BOOK REVIEWS

Crocodile Tears (Alex Rider) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-09-06 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings
ISBN:014241719X
LANGUAGE: English

" Stormbreaker Point Blank Skeleton Key Scorpia Eagle Strike Ark Angel Scorpia Rising Alex Rider: The Gadgets " said.

"Back in London it seems Alex is finally settling into normality and concluded his relationship with MI6. During his Christmas and New Year's holiday he will spend time with Sabina Pleasure and her parents. The New Year's party is at a castle where a charity maker, ex-boxer, Desmond McCain is hosting an entire entourage of celebrities with proceeds going for First Aid. On leaving the party, a car accident (Alex believes was caused by a gunshot) puts the wheel in motion for another story. What is less known abour the Rev. McCain is that he is also building a secret weapon (haven't your heard his one before ;) ?), a chemical one. A journalist trying to expose him is eliminated. A school trip to Greenfields, a research centre on GM seeds, becomes the start of a new mission for Alex: a deadly modification will spread poison via wheat plantations in Africa. It is there, in Kenya, where Alex ends up after miraculously surviving the exploit at the Greenfields GM research centre.
This time there is a small collaboration with the Indian secret service, who is looking for McCain as he apparntely conveniently causes the disasters that his First Aid charity runs to rescue afterwards. Any Commonwealth allusion is just coincidental...
" said.

"This was an awesome book! It had great action, lots of mystery, and a very dramatic end! I think that it definitely got too violent at some points, but overall the story was pretty good.
As I read Crocodile Tears, (which, by the way, is a brilliant and totally deep title for this book), I realized that throughout the series, it seems like the author, Anthony Horowitz, has been subtly shifting his writing style with each new book to fit that tale - emphasizing different aspects of each one, making each book totally unique, yet undeniably bound together so that they don't seem like badly chopped-up pieces of what really should be one long book. I think that it's rather brilliant, although you'll have to judge for yourself.
Anyway, I loved the unique setting (as always) of this book, the new gadgets and tools involved (Smithers is totally awesome!), and of course, Alex's unfailing ingenuity and... pure-coolness-in-its-most-awesome-form!
I'm very, very sad to be moving on to what (for now) is the last book is what has been a very fun series to read. I look forward to the new, brilliant, and well-thought-out adventure, though, (even if it does come with a sense of sadness that the tale (might be) drawing to a close...).
" said.

"I would say I give this book 3.5
I mean I did enjoy it but lately I just feel like this series is dragging on for too long... I have 2 books left and at this point I just can't wait to get them done with so I can read something different (which is really not a good attitude when it comes to reading for fun)

Anyways... So this is the 8th book in the Alex rider series, and since I read it during my exams it took me quite a while to finish. The characters where interesting but at this point it was getting a little repetitive. I enjoyed as usual the amount of diversity in the landscapes of these series, however in this book I found it really hard to imagine the scenery and get a general idea of where the characters were (although that can most likely be blamed on the headache that I have right now...)

***** SPOILERS AHEAD *****

Can I just say that I was sooo annoyed when Rahim died!! I mean really?? You take one of the only characters that actually help Alex and you murder them??

Also again in this book in particular I found it really hard to picture what the hell was even going on most of the time... I mean was it just me or did everything suddenly become practically impossible? (Although seeing as he has already been to space it's probably just me)

Anyways... I had fun reading this book although most of it did not stick in my brain... And I do look forward to reading the last two... Especially the one with the assassin ... And yeah... End of rant I guess.
" said.

"Where do I even begin?
This book is so emotional (or maybe that's just me, realising I'm getting nearer to the end).

This has got to be one of my favourites in the series. I love the change of focus as Alex spends more time at home and at school in this book - rather than off in another country. I don't know why, but I've always loved books which have school-focused plots.

Regardless of his location, Alex still finds himself swept up in a madman's plot and in danger.

Without spoiling it, there isn't much I can say except that I absolutely loved it. Like all the other books I found it gripping and didn't want to put it down. Though, when I got to the last five or six chapters, my reading slowed down considerably... (because I didn't want to finish it!)

Spoiler summary time!
(view spoiler)" said.

"The book starts off with a bang (literally) as a bomb is exploded in a nuclear power station in India and along the way there is a charity black-tie card game, poison needles, car crashes, bullets, and exploding gel pens. The action then moves to Scotland where Alex is holidaying with the Pleasure family. He attends a lavish New Year's Eve party in a remote Scottish castle hosted by wealthy philanthropist Desmond McCain, who runs an international charity, First Aid. Alex is disturbed by his first encounter by McCain and wonders if there's a connection when shortly afterwards he narrowly escapes from what he suspects to have been a deliberate car accident.

Back in London, Alex is forced to turn to MI6 for help when a journalist threatens to expose his past. In return MI6 ask him to help them investigate the director of a highly secure GM research centre. Slowly the disparate threads of the story start to come together, but will Alex be able to pass on what he knows before the bad guys catch up with him?

A facet of the stories that I enjoy is the science that goes into the bad guys' plots. In ”Crocodile Tears”, it's genetically modified foods and the threat they pose to Third World countries, as well as to the rest of the planet. The plot doesn't bog down with heavy explanations, but there's enough there to send curious young readers (and possibly older ones) scurrying to Wikipedia or the Internet for answers.

Strangely, the spy gizmos in this novel seem to be toned down. There really isn't much here from Smithers, and quite frankly I was a bit disappointed. I love when Smithers takes the stage, because it's quite a lot like dealing with Q in the lab in one of the James Bond films. Usually Smithers does a lot with designing hardware for Alex that looks like teen-centric stuff.

I didn't feel as if this book was as good as the others, I felt it had a bang, but not a very good one; in the end I felt this book didn't go as far as the other ones did. Alex Rider's other adventures have never disappointed, but ”Crocodile Tears” seems without the regular intrigue and seemingly unsolvable mysteries that have always bested other attempts at good spy novels.

Horowitz has maintained that Alex would never be older than fourteen and be a spy. At the end of this book, Alex's fifteenth birthday is only a few days away. I really don't want the series to end and I hope that Alex gets suited back up once more really soon.


More of Purplycookie’s Reviews @: http://www.goodreads.com/purplycookie


Book Details:

Title Crocodile Tears (Alex Rider, 8)
Author Anthony Horowitz
Reviewed By Purplycookie
" said.

"This book was much slower beginning than many of the others. The tension built more slowly, but one could sense that it was building to something mysterious and dangerous. It might have been also due to the presence of the Pleasures again that it took longer for me to get into this book. Fortunately, we are spared too much annoyance from Sabina. She is mercifully plugged into her iPod most of the time she is in the story. Most of Alex's interaction is with her father, and that turns out being much more interesting. I was correct, at the end of the last book, in guessing that the person Edward Pleasure is writing about would be the villain of this book. I was a little worried at first that, since the villain is a priest, this story would end up being an attack on religion. Fortunately, the author was very tactful. The villain's religion is never named, it is only referred to as "some church no one's ever heard of," so no specific church can ever be tied to him. Aside from occasionally quoting from the Bible, it is easy to forget that the man is even religious at all. His conversion is a fake one, after all.

It is interesting that the mission Alex is given in this story is connected to his school trip. We are so used to having him out of school and going off to some exotic location to complete his missions now. This time is so different. It almost felt to me in some ways that this mission would have fit better nearer the beginning of the series. I guess it is trying to show us how hard Alex is trying to fit back in with the school crowd and the spy-free lifestyle. It is certainly interesting to see him try that, and begin to suspect that it won't be possible to escape the life of a spy. In addition to the school connection, Alex doesn't pull off his amazing escapes entirely on his own in this story as often as he does in the others. Instead, he is often rescued by someone else.

One interesting aspect of the story, nearer the end, is that Alex seems to be becoming more concerned about other people than he is about himself. In the previous stories he was compelled to take on a mission. He would complete it because he felt he had to, but mostly it seemed like he was just trying to do whatever was necessary to satisfy MI6 and keep himself alive. He did, of course, feel compassion toward others and not wish for people to be hurt, but much of the time it felt like he was just trying to get the job done. This time at the ending, however, it feels more to me like he is trying to do the right thing, instead of the safe thing. He puts himself into danger when he returns to the dam, knowing that he will almost surely be killed, but his main motivation is to try and save others. I like that. It seems to show, once again, that Alex is beginning to grow up as he thinks more of others than he does of his own safety.
" said.

"When I first heard of its existence, I refused to believe it. I'd rid myself of the Alex Rider series at last, and Anthony Horowitz had said that Snakehead would be his last, and it ended satisfactorily. I don't even remember the ending anymore! I can't remember where I read him saying it, but damnit he did. And then, when I saw this at the book sale, I was furious. There was a total dramatic "Nooooo!" moment right then and there at the warehouse, and people were staring, but I didn't care. Damnit he promised. But I bought the book anyway, because I couldn't not do it. OCD and all ... *pause to read*.

*finishes reading*

It started out fine, and I thought for a moment this would be one heck of a book, and that at last, Mr Horowitz would deliver! First off, we're introduced to Ravi Chandra, who plants a bomb in a nuclear power station and doesn't live very long. I was okay with this part, other than the fact it seems quite obvious than Anthony has never really been to India. And then we cut to Alex, who's on holiday in Scotland with the Pleasure family (I'm serious. That's their last name). He seems to be spending a lot of time with this Sabina Pleasure girl. And here's where you're expected to check your brains at the door, if you haven't already. One, Sabina's dad is a journalist. How is he able to afford so many family vacations (every time we're introduced to his family, they are on a vacation), and take along a boy who is a friend of his daughter's for most of them? Sure, he did save her life. But he's a teenage boy! Perhaps it's just me. I do after all, come from a family where my mom shrieked the first time she saw me hug a male school mate.

Back to the story. Things start moving pretty slowly, and initially it seems as though once again Anthony has no qualms in boring his readers with overly descriptive passages. But then, for the first time, he doesn't go overboard and suddenly it's fun to read again. In typical Alex Rider style, he wins a round of Texas Hold 'em on someone else's money, donates it all back, and half a dozen or so pages later, the car he, Sabina, and Mr. Pleasure are in plunges into the Loch Arkaig, and they are then rescued by a foreign-looking person. I think it was Indian.

Alex goes back to school, and after that, he spontaneously decides to go visit his uncle’s grave. He is then ambushed by three Asian dudes who start talking like real bad-asses, only, I’m not buying it because real people do not talk like that! And it was going so well, too! So anyway, Alex gives them the butt-whooping of their lives, and unbeknownst to him, he’s being photographed. *gasp*

The journalist has the cheek to pop up at his house, while he’s having dinner, and offer to do an expose, and cut him a 50-50 deal from whatever he makes. Apparently, Mr. Journalist did his research and has put together details of at least 4 cases that Alex is involved in, and whichever way you put it, what he plans to do would permanently destroy Alex’s chances of being a normal teenage boy. First off, it’s clear this journalist is bat nuts crazy. You do not go barging into people’s houses and threaten to reveal all their dirty little secrets, especially if said people have been known to land other people in the hospital. Same rule applies if you know they have connections to an intelligence agency.

So of course, Alex pays Mi6 a visit, and in return for helping him make sure his spy-life remains a secret, he has to steal some files from a GM foods research facility. Both bits are actually quite interesting. The journalist gets a taste of what life would be like if he ever mentioned the name Alex Rider again. To sum up, all his accounts would be frozen, the locks to his apartment changed, his car repo-ed, his identity replaced, and he would be arrested and charged for his own murder. Scary stuff. Alex, meanwhile, has the time of his life dodging bullets, running from guards, trying to navigate his way out of dome full of genetically modified toxic plants, murdering a dude, bombing up a chimney and falling onto the top of his own school bus as it leaves the compound. This in itself is a little odd. It seems the inside of the bus is sound proof, or everyone just ignored the loud thud that came from the top of the roof.

Alex gets suspended from school after he comes back onto the bus looking like he's just been through a war (the excuse given is that he fell out of the emergency exit. Really? What, were the teachers born yesterday?), and he decides that he’d like to use his time investigating the case a little further, based on stuff he heard the bad guys say. He nearly gets roasted alive, but somehow or another, he is immune to such things as toxic smoke inhalation and limps off homewards, all fine and dandy.

And then, here’s the good bit. He gets kidnapped. And he gets kidnapped well. Anthony Horowitz becomes about 70% creepier as you begin to wonder just how much time he spent dwelling on creating the perfect kidnapping. The gist is that the same idiot journalist ratted Alex out to the bad guys, and was shot to death for his effort. The bad guys stopped Alex on his way to school, chopped his hair up, stuck him in a wheel chair, chucked some ugly glasses on him, and drugged him just enough so that he’s paralyzed, his mouth is hanging open, and acting all brain damaged. Then in a series of black outs, he gets flown out of the country, and suddenly we’re in Kenya!

I’m going to skip the boring bits… Like him unwittingly helping the bad guys spray some shroom soup onto a wheat field that will biologically trigger the wheat to produce ricin; and where the bad guy (as all bad guys are wont to do) blabs about his past; how his charity, First Aid, was created to steal money from the general public, responding to disasters he engineered; and about his latest scheme.

Bad guy wants to know how much Mi6 knows about his dastardly scheme, (wasting quite a long time doing it, I might add) and this is how Alex ended up hanging on to the handles of a pole with 2 or 3 hungry crocodiles snapping at his buttocks. So far, what I have pictured is this: a horizontal metal pipe with handles built in like a periscope. Given that this is so, how come no one, including the ever-brilliant Rider, ever thought of hooking their legs onto the pipe to take most of their weight?

Anyhew, baddie gets bored and leaves with his posse of strong, dead-eye tribesmen, leaving his fiancé to watch Alex fall to his death. Fiancé gets shot from behind by (surprise, surprise) the foreign Indian dude from Scotland! He works for an Indian Intelligence Agency hell-bent on taking revenge on the bad guy for orchestrating the bombing in India. His mission is to kill the bad guy, which is helpful, but he isn’t a very good spy is he? Deviating from his missions like that to save random people.

Skip, skip, Indian spy passes out from his fever, that he got after his wound got infected, a wound that he got from parachuting in the night, and landing somewhere sharp and pointy. So, originally, Indian spy wants to bomb bad guy’s plane, but since he’s passed out and all, Alex figures he won't mind if he steals his bomb and uses it to destroy a dam to drown all the wheat crops. Indian spy rather conveniently wakes up in time to steal a plane and rescue Alex before he falls into the newly made waterfall and dies.

They stop off at some African village-ey place for fuel, and as Indian spy is lecturing Alex, his brains get blown out by bad guy, who has also stopped for fuel. What are the odds! Cool fight involving a gun, the same yucky mushroom soup, barrels of leaded oil, and a leftover explosive that Alex hadn’t used on his mission in the GM foods place, and then boom. Bad guy dies, and Alex is badly burnt. Winds up in the hospital. It's his birthday on Thursday, and he can't remember, but yay for him blah blah. The end.

3 stars feel right, but damn it…the way Alex’s housekeeper keeps harping on about “never again” is a bad sign. It means that Anthony Horowitz’s golden goose will be alive for a while yet. When will he put me out of the misery that is the Alex Rider series?
" said.

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