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Review: 'Alex Rider' shares exciting adventures of teenaged spy

Review: 'Alex Rider' shares exciting adventures of teenaged spy

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Alex Rider

The talented Otto Farrant brings life to Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider, the hero of a popular series of young-adult action-adventure novels.

Alex is a teenager in London, an orphan who is being raised by his uncle, Ian Rider (Andrew Buchan), and Jack Starbright (Ronke Adekoluejo), their housekeeper. When Ian dies, Alex is not satisfied with the story he is given, so he decides to investigate on his own. Alex discovers that not only was his uncle murdered, but he was also a spy. In his determination to find out what actually happened, he ends up being recruited by the unit of MI6 that had employed his uncle.

As an undercover teenaged spy, he infiltrates Point Blanc, an extremely exclusive school for the troubled adolescent children of rich and powerful parents. Maybe he can learn something there about the events that lead to his uncle's murder.

Season one of the Amazon Prime series is based primarily on Point Blanc, the second book of the spy series. The 2006 film Stormbreaker, starring Alex Pettyfer, was based on the first book of the Alex Rider series. Perhaps it is because this new series draws from the second book and there is a great deal of background to fill in, but the eight-episode series has a slow start. However, it’s not long before it takes off. Before the end of the second episode, the series has begun to shine.

The series is shot at several stunning locations, and there is plenty of fast-paced action along with enough youthful fun to make the characters likable. The young Farrant does a fantastic job bringing depth to a character who might otherwise have become a two-dimensional stereotype of an action hero. The other young actors in the series also provide superior performances, particularly Brenock O’Connor, who plays Tom Harris, Alex’s best friend, and Marli Siu, who plays Kyra, one of the troubled adolescents at Point Blanc.

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