Reviews for Alex Rider : Skeleton Key: the Graphic Novel

Booklist Reviews 2009 December #1
Is there a single innovative moment in this graphic adaptation of Anthony Horowitz's third novel of teen super-spy Alex Rider? Not really, no. From the "pre-credits" sequence to the Bondian gadgets, from the megalomaniacal villain with a penchant for explaining things to the nuclear bomb-defusing climax, even the most inexperienced spy-fiction reader is likely to see what's coming next. Does the adaptation contain any real substance or insight? Oh, come now. When the orphaned 14-year-old notes that he may lack a proper family but at least he gets to sun himself in five-star hotels, you can rest assured they've given up human drama in favor of bang-up action set-pieces. Does it have a place in your collection? Absolutely. It will be much enjoyed by those looking for a lightweight adventure with a high body count, a propulsive (though wordy) plot, and well-choreographed action rendered in capable illustration. Such readers might also be directed to Charlie Higson's more thoughtful and involving Young Bond series, which is due to be adapted into graphic-novel form in 2010. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Booklist Reviews 2008 March #2
As in Stormbreaker: The Graphic Novel (2006), rapid-fire action, appealing manga-style artwork, and a heavy reliance on the James Bond formula drive this second graphic adaptation of Horowitz's best-selling Alex Rider books. The plot maintains the basic premise of the eponymous novel, published in 2002: Rider, a 14-year-old British spy, is sent to a mysterious Swiss boarding school to investigate the nefarious plot of its headmaster. With clear lines and carefully toned coloring, the art makes the most of the creepy castle setting, twisting passages, gadgets, and death-defying snowboard escapes, while the mix of perspectives and panel sizes helps to reveal clues in quick succession. Suspense builds right up until the terrifying conclusion, which, because it involves body doubles, has high impact in this visual format, which showcases the mirror effects. A sure hit with both fans and newcomers, particularly reluctant readers. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Booklist Reviews 2006 November #2
An ode to rampant commercialism, this is not exactly based on Anthony Horowitz's thrill-a-second novel about 14-year-old Alex Rider, who discovers that his deceased uncle was a superspy and that Alex himself must face an evil businessman and his multitude of gruesome killers. No, this graphic novel springs from the screenplay for the recent movie, which is based on the novel--which, itself, is a clever compilation of James Bond movies. If it's possible, this is even more rapidly paced than the novel. Alex remains an appealing hero here, and the idea of a heroic teen up against insidious adults continues to be an extremely powerful draw for readers. The female art team casts the action in exciting manga style, and the digital colors produce an anime-like sense of depth and motion. Readers who already like Alex Rider will want this; even adventure lovers unfamiliar with the books will find it difficult to resist the hyperkinetic fun, although they may feel they have sold a bit of their souls to get it. ((Reviewed November 15, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.