Just as we suspected, the sniper at the end of Scorpia did not succeed in killing young Mr. Rider. During his hospital stay, Alex befriends another boy, whose family is involved in the Ark Angel, a huge hotel in space. Alex’s talents prevent the boy from being killed, and so he is taken into the boy’s family as a measure of gratitude. This is exactly what MI6 desires but is simply afraid to ask the teenage spy.
Working with the CIA again, Alex is instrumental in infiltrating the core of Ark Angel management, trying to discover the true purpose behind a too-good-to-be-true facade of a simple orbiting hostel. His continued reluctance notwithstanding, he learns that certain tasks (even deadly ones) are sometimes better executed by adolescents, not adults.
I had suspected that this book would finally see Alex Rider come to terms with his abilities in the world of espionage, but in fact, he becomes even more adamant that he no longer wants to work in the realm of secrets. This personal conflict has only become slightly tedious over the course of the series to this point, but the boy is certainly gaining more self-confidence toward his spymasters, and there is a scent in the air of a coming showdown.
Rated: Mild. A handful of mild expletives are scattered through the text, and although there is a body count, the violence is not overdone.