Highly improbable, full of deus ex machina plot devices, and not overly complex writing. But you know what? It's fun! As I read Stormbreaker, all I kept thinking was, "when my nephew is 11, 12, or 13 or so, this is something I can imagine him reading!"
This is an action/adventure spy thriller for kids. It's a book that boys in particular would like to sink their teeth into. There is no love interest and no "friendship issues," no navel gazing or lessons about right and wrong. There is, however, plenty of action. There are explosions, there are high-speed chases on a diverse range of vehicles. There is karate, secret spy gear, and narrow escapes from death. There is a giant poisonous jellyfish in the bad guy's lair, for crying out loud (couldn't help but think of the giant octopus in Bela Lugosi's lair in Bride of the Monster)! The hero is young (just 14), and he does a better job of saving the world than the adults in the story. I mean, come on! This is the world that young boys would love to live in!
Unfortunately, my nephew isn't quite old enough for this book yet--I'm not sure he'd understand some of what is going on in the story. Normally when I review books written for children it's after I've read them with my niece and/or nephew. I miss my reviewing partners for this book, and I miss the reactions that I need from real live kids in order to know exactly where a book registers on their radar. That said, I suspect that my nephew would find my three-star rating to be a bit low. I did mention the explosions, right? Well, in his mind, explosions warrant an automatic four stars. Throw in all that other stuff, and I'm not sure there are enough stars in the sky for this book.