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Point Blank by Anthony Horowitz

Point Blank

The Alex Rider Series
Anthony Horowitz

Puffin (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-14-240612-0 (0142406120)
ISBN-13: 978-0-14-240612-0 (9780142406120)
Publication Date: February 2006
List Price: $7.99

Review: Point Blank is one of the many exciting stories in the “Alex Rider” series written by Anthony Horowitz. The book is full of Alex’s ways of solving his problems, and the problems of MI6, British Intelligence.

Alex Rider returns in his second exciting book, Point Blank by Anthony Horowitz. In this book Alex, a 14 year old schoolboy in London, goes back to his double life as an MI6 spy. In this story his mission is to simply find the relationship between two millionaires who suddenly died. It sounded easy to Alex at first, but he was meant for a more particular task. He would be sent to a school for unruly boys high in the French Alps to find his top secret information. That school was the place where these two millionaires’ sons attended, that is all the information MI6 knew. After being transformed to look like an unruly boy by MI6, Alex went to the school Point Blanc to get MI6 top secret information. Dr. Greif, the head of the school, and his assistant, Mrs. Stellenbosch, were obviously two people getting in Alex’s way of snooping around the school and getting his information. He had to live a normal life with the rest of the boys to fit in, but something strange was happening to them. They were turning … good. These were boys who were at the school for a short while and now they turned their lives completely around. Alex knew it would be a race against time to get his information and get out, or he would receive the same fate.

On a personal note, I felt that Point Blank was a good book overall. I liked the action and suspense, but there were a few minor problems. The biggest problem was that a lot of extra life in the school was put in, which wasn’t necessary to the plot, but a good aspect of this was that the author was able to make it flow together. I also liked how the author had shown the true and fake sides of the young MI6 agent, and included the traits from the first Alex Rider book.

Extra information that you may want to know about Anthony Horowitz and his other books is that he has already written 28 books, 7 of which are in the Alex Rider series. His two other main series of books are the “Power of 5” books and “The Diamond Brothers”. He has also written 3 motion pictures one of which was the first book in the Alex Rider series.

Review written by Jason, Grade 8. Date of review: April 2009.

Review: This is a review of Point Blank by Anthony Horowitz. Point Blank is the second in the Alex Rider series.

Alex Rider first appeared in the novel and movie Stormbreaker. Alex’s parents died when he was young and his uncle Ian died when he was 14. Ian was a spy for M16, British intelligence. Alex did not learn of this until after Ian’s death. Alex, with a little training, became the world’s first teenage spy and went on a mission to save the world. Point Blank begins weeks later, when he returns to school. Alex has a drug dealer at his school. In an attempt to bust the dealer, Alex ends up back in the hands of M16. He is then sent to investigate a strange finishing school. He goes in under the name of Alex Friend, son of a millionaire. He soon realizes that it is no ordinary finishing school. Not only is it located on top of a mountain peak, but only the rich and famous’ kids can enter. Another strange thing is that all of the students are 14 years old. Then, strangest of all, the schoolmaster, Dr. Grief (great name isn’t it?) with the assistance of the assistant school leader, Mrs. Stellenbosch (doesn’t she have the best name ever too?) cloned Grief several times. At the time of the book, all those clones were 14 years old. A few weeks after the arrival of a student, an evil, 14 year old clone is genetically altered to look exactly like the student. This identical Grief clone takes their place. The originals are then locked up in the basement. By the time Alex figures this out, he is the only person in the building that is not Dr. Grief, a Dr. Grief clone or one of the other school staff. Soon Alex’s real identity is discovered and he is locked up. The rest, you’ll have to find out for yourself.

The book has fast action and some realistic parts. These include his escape and what happens while he learns to imitate a criminal kid who happens to be the son of a millionaire. Against those, however there is a wealth of bad parts. One is the somewhat obvious solution. The other is that there are several unrealistic parts. This includes the part where Dr. Grief plans to have Alex dissected, live, with no pain depressors (classic part of the evil villains plan, he has the good guy at a point where he could just shoot him, but, he locks him up and waits assuming everything goes fine and the good guy dies, it never works). Also, the whole cloning thing is really fake. I don’t like that apparently Dr. Grief had cloned himself 6 years before the first publicly announced cloning (Dolly the sheep). In addition, there is a scene where Alex fights Mrs. Stellenbosch, the second in command, at Point Blank. In the battle, Alex grabs a table, tips it over, and swings around to hit her square in the back of the head. The book even states, “The blow would have knocked anyone else out, but Mrs. Stellenbosch barely faltered”, really unrealistic. Finally, is how Dr. Grief is killed. I shouldn’t tell you how; you’ll have to read the book. Even so, I think many people will like the teenage almost James Bond kind of character and will be on the edges of their seats. The end will keep them there until the next book. Even though I found there to be more criticisable things than not, I think the book overall is good. I liked this book and have read six other books in the series. I would recommend Alex Rider to anyone who likes fast action books with sometimes-unforeseen endings.

Alex Rider books have won the Booktrust Teenage Prize.

Review written by John, Grade 6. Date of review: October 2008.

Review: The story Point Blank was a great follow-up to Stormbreaker, Horowitz’s first novel. This story gets you going right away with a certain situation that has you biting your nails and urging to see what happens next. Then, you are stuck in a predicament in which the only situation is to keep reading. The mind blowing Alex Rider is, yet again, off on another marvelous spy mission that is crucial. This breathtaking novel was written by Anthony Horowitz.

The story starts off as Alex Rider is just getting back “into the swing” of school again after being away so long when action calls once again. Alex is very passionate about his risky lifestyle, and he definitely lives it to its fullest. Alan Blunt and Mrs. Jones (workers for the secret service in London) watch Alex as he tracks down a drug dealer. They are very impressed and decide that his spy career is not yet over. The deaths of two very important men have put Blunt and Jones into suspicion that they might be linked. Alex has to go undercover as a rotten rich child and to be sent of to a very odd school called Poin Blank. When Alex arrives he has to find out what is going on in the underground tunnels and the upper floors of the school. This gets Alex into some tight situations that he may not be able to get out of. Will the British secrete service (MI6) get Alex out, or will he have to suffer and die?

This novel was one of the finest I have ever read. Anthony Horowitz blended the characters of action, suspense, and comedy to create a whole new genre of book. Point Blank was very well developed saying that it had two parts going on at the same time. The story never got away from one story to focus on the next; instead, it blended both sides of the story into one. The introduction started you off with a great short story with the thriving adventurous Alex Rider sets off to break a drug raid. The characters at the school were especially well developed with there own unique personality. Every character’s personality is like a snow flake in this book, different at every angle. The author also blended science into the story along with the mystery of what really is going on at the school. Some parts toward the end of this book would serve as good debate starters if you are like that. Overall, Point Blank was well thought out and put together and all of the components come together to form bliss in your mind.

Review written by Kevin, Grade 6. Date of review: May 2009.

Review: Have you ever wanted to read a James Bond-like book with G-Rated actions? Well then, the book Point Blank is for you. It is the second book in the Alex Rider series written by Anthony Horowitz. It is about a 14-year-old called Alex. Alex lived with his uncle who was a spy for the M16 (British Secret Agency). When his uncle died on a mission, they got Alex to take his place. This series has a lot of weapons, gadgets, twists and everything you would expect from a spy story. Alex also gets to work with the SAS which is kind of like the elite British army.

Alex just got back from a mission and the usual drug dealer Skoda is there. He sells drugs and cigars to the students. They call him Skoda after the kind of his car. After school he follows the dealer and got wound up with the M16 again after having some fun with Skoda. They wanted him to go to an academy for rich, delinquent boys called Point Blanc. The cost to get in is $15,000. They have him pretend to be the son of millionaire David Friend (the owner of Friend supermarkets). The M16 wants him there because the fathers of two of the students were killed. After spending five days at the Friend house, Alex was already shot at and he used his only weapon (one shot) on someone you wouldn’t expect. When he gets to the academy he knows there is something wrong. There are armed guards everywhere, the 3rd and 4th floors are off limits and it’s almost at the top of a mountain. After awhile Alex realizes almost all the other kids talk, eat, and act the same. Then he gets captured by a villain called Dr.Grief and he plans to have Alex dissected with no pain relievers instead of just killing him. At the end there is a big twist I think no one will see coming.

I would give this book a 9 on a scale of 1-10. I liked all the action and the gadgets. I also liked how clever the author made Alex. My favorite part is the last few chapters. Especially the battle with the SAS. I have played a video game about the SAS and the people in the book and game are pretty similar. But the author could have made the villain not use the “I have the hero and he won’t escape so I don’t have to kill him” act when he caught Alex. He also could have given the villains better names because “Dr. Grief” and “Mrs. Stellenbosch” aren’t good names. Overall I think the book is pretty good and it made me want to read the rest of the series, as well as see the movie of the first book.

Review written by Zach, Grade 6. Date of review: October 2009.