BBC Home
Explore the BBC



Last Updated: Tuesday June 24 2008 12:26 GMT

Book review: Snakehead

Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz


Anthony Horowitz

Publication date

Out now in paperback, which has an extra bonus chapter.


The hero is the invincible Alex Rider, teenage spy, who has been reluctantly recruited by MI6.

Snakehead sees him on his seventh mission. This time he's working for the ASIS (The Australian Secret Service)

His target is the criminal underworld of South -East Asia, the ruthless world of the Snakehead.

Bad baddies!!

Alex has a few gadgets in this book, but nothing as flash as some of his previous outings. He uses them very effectively.

In this book he is as clever as a fox and as lucky as a box of black cats, with about as many lives.

He needs them because in Snakehead the baddies are particularly nasty, being led by the psychotic Major Yu. This is a grimmer, much darker Rider adventure, with a lot of violence being dished out by the villains.


A breathtaking ride from start to finish!

An Aussie barbeque goes badly wrong for Alex (strewth!) then he's whisked off to the seedy underworld of Bangkok where there's all sorts of intrigue between various organisations, lots of explosions, huge amounts of rats, and a plot involving a big, big bomb.

Father facts

We can't give too much away, because it's very exciting, and lots of things happen.

If you're a committed Alex Rider fans there is a good plot which gives us more detail about his dad.


The scenes involving the various shootouts are really good in showing the hard-hearted nature of the criminal organisations involved.

The Hide-and-seek chapter is a stroke of genius and the showdown between Alex and the main villain is hilarious, with Alex at his dry humoured best.

Any weak bits?

It's hard to believe the story sometimes especially as this is the seventh in a series of very similar books. Surely the main villains of the world by now know that the best thing to do with Alex is to just shoot him! Straight away!

They toy with him far too much, and he escapes every time, no matter how sticky the situation. Also, where does Alex get all his energy from? Can't the author give him a break?

Non-stop spy

Alex has not had a proper rest for three missions now, and he's badly behind on his school work, (as if we care!)

Perhaps Horowitz is regretting his decision to end the series when Alex is 15, and wants to cram in as much into his young life as possible.


Absolutely. Hopefully there will be a film!

NR rating:

Five out of five

This reviews page is now closed. Here are some of the reviews you sent in.

"Snakehead is a breathtaking adventure from start to finish. It is grim and sometimes scary. It's one of the books that keep you glued to it."

Tom, 7, Cranleigh, England

"I thought that the book was really good. They should make it into a film"

Damian, 12, Haslingden, England

"I found this book a bit unrealistic and boring. Also, Alex hardly ever says anything, but some chapters are enough to keep the book going"

Arnold, 13, Middlesbrough, England

"Snakehead is a brilliant book that keeps you hooked to the very end. There are surprising twists and events! Overall an awesome book just like the rest!"

Joseph, 11, Countesthorpe, England

"IT IS AWESOME! By far the best in the series. A must read for everyone."

Charlie, 11, Rochester, England

"I don't think this book is very good, I think it is very boring. I only read to page 284 and I couldn't be bothered to read any more."

Loren,10, Studley, England

"Brilliant. I finished it in the two days after I got the book. DEFINATELY the best Alex Rider book!"

Ben, 14, Surrey, England

"I love Snakehead! It was the best book I have ever read, I really hope they will make it into a film!"

Daisy, 10, Ukfield, England

"It was one of the best books in the series. I really enjoyed it."

Ammaarah, 12, Leicester, England

"I think it is so awesome dude."

Callum , 11, Chesterfield, Derbyshire

"I thought the book was absolutely brilliant!!!!!"

Tom, 14, London, England

"Good book but, still not as good as Eagle Strike."

Coby, 11, Bedford, England

"The best book I have ever read. I have now read it three times and I really hope there is a film. PLEASE PLEASE, PLEASE ANTHONY, WRITE BOOK 8!"

Andrew, 13, Beckenham England

"I think Snakehead was a brilliant book because it's action-packed and very interesting."

Navneet, 12, Coventry, England

"I liked the bit where Alex was fighting and when he spat water in his face."

Zakaria, 9, South Croydon

"I think Snakehead is amazing! I couldn't put it down! I really hope they make it into a film too!"

Rebecca, 13, Cardiff, Wales

"I'm really annoyed about the extra chapter because I bought it in hardback and didn't get it which is slightly unfair! Good book though."

Eliza, 14, West Midlands, England

"Great book! I really do hope Horowitz does another book. My brother and I love the series."

Geoff, 15, Wakefield, England

"A fantastic thriller - brilliant to read. You never know what's round the corner with Alex. The book keeps your face glued to the pages, incredible!"

Peter, 11, Worksop, England

"The book was full of action and it was interesting. I would definitely read another one."

Elliot, 13, Sunderland, England

"I loved Snakehead. It really shows the unfortunate side in people's lives."

Chris, 11, Manchester, England

"Snakehead looks like a great great book and my favourite character is Alex Rider."

Hee Jun, 10, Southampton, England

"It is good."

Jung-chan, 9, London, England

"This is the best of all the seven books (even though I haven't finished it!)"

Alex, 9, Milan, Italy

"Best book ever."

Jack, 11, Omskirk, Scotland

"Boring first half, exciting second half, but the series is too unrealistic now."

Liam, 13, Wales "This book is the best book I ever read. It is so fantastic. When I first started to read Stormbreaker I read all of them because they were so good. I just loved it. In the books the gadgets are amazing just like a coin it could be a gadget."

Joynul, 11, London, England

"Snakehead should have a book award. I read it and it was so good that I wanted to keep the book forever."

Dardan, 9, London, England

"I read this book right after it came out. I loved it! It's one of my favourites in the series! It's full of action and excite meant. I couldn't put it down! I really recommend it!"

Beth, 13, Doha, Qatar