‘Skeleton Key’ is the third book in this series about Alex Rider, a teenage spy. Alex is sent on an expensive holiday to Skeleton Key in Cuba. Well, it’s supposed to be a holiday, but really he’s there to do his job – nuclear war is coming. Hit the jump for more…
Alex is given the opportunity to see tennis live at Wimbledon. However, instead of the interesting time he expected to have, he uncovers a sinister plot by the Triad. He heads off on a surfing holiday with his budding girlfriend Serena, but is followed there by the Triad. MI6 says that they will put him out of harm’s way by sending him on a tropical vacation. What could go wrong? Everything in fact.
I think the most enjoyable thing of this novel was the ending, seeing Alex push through the terrors he had been through to become a better person on the other side. In this novel you can really see him grow up, and start taking an interest in girls. Horowitz has managed to take a series that could become quite stale with the same character and same spy elements and make it continue to develop.
This novel is more bloody than the first two novels (in the same way that the Harry Potter series became more adult as it progressed). I’d still say that children could read it, but not those with impressionable minds or those who were likely to be scared. If they enjoyed the first two novels, this is certainly not too much of a step forward.