understand that Alex would genuinely rather be in school. He resents missing so much of his normal life – but his sense of responsibility won’t let him say no.
There are times I had to remind myself he’s a 14 year old character, I must admit. The adventure is utterly fun, and filled with tension that will have readers worrying about Alex, but there’s very little here about the 14 year old part of Alex, that maybe wants to hang out with his friends too, in between saving the world.
Instead, we have him interacting with MI6 agents and getting his next mission. The only lightness, or hint of Alex, beyond the adventures is his relationship with Jack, his housekeeper.
That said, this is a collection of short stories, focused on the adventure and danger in Alex’s life and his missions. This is why I think it’s fantastic introduction to the series, where readers will learn a whole lot more about Alex Rider.
Reviewed by Verushka Byrow