SCORPIA RISING – ALEX RIDER’S FINAL ADVENTURE

Scorpia Rising is the latest Alex Rider book by Anthony Horowitz. It’s the last book in the series and as far as red hot action goes, it doesn’t disappoint.

“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 them all.”

In Scorpia Rising, Alex encounters some old foes. The crime syndicate Scorpia, who Alex has defeated twice already, has set a trap for MI6 where it plans to use Alex and lure him to his death.

Alex is also confronted with his old enemy the psychopathic Julius Grief who hates Alex with a passion because of past encounters. Julius is looking forward to being witness to Alex’s slow painful torture and eventual death.

Alex, who is well and truly ‘over’ being a teenage super spy is drawn back into this dangerous world and this time he might not escape with his life.

Scorpia Rising is fast-paced and full of gadgets to appeal to the techno head. As usual there’s never a dull moment, and people and situations are not what they seem.

It’s hard enough to end a book well, let alone a series, but Anthony Horowitz manages to tie up all the loose ends in a believable way that will leave readers feeling that things have reached their conclusion.

Like all the Alex Rider books, Scorpia Rising drags the reader in right from the start and doesn’t let them go till the last page.

Although the characters aren’t people that teen readers would encounter in their normal everyday world, they have flaws and feelings that make them credible. Despite his unusual talents, Alex is presented as a boy who makes mistakes and has flaws – these things make him real to the reader.

The Alex Rider books are full of suspense and all the elements to engage teen readers – particularly boys.

Every piece of action has been well researched and well thought out and in Scorpia Rising, the odds of Alex surviving seem more impossible than ever before.

There are more fascinating locations and exotic settings as Alex super spies his way across the globe, and places like Egypt provide a backdrop for new action and adventure.

In the acknowledgements at the end of the book, author Anthony Horowitz conveys his sadness that the Alex Rider series has come to an end with Scorpia Rising. There are many readers who will feel this way too.

Scorpia Rising is a great read for teens and is published by Walker Books.

 

TEEN READERS TALK ABOUT ALEX RIDER

Today, 15 year-old George is visiting Kids’ Book Capers to talk about why he is a big Alex Rider fan.

George, what do you like about the Alex Rider Books?

They’re action packed, fast paced well written. They have a good storyline and all the gadgets are really good.

Each book has a unique storyline. Interesting is places he goes, what gadgets he gets, why the bad guy is doing what he is doing?

What do you like most about the Alex Rider books?

I really like the characters – they are enjoyable – each has their own sense of humour.

Some characters are believable and some aren’t. I’m hard pressed to believe that there is a fourteen year old spy but that doesn’t worry me – doesn’t stop me from enjoying the stories.

What is your favourite gadget?

The Cannondale Bad Boy Bike because it has lots of features, lots of things it can do – bells and whistles.

ABOUT ALEX RIDER’S BIKE

The Cannondale Bad Boy Bike is designed and built for speed, safety and reliability. it has an aluminium frame and special tyres. To deter pursuit the bike has a smokescreen, an oil dispenser and two heat-seeking missiles. The seat post acts as an emergency ejection system and there are special accessories for the rider’s safety

What’s your favourite book?

Crocodile Tears. Dennis McCain is the chief of First Aid, and he sets up disasters so that when people donate money he can grab it.

Why is this your favourite Alex Rider Book?

It’s interesting. I like the fact that Dennis McCain was all cocky and that Alex Rider managed to beat him.

What do you like about Alex?

He always seems to know what to do – and he’s generous and nice. I like that he is confident.

I think it’s fair enough that he doesn’t want to be a spy, he’s only 14 years old

Would you like to be Alex Rider – why/why not?

Yes and No.

Yes because you get all the cool gadgets and things and meet new people and travel the world.

No, I wouldn’t want to be under all that pressure to save the world and live up to my uncle’s and my dad’s name.

REVIEW OF STORMBREAKER – JOHN – aged 14

Alex Rider’s uncle is a secret government agent but Alex doesn’t know it. Uncle gets killed on way back from mission. Alex meets two people from MI6 and joins MI6 and goes on a mission to stop Herod Sale

Alex goes undercover (as a guy who won competition) to see what Herod Sale is up to and stop him if it’s bad.

What I liked

I liked at training camp when he toughed it out and didn’t let anyone get the better of him.

I liked the way Alex used his talents and courage to overcome the bad guy.

What I didn’t like?

That you didn’t find out much about his parents.

I would recommend this book to people because it was interesting and fast paced and I liked the technology.

Anyone between age of 11 and 17 would enjoy these books.

John

OUR ALEX RIDER PROMOTION FINISHES THIS FRIDAY

TO ENTER THE ALEX RIDER COMPETITION AND WIN FABULOUS PRIZES GO TO  http://content.boomerangbooks.com.au/content/main/anthony-horowitz-promotion.shtml

WHY ALEX RIDER GETS KIDS READING – FEATURING CROCODILE TEARS

Today we welcome The Book Chook back to Kids’ Book Capers to talk about why Alex Rider gets Kids Reading.

Hi Book Chook, great to have you back here. Anthony Horowitz’s series has been credited with changing boys’ attitudes to reading. How important, for boy readers in particular is it that books like the Alex Rider series are available?

I know it’s not politically correct to generalize but I am rarely politically correct. Some boys aren’t attracted to fiction, but many of those who are need adventurous books which race along at high-octane level, ricocheting from one scrape to another.

Crocodile Tears has been simultaneously published as a traditional book, an e-book and an iPhone application. Do you think that offering these options is a good thing for  readers?

Yes! Some mourn the imminent demise of the printed book but I think that’s hooey. It’s not a case of either or. We need print books AND technology-driven applications. If a mum is queuing in the supermarket and she can hand her iphone to her three-year-old so the child can read a picture book on the device, great! But for bedtime reading aloud that night, perhaps real printed picture books are the answer.

I spend hours with a computer screen each day, so when I quit, I read print books for relaxation. But when we next go to China, I hope to have several books digitally stored on my iPad, so I can avoid excess baggage charges.

Do you have some tips of your own to encourage kids to read?

After loving your kids and respecting them, read to them. Read to them every day. Tell jokes, read riddles, write letters and notes. Dance, sing, pretend, paint, recite poetry, go to theatre performances, lie on the grass and cloud-watch. Read some more. Get to know the wonderful Australian children’s authors who have so much to offer our Aussie kids. Hang out at your local library. Make sure your kids see you reading and writing. Let your kids choose what they want to read, but sneak in an occasional favourite of your own. Make sure your home has books galore.

And if you can, get a big old Jacaranda tree for your backyard. They’re great places for reading.

A REVIEW OF CROCODILE TEARS

by Lachlan – aged 12

Crocodile Tears is about Desmond McCain who started up a charity called first Aid and they always seemed to be the first ones there whenever there was a crisis.

Desmond intends to keep all the donations for himself and Alex has to stop it from happening.

I liked Crocodile Tears because I liked how Alex beat Desmond McCain in poker. I liked the Kikuyu Tribesman and how the writer used the location to fit them into the story. I liked the suspense in the story and it was hard to predict what was going to happen.

I didn’t like what happened to the RAW agent, Rahim.

People who enjoy fast-paced quirky action books will like this book.

Lachlan

TO ENTER OUR ALEX RIDER COMPETITION AND WIN FABULOUS PRIZES GO TO  http://content.boomerangbooks.com.au/content/main/anthony-horowitz-promotion.shtml.

ALEX RIDER MEETS THE BOOK CHOOK

When the first Alex Rider book came out ten years ago, it became a global bestseller. The reluctant teenage superspy was credited with helping to cure many reluctant readers. Alex Rider and his exploits turned a whole generation of teenage boys onto reading for pleasure.

Today The Book Chook is visiting Kids’ Book Capers to talk about the importance of literacy and why the Alex Rider books have been so effective in getting kids to read. But first of all, she’s going to talk a bit about what she does.

Can you give us a bit of background about why you set up The Book Chook blog and established your e-zine, Literacy Lava? What is Literacy Lava and where can people get it?
http://www.thebookchook.com is The Book Chook blog,

I set up The Book Chook blog because I was getting closer to my goal of becoming a children’s writer (or so I thought!) and I knew I needed an online presence. However, it didn’t make much sense for me to blog about children’s writing when my only published credits were in travel magazines.

I read an article that suggested  bloggers find their passion and write about that. I have many passions, but the one that was closest to writing was children’s literature and literacy. I began writing children’s book reviews and bringing parents tips and ideas to help with kids’ learning.

Literacy Lava grew from my desire to reach more people with my message about encouraging kids to read, write and communicate with creativity. I have an amazing group of contributors who come from different backgrounds, but who all share my passion and are keen to reach out to parents and teachers.

The fifth issue of Literacy Lava a has just been published, and is now available for download from Susan’s website.

You are a passionate advocate of literacy, can you tell us why you think it’s so important?

I think literacy is the magical key to children’s future success. If children love to read, write and communicate, they have the building blocks they need for future learning. Literacy impacts all other subjects. Being able to read not only helps kids learn, it allows them access to other people’s dreams and fuels their own dreams.

I believe our society needs dreamers – people who can think creatively and come up with solutions to some of the problems that beset us.

Where does this passion for literacy come from? Is it a professional or a personal thing or both?

I taught in Primary schools in NSW for 25 years, and I taught ESL in China. I loved both jobs, especially being able to share my love of books, poetry and drama. Before that, I was a reader/writer/communicator, often found perched in the Jacaranda tree with my nose in a book, or bossing the neighbourhood kids into staging Robin Hood among the gum trees. So both personal and professional I guess.

The Alex Rider books have sold over twelve million copies worldwide and been translated into 28 languages.

Why do you think Alex’s reluctant teenage superspy character appeals to so many readers?

Alex Rider is not only who we want to be, he’s real enough to almost be who we are. I think Horowitz gets it exactly right with Alex.

Alex Rider has a lot of ingenious gadgets. Do you think this is part of his appeal for readers?

Absolutely! Aren’t we all fascinated by how things work, inventions, technology? I know I am.

Next week at Kids’ Book Capers, The Book Chook will be back for an in depth look at why Alex Rider has been so successful in encouraging boys to read. There will also be a review of Crocodile Tears by Lachlan aged 12.

TO ENTER OUR ALEX RIDER COMPETITION AND WIN FABULOUS PRIZES GO TO  http://content.boomerangbooks.com.au/content/main/anthony-horowitz-promotion.shtml.

WE HAVE TWO COMPLETE SETS OF ALEX RIDER BOOKS TO GIVE AWAY PLUS OTHER PRIZES. GET YOUR ENTRY IN TODAY!

ANTHONY HOROWITZ – THE STORY BEHIND THE ALEX RIDER STORIES

In the ten years since the first Alex Rider book appeared on our bookshelves, there have been over 12 million sales around the world.

To celebrate 10 years of the Alex Rider phenomenon, Kids’ Book Capers is having a three week celebration where we’ll be looking in depth at the books and the man behind them.

Today, our first post looks at the inspiration for the Alex Rider stories.

Anthony Horowitz admits to being an avid James Bond fan and says he used to queue for hours in the rain to be the first one to see the latest James Bond Movie. When he was bored at school, he used to relive the most exciting moments from the James Bond films.

He says,

“These were the dreams that sustained me through maths, physics, chemistry and all the other subjects at which I was no good at all. I used to build secret drawers in the bottom of matchboxes and fill them with tiny bits & pieces, badly glued together. My imagination would then turn them into super-weapons…”

He discovered the James Bond books when he was 12 and read them over and over again. Horowitz says that when he became a scriptwriter some years later, he had a secret dream to write a James Bond movie. After a disastrous interview with a movie producer, he decided that one day he would create his own James Bond.

After he’d finished writing his book The Switch, he started to toy with the idea of creating a new sort of hero.

A boy who lived in the real world, who went to comprehensive school, who didn’t want to be a hero but would survive – just – a series of ever darker adventures.

He wanted his books to remind people of Ian Fleming’s James Bond stories without actually stealing from them.

Horowitz says,

“So even as I started work on the first book, I made conscious decisions. James Bond was a patriot who enjoyed working for the Secret Service. My hero would be recruited against his will and wouldn’t trust the people he worked for. There would be no gadgets. Alex would never have a gun.”

But Horowitz says he was forced to revise his ‘no gadgets’ policy after several school visits.

Every one I spoke to wanted gadgets. More than that – they expected gadgets.

Giving Alex Rider gadgets has been one of the most challenging parts of the writing process for Horowitz. He is adamant that they must be realistic and says,

They always have to be concealed in items that you would expect to find in the pocket of an average fourteen-year-old and, when you really think about it, that rather narrows the field.

And unlike James Bond, Alex Rider’s gadgets have to be non lethal. They have to be life saving but surprising.

With their superspy themes and action adventure, it’s not surprising that the Alex Rider books are sometimes compared to James Bond’s adventures.

But according to Horowitz,

At the end of the day, the most important thing for me is to be original. When it comes to thinking up the stories, creating the characters, devising the action sequences and chases, my first question is always – did Bond do it? And if the answer is yes, then sadly I have to think of something else.

The Alex Rider adventures have been translated into 28 languages and several are now available as state-of-the-art graphic novels. The latest best selling title in the sequence, Crocodile Tears, was simultaneously published as a traditional book, an e-book and an iPhone application.

TO ENTER OUR ALEX RIDER COMPETITION AND WIN FABULOUS PRIZES GO TO  http://content.boomerangbooks.com.au/content/main/anthony-horowitz-promotion.shtml.

ALEX RIDER PROMOTION STARTS TODAY!

Today at Kids’ Book Capers we start three weeks of celebrations for super spy Alex Rider’s ten years in print.

Thanks to our friends at Walker Books we have some fabulous prizes to give away.

From now until 11th June, we’ve got some great posts happening here.

Learn about Alex Rider’s life saving gadgets, and the villains who are out to destroy him. Find out about Anthony Horowitz, the man behind the Alex Rider phenomenon.

We’re also talking with literacy expert, The Book Chook on how Alex Rider got boys reading, and we’ve got some interviews and reviews with Alex Rider fans.

Here’s what to expect:

24th May 2010 ANTHONY HOROWITZ – The story behind the stories – where the inspiration for the Alex Rider books came from.
26th May 2010 Interview with Tom 13 about the Alex Rider Books
31st May 2010 ABOUT THE ALEX RIDER PHENOMENON – The villains and the technology
2nd June 2010 LITERACY AND ALEX RIDER PART 1 – MEET THE BOOK CHOOK
7th June 2010 LITERACY AND ALEX RIDER PART 2 – WHY ALEX RIDER GETS BOYS READING

A review of Crocodile Tears by Lachlan aged 12

9th June 2010 Interview with George 15 about the Alex Rider Books and review of Stormbreaker by John 14

*  *  *  TOMORROW AT KIDS’ BOOK CAPERS WE LOOK AT ANTHONY HOROWITZ – THE MAN BEHIND THE ALEX RIDER PHENOMENON!

TO ENTER OUR ALEX RIDER COMPETITION AND WIN FABULOUS PRIZES GO TO  http://content.boomerangbooks.com.au/content/main/anthony-horowitz-promotion.shtml.

TWO COMPLETE SETS OF THE ALEX RIDER BOOKS TO BE WON!

BREAKING: Anthony Horowitz Tour Cancelled

Children’s author Anthony Horowitz has cancelled his upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand.
 
“I am very sorry that I am unable to come to Australia/New Zealand this year as I had originally planned. I have just had two television related projects land on my desk which will monopolise my time. Unfortunately I simply cannot meet all my writing deadlines whilst undertaking an international tour,” Anthony said.
 
“Once again, I apologise for not being able to make it for now but I want to pass on my heartfelt thanks for your ongoing support and enthusiasm for my books which means so much to me.”
 
2010 marks the tenth anniversary of Anthony’s wildly successful Alex Rider series.