At the beginning of the year my son randomly discovered the Alex Rider books. It was quite by accident, I went to the local library to pick up some reserved books and I spotted the first Alex Rider book there and asked the librarian about it and she said they would probably suit my 10 year old. So I borrowed the first book and he loved it. But then we got into that rut of trying to reserve the books (in the correct order) from the library, having to wait because things were working a lot slower during lockdown. And even though I am so thankful for the reservation service at the library and we love our library and use them a lot my son is a bit of a bookworm and once he finds books that he enjoys he tends to tear through them very quickly, so we were getting a bit frustrated with the waiting. And then I got an email from Books2Door asking if I would like to review a book for them. They sent me a list of possibilities and right there on the list was the Alex Rider series (such perfect timing) so I immediately said YES.
It is only the second time I have used the Books2Door website but so far my experiences have been positive. I logged onto the site Sunday evening, placed my order, selected standard delivery (which costs £3.99) and my books were at our door by Wednesday, all in perfect order.
The set we ordered was the Alex Rider Box set of 11 books for £22.95, which works out at roughly £2 a book – an excellent price.
As soon as the set arrived my son immediately dived in and I must confess I wanted to see what all the fuss was about so I also started reading the set. (I am now on book 6 of the set). I started off with the idea that I would just read the first 2 books in the set so I would have an idea about the story and plot for the review. But my son loved the fact that I was also reading “his Books” and ended up joining me on the couch on a number of occasions. And I am all for anything that encourages reading so we have now agreed that both of us will finish reading the set together (and I must admit I am really enjoying our mother-son reading time).
The basic plot – Alex Rider is an orphan who lives with his uncle until his uncle is killed. Alex then discovers his uncle is a spy working for MI6 and Alex agrees to go undercover to help them find the person who killed his uncle.
It is sort of like a kids version of James Bond / Mission Impossible, with gadgets and no adult scenes. Although the one complaint I have about these books is in every book there is always one line which I think could have been left out, for example “people drifting in and out of pornographic cinemas and striptease clubs. He had accidentally drifted into the famous red-light district of Amsterdam.” My son is 10 years old and he is an innocent 10 year old so really I would have preferred it if the stories were just kids spy stories without these unnecessary lines added in about pornographic images and striptease. They really do not add anything to the story line. But I must also admit that because these one-liners are irrelevant to the main plot my son always seems to skim over them and it is only because I am also reading the books that I have spotted them and think they could have been left out.
The adventures are fun-filled and cover a wide range of activities and experiences – like going scuba diving or going into space and the gadgets are always fun (like exploding gum or a bicycle with all kinds of additional features – think of a kids version of James Bond’s car but it is a bicycle). People do die in the books and Alex does end up killing some himself but it always as a result of him defending himself. He never goes out with the intention of assassinating anyone. There are bad guys/ evil characters in the books but so far the bad guys are not so scary or evil that I have thought it was too much. And there is no swearing or crude language. My son is 10 and I would personally say the age range for these would be 10 – 14 years, I would not recommend them for younger kids but I do think 13/ 14 year olds would enjoy the action.
Also I do think it is a good idea to read the books in order. There are events and characters that are carried through from the earlier books so it does make a bit more sense to try and stick to the order. If you stick to the order you also get to really see the character of Alex Rider develop and grow.
So far we have been enjoying all the books and I have no doubt we will finish reading the set soon. It has definitely been a good find for us.
Admin – As I mentioned above Books2Door asked if I wanted to write a book review for them and I choose the Alex Rider set because my son had already read the first one and enjoyed it. All opinions expressed are that of myself and my son.