Russian Roulette was a stunning novel by Anthony Horowitz, master of action and suspense. I am a big fan of Mr Horowitz, so when I realised that his new book had hit the shelves I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
Russian Roulette is part of the Alex Rider series – a childhood favourite of mine. However, there are a few, small differences. It is a prequel, written in first person instead of the usual third and, for a change, it isn’t about young Alex. Instead, the story follows that of his nemesis, Yassen Gregorovich, an assassin from Russia whose path is inexplicably linked to Alex Rider’s.
I loved this book. I devoured it in a day and was left with that happy, tingly feeling that often follows a good read. It was full of action and intrigue and stunning description, everything that I expect from Horowitz. It also had a darker undercurrent that I wasn’t accustomed to. All of Horowitz’s Alex Rider villains have been outlandish and larger than life; their evil plans often followed the same, surreal patterns. However, Russian Roulette had a whole new vibe. Perhaps it was because there was a new protagonist on the scene. Perhaps it was because Horowitz was writing for the Alex Rider fans who, like me, had grown up a little. But whatever the reasons, Russian Roulette was a dark, menacing read. It was also surprisingly realistic. There was on the whole more gore, more cruelty and more violence, which I think the book needed in order to break away from the somewhat more childish universe of Alex Rider.
I really enjoyed reading this book. The plot was fast paced and the writing was succinct. There were new characters and old ones, new cities and past haunts. It was a jam packed blast through the past, which was a real treat for Alex Rider fans. This book was really a gift to fans from the author. It was written for us – full of references only we would understand, and it answered many questions that we had been wondering about for ages.
I would recommend Russian Roulette to anyone. Though it was aimed at the many lovers of the book series, it was also thrilling enough to be a stand-alone novel in its own right. Yassen Gregorovich was a lovely protagonist who the reader really connected to, despite the fact that he was an assassin. Tip of the hat to Anthony Horowitz.