Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Anthony Horowitz
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 to and up
Penguin, 2006   ISBN: 978-0142405789

Alex Rider is on a mission. This time he is not working for MI6; this time there is a job that he has to do for himself. Just a short time ago Alex was present when his old nemesis, Yassen Gregorovich died. Before he died Yassen told Alex that he and Alex’s father used to be comrades and if Alex wanted to know more about his father and his father’s life he must go to Venice where he should find Scorpia. Scorpia would help “find your destiny.”

Alex does not even know what or who Scorpia is but he still goes to Italy and soon after he arrives he does indeed connect with Scorpia. He discovers that Scorpia is an organization whose members are blackmailers and assassins. The leader of this highly successful group tells Alex that his father used to be a member of Scorpia and that John Rider was killed by MI6 during a prisoner exchange. Furious, confused, and feeling as if he has no direction in life Alex decides to join Scorpia.

After a training period Alex is sent on his first mission – to murder Mrs. Jones, the MI6 operative who was responsible for John Rider’s death. Thankfully Alex does not succeed and Mrs. Jones and her boss, Mr. Blunt, are able to get Alex to change sides. They tell the young man that Scorpia is planning on killing thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of English school children using a mystery weapon called “Invisible Sword.” Although Alex despises MI6 and everyone who works for that organization, he cannot stand by while Scorpia commits mass murder. So Alex agrees to become a double agent. Alex thought it was bad enough being a spy for MI6, but this new role is infinitely worse, not to mention highly dangerous.

In this fifth Alex Rider adventure, the teenage boy finally begins to piece together who is parents were and what they did with their lives before they were tragically killed in a plane crash. Many teenagers will have no difficulty identifying with Alex as he struggles with his feelings of loss, anger, and isolation. Though his circumstances are unusual to say the least, his feelings are familiar. With a gripping plot which is full of surprises and a truly shocking ending, this is a book which readers will have a hard time putting down once they have begun it.