Reluctant spy Alex Rider is pressed into Her Majesty’s Service again, only weeks after his initial adventure, chronicled in Stormbreaker. Once again, the head of British Intelligence is happy to “persuade” young Mr. Rider to accept the assignment. In fact, the events that lead up to the persuasive conversation are amusing, albeit nearly unbelievable.
This time, the action is in southern France, during the late winter, and there will be plenty of other boys Alex’s age in the school he is to infiltrate; however, none of them know who he really is or what he is investigating. Along the course of his mission, he interacts with a few fellow teenagers of much more affluent background, resulting in some tense situations that are just plain fun to read.
This adventure is much less predictable, and the villain is far more interesting (and creative) than the first book. At the same time, some of the things Alex does are pretty far-fetched, and a lot less credible than book one. The distrust that Alex feels toward MI6 seems more real this time around, and indeed, the author paints those adults with much rougher strokes than he did previously.
Rating: Mild. Five total instances of the same two mild terms as in the first book. Would be rated none for adult readers.