Russian Roulette: The Story of an Assassin (Alex Rider) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-06-16 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings

"I read this mainly because one of my Teen Boys'Book Groups wanted to read it, so I wasn't particularly expecting it to appeal to me that much (I'm more of goth romance kind of girl, if I'm honest). But it was a very readable story and, being a prequal to Stormbreaker, you didn't need to have any previous series knowledge to appreciate it.

To sum it up, without the use of any spoilers, it's the story of how a young teenage Russian boy is forced into a position where he has to train as an international assassin. But it's a book that keeps you guessing right to the end about whether it's possible to change somebody's inherent moral compass just by putting them on a career path which seems impossible for them to escape from.

Yassen Gregorovich never imagined for one moment that his quiet and boring childhood in a rural Russian village could ever lead to international espionage and cold-blooded killing. To a great extent he doesn't choose this path, but as the story evolves he starts to try and make some decisions for himself and about his own destiny and whether fate has determined it or whether he has some free-will. The answer to that is surprising and provides one of the final twists in the story.

Horowitz is, of course, a massively popular author in the public library (I checked today and all of his books were out again - I made a note to buy some more copies!) I think this has a lot to do with his accessible writing style. He doesn't go for unusual words or unnecessary descriptions. His style is very straightforward, so the success of his stories really just depends on the strength of his plots and characters. Personally, I would have liked a sub-plot or some more emotional intensity, but then I'm not a teenage boy. For me the only thing that my book group might struggle with is the slight lack of page-turning suspense. It's an interesting read, well-told, but not as completely gripping as it might need to be for it's intended audience, perhaps.
You see that little box that say 'comment' just below here. Just give me a clue as to why you're all suddenly rating this particular review. Do you all know each other or something? I'm just curious :)
" said.

"Before I started the series I knew that I wanted to read this book most and after finishing reading it I realised that I was right and I have to say that I enjoyed this one most. Not only did I enjoy it but I actually had tears in my eyes at one specific point...

This is the story of the Russian assassin in the Alex rider books. Yassen Gregorvich, whose name is actually Yasha (which as a Russian I can tell you that it's not actually a full name but only a nickname that comes from the name Yakov but anyways...).

The actual time line of the book is during Alex's first mission and so it takes place during their first meeting and the stormbraker events. Although most of the book is not during the "present" but rather Yassen thinking about his life.

***** MILD SPOILERS *****

I just found it so much fun looking at Russian culture from the perspective of a foreigner. It was just so interesting to read about how he (the author) tries to explain our school marking system (which has nothing to do with stars...just saying) and the way the children dressed and how the villages looked... And I think that the reason that I really liked this book was mostly because I could relate to the situations and picture the environments since they were something I knew (at least a little bit since most of it was quite old...)

Which is why this book is probably not going to be enjoyed by a lot of foreigners, because honestly looking back at it right now I don't think I would have understood most of what was going on without my knowledge of Russian culture... Also pronunciation would have been kinda hard...


So that moment that I actually cried in was when he returned to that house in the silver forest and had that chat with Sharkovsky... I just couldn't not shed a couple silent tears when he said "I am what you made me". I mean first of all that's just an emotional line but like mostly I think that it got to me because it's kinda a reference to the mortal instruments... Is that a spoiler? Lol .. I'm spoiling a book in the review of a different book. But basically that line is connected to a very emotional part in the life of a different character and like that tied the two together for me and then I was even sadder and I just ... I had to like wait a second before I could keep reading...

All in all I very much enjoyed this book, it was awesome and sad (I believe the word is melancholy) because while I really wanted to know more about his life, I knew it wasn't going to have a happy ending... So Ye I feel like I could rant about this guy forever so I'm gonna end it here... End of rant.
" said.


This was a pretty cool installment to the Alex Rider espionage/thriller series, though I thought the plot in this novel was duller than the other Alex Rider books, and I was surprised to find that Yassen is a much less interesting main character than Alex.

I used to think of Yassen Gregorovich as an intriguing, cold-hearted assassin, with a mysterious past, but now that I've read through his eyes, he seems quite dull compared to Alex. I'm not sure what it is, but there's just something so compelling about Alex Rider, which is most likely what made me read all nine books in the Alex Rider series. Maybe it's his fiery, determined personality, or his intelligent character that's so absurdly smart for a teenager it's just plain inspiring.

Even though I think the Alex Rider series was ridiculously drawn out (the plots became extremely repetitive after a few books), I'm pretty sure if Russian Roulette had been told through Alex's point of view, I would've enjoyed it a lot more.

The plot of this book still had Anthony Horowitz's trademark quick-witted writing, which was probably my favorite thing about it. I love the author's organized, clever writing style, and the way he always schemes out his plots so that everything comes together perfectly (or purposely not-so-perfect) in the end. I also love how Horowitz focuses on such tiny details. For example, if one of his characters was given something as simple as a soda can, and that character tucked the soda away in his pocket, you can guarantee that later in the story, that can of soda is going to be a crucial plot device.

I also liked (and this might be a bit spoilery for those of you who have read the other books in this series) the revelation in Yassen's character, showing that he wasn't always a cold-blooded killer, but was actually a completely innocent fourteen-year-old once, before he got dragged into the messy and dangerous worlds of Scorpia and MI6. (view spoiler)" said.

"Russian Roulette was an adventurous read that sucked me into the making of an Assassin, it kept me on my toes until the very end.

It’s a Young Adult fiction book that focuses on a man named Yasha Gregorovich, this book tells the story of his life and what turns a person into a ruthless killer.

Yasha started out being an ordinary school boy until a biochemical weapon leaked devastating his village and leaving him homeless. Struggling to survive he learns to live on the streets by stealing, begging, and scamming. He then steals from the wrong person and becomes a slave for a greedy businessman. After escaping the businessman's grasp he finds himself in school training to be an assassin for the criminal organization known as scorpia. He learns to kill, speak different languages, and even how to disappear. After graduating his training he is then given an assignment to kill someone. He couldn’t complete this assignment because he doesn’t have it in him to kill someone yet. He then planned on leaving the life of an assassin behind until he stumbles upon that businessman again and kills him. Yasha is such a different person from the beginning of the book to the end. I felt like the author developed his character so well that it actually made me feel bad for him even though in the end, he became one of the worlds best killers.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in spies/assassins or anyone just looking for a total killer of a book.

" said.

" Horrifying but amusing story about how a brutal and ruthless dictator of a once powerful empire stole or at least one the American presidential by manipulating a grifter and his family. " said.

" It was ok. It barely features Alex Rider. " said.

" I read the Alex Rider books when they were first released, but never finished the series. Reading this has made me want to return to them! Well written and full of action, you really end up feeling for Gregoravich and understand how he ended up as Alex Rider's enemy. A must read for fans of the series! " said.

"This one let me down, I think it's because I was comparing it to the Alex Rider books, but it should be classed on its own because it is so different. I was waiting for something exciting and action-y to happen, the most I could say was the Russian Roulette between Yassen and Sharvovsky. The explosion at his house and in the jungle with Alex's father, specking about that I don't know if I wasn't concentrating when I read that part, but I wanted more clarification on the relationship between Yassen and Alex's father, because to be frank it's the only reason I read the book. and I wanted to know EXACTLY why Yassen let Alex live, maybe I missed it because it was open-ended. DONT read it if you are expecting another Alex Rider great. " said.

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