My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Horowitz’s genre-defining (genre-creating?) stories of teenage spy Alex Rider were always going to end. Alex would grow up. Alex would die. Life would take him from this odd, mad role he’d fallen into as one of Britain’s youngest spies. A child, really, pulled into working for MI6 due to circumstance, happenstance and fate. It could never last.
And it doesn’t. This is the last story of Alex Rider and it’s one tinged throughout with a bittersweet, pained edge. Horowitz, we, we’re saying goodbye to a boy we’ve grown up with, to a boy who’s defined action books, to a boy who’s paved the way for a thousand other similar characters of his ilk.
A trail blazer. Too good, too lucky, it could never last.
I keep being drawn back to that thought. It could never last. Alex is ready to move on and, I think, so is Horowitz. What’s it like to write a series – a character that is so defining, that it defines who you are for a generation? And what’s it like to let him go?
This book is good and dark and horribly hard in places. Tonally, this is Horowitz’s Azkaban, a book full of shadowy truth and the fact that the life you live will eventually take a price.
It burns, does Scorpia Rising, and it’s bitterly sad and it’s not what I expected at all. We’re attuned to the positive in our appreciation of series culture, the tying up of loose threads and things finally slotting into place. Ross finds Rachel. Janeway brings her ship home.
And for Horowitz to write this book in the way he has, I am impressed and awed and saddened, because there’s truth in this ending. Too much, really, too soon, too fast.
But that’s life.