Russian Roulette: The Story of an Assassin by Anthony Horowitz

Russian Roulette: The Story of an Assassin by Anthony Horowitz
Publisher: Philomel / Penguin
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Suspense/Mystery, Young Adult
Length: Full length (372 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Alex Rider’s life changed forever with the silent pull of a trigger.

When Ian Rider died at the hands of the assassin Yassen Gregorovich, Alex, ready or not, was thrust into the world of international espionage—the world’s only teenage spy. Alex vowed revenge against Yassen and the two have battled ever since. Yet, years ago, it was none other than Alex’s own father who trained and mentored Yassen, turning him into the killer he would eventually become.

What makes us choose evil? Why did one boy choose to kill while another chose to risk his life to save others? In some ways, Alex Rider and Yassen Gregorovich are mirror images of each other. Yet the paths they traveled turned them into mortal enemies.

This is Yassen’s story. A journey down a darkened path.

The Alex Rider series has been out for a while and is quite popular. The thought of a young man being recruited to play spy is fascinating and while Alex has lots of skills, his life is dangerous enough to keep you on the edge of your seat while reading the books. When I found out this book was available, it was too tempting not to read. This is the story of the assassin on the other side: Yassen Gregorovich. He’s Alex’s mortal enemy but the same teacher worked with them both…

Mr. Horowitz writes thought provoking stories with lots of politics, black market dealings, assigned killings, and hard hitting action. This is a great series for young boys who find the run of the mill stories boring. These are not boring!

The story of Yassen’s youth and the tortures he was put through after the death of his parents is an ugly tale, but life is no picnic. The man who takes control of him first makes him play a game of Russian roulette. He survives that but understands that now his life belongs to the man in front of him. When he finally escapes him, the life he goes into is no better. What’s even more ironic is that the man teaching him will be Alex Rider’s father in the future.

My favorite part of this story is when Yassen gets even with those who treated him badly in the past. It’s not very nice, but they deserved it. His last assignment is to kill Alex Rider. There’s a good surprise ending that tells you the series is not done yet.

This series is a good fast paced action-packed suspense story expanding over several books. This book can be read as a stand-alone easily enough. I’d like to see more of Yassen’s story but who knows where the author will go next…

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