“Alex Rider wants his life back. But when you’re the world’s most successful spy, there’s only one way out. Alex’s final mission will be the deadliest of all. One bullet. One life. The end starts here.”
Well, first of all, the end doesn’t start just here—it is already here. After having stayed 14 forever, Alex Rider has finally turned 15. And true to his promise, author Anthony Horowitz is retiring his most successful protagonist.
Going down memory lane, I remember picking up the first Alex Rider book as a lark. It was during the time when I didn’t really have a lot of time to read books, and I thought it was interesting enough. One book followed another, and though I was not really impressed with Ark Angel and Snakehead, I stuck with the series.
Scorpia Rising, I think, is the best of the whole series.
The main thing I liked about the book is how mature it was. Every action had a repercussion. Also, small details from previous books were brought up again. This book really did feel like an ending. It wasn’t just a “until the next time we meet” type of thing. Scorpia Rising definitely puts a period at the end of it all.
One of the strengths of the Alex Rider books, for me, has always been the characterization of the adults. We follow the story through Alex Rider’s eyes, so we don’t get a lot of glimpses into the lives of the adult characters. And when we do, we don’t get a look behind their thought process—we see them how Alex sees them. So I thought it was really beautiful how the small nuances Anthony Horowitz has put into each character was able to give them dimensions as the series went along.
Unlike in previous Alex Rider books which had the titular character being too much of hero, Scorpia Rising manages to weave a story that felt like it was natural progression of how a teenaged spy would react to what’s going on. The Alex Rider we see in this book is the most human of all the Alex Rider’s.
And what I like most about this particular book is how Alex doesn’t get into a scrape so dour and still survive without killing a person of his own volition.
Of course, with all these having been said, I have to wonder about the main villain’s mindset when he thought about his plan to bring down MI6 (the British Secret Service) and kill Alex Rider. A lot of it rested on everything going according to plan, and for people to behave how they were perceived to behave. One wrong move (or rather, a right one) from the protagonist and the whole evil scheme would’ve tumbled down. Do you think he had a back-up plan—just in case MI6 didn’t fall for his trap?
Then again, it’s a book. It’s not like I was going to walk away from finishing the book. I just had to settle with knowing that my favorite characters will all probably make it alive in the end. (Spoiler Alert: They don’t.)