Scorpia Rising (Alex Rider #9)

It's finally here: the last Alex Rider. An author faces a lot of pressure writing the last book of a popular series. And up to now, Horowitz has done well to tell the same story in so many different ways.
What impressed me with this series was that woven in between all the killing and running was interesting information about world issues that would otherwise be relegated to the realm of adults: refugees and the criminals who exploit them; medical research and the noble and corrupt interests that drive it; political spin and those who dare to expose it...
I was disappointed that there wasn't as much of this in the last, it was more action and suspense, and of course, a competition between the evil characters in just how evil they could be.
Another difference was that though previous instalments brought hardship to Alex's loved ones it was usually at some distance from the reader, we weren't deeply involved with the characters that fell. This one comes closer to home.
It has been a while since my last Alex Rider and I had forgotten how shocking they are. Alex is once again up against Scorpia, the worst of all mafia-style organisations, and he's witnessed murder, violence, torture and cruelty before his work with them is over.
It's obviously not a book for sensitive, young readers, but as Alex enthusiasts will know Horowitz deals with harsh themes without making them too graphic, and so doesn't stir up too much in the reader's imagination. Neither is there any question about the nature of good and evil.
As series finales go I found it acceptable, though not extraordinary. Hopefully Horowitz can take a break and rebuild his authorial inspiration.


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