Wednesday, 26 January 2011

My Reaction-Crocodile Tears

The book Crocodile Tears is a action thriller that has a lot of suspense with many intriguing twists and turns. The author, Anthony Horowitz keeps you interested by his extremely descriptive writing, making you want to read on -I certainly found it hard to put the book down. It's suspense filled plot kept me riverted from beginning to end. I certainly felt that the author successfully managed to relay his point /message by using a variety of imaginative and gripping words which left me wanting to find out more, as a vivid and visual image was created in my mind as the story unfolded.

I think that the book was written for thirteen year olds and over  - as it contained some strong swear words, an adult themed plot and many gruesome images /action scenes. Therefore I do not feel this book would not be suitable for children under thirteen as they might become disturbed by what the book is about. The good points of the book for me centred around how successful the author is in creating a visual picture in your mind, transporting the reader to the places and action experienced by the book characters - it was like I was actually there with them! I do not think that there is any bad points of the book.

By reading the book I learnt many things - the first of this was details regarding the countries landscape and culture in which it's action was set i.e Scotland and Kenya. Secondly my knowledge of dams was certainly increased - in relation to how much water they can hold and what damage they can do if they break/burst. I also learnt how cruel and evil some people can be too in the search for ultimate power. The most interesting part of the book for me however was when the dam broke and you discovered how much damage it did.  There was no bizarre part in the book however possibly the most unbelievable and gruesome event concerned a lady being eaten alive by crocodiles - the image of this was of course rather disturbing to imagine!

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys action and adventure books. I feel it would mostly appeal to boys, however, girls can read it if  they like this style of book. I have read all of the Alex Rider series as I enjoy Anthony Horowitz's  style of writing  and the type of action thriller story he conjures up - so will definitely read more of his books when I can. If you have not tried them why not give them a go - you might just enjoy them like I did!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Characterisation 2:Desmond McCain

Desmond McCain's (The Evil Villian) appearance is one of a large black man with oversized hands which gives him an extraordinary presence. His jaw has also been broken and now doesn't fit together exactly - which adds to his strong appearence. In addition to this he is completely bald, with a round, polished head as though 'it had never seen a single hair'. Finally his eyes are a strange shade of grey but amazingly they are still stikingly dazzling.

Interestingly at first you think he is good,  as he is the Head of a World Charity 'First Aid', however, not far into the book you soon discover his true colours. All of McCain's actions are extremely fearsome and brutish - highlighted through comments such as the following - "I could cut pieces off you."

McCain's mind is twisted and evil as he only thinks of himself  and no-one else. He is also a cold-blooded, heartless killer, as the following extract from the novel shows - 'He took out a gun and shot the journalist three times.' McCain acts as if he has no-one to fear and he is feared by everyone. He also behaves like no-one can touch him,  he's invincible, possibly as a result of his paid for and highly skilled 24 hour guard protection. Which the following quote demonstrates - McCain when threatened by Alex with a knife says, - " I don't think so..." which in turn brought about the following action by his guard, 'something whipped past Alex, .... a spear.'

McCain is the villian of the novel so naturally he is feared by many. Therefore, the only people who are loyal to him are those getting paid by him - 'All that mattered to him was the money at the end of the month.'
Like Alex Rider his role is crucial to the novel - without him there would be no mission for Alex and no evil plot to stop."There's nothing anyone can do, once the plague begins there will be no stopping it."

I myself, would not like to be Desmond McCain as he has many negative aspects to his character that I would not want. His plan to kill many innocent, vunerable people for monetary gain is a truly terrible thing to do. As the following quotes show -"You said you going to create a disaster" - " The oldest and youngest have been the first to go." McCain would definately therefore not make a good friend, as I think he would definately betray you, if it meant he got something in return or if you disagreed with him. This negative attribute was clearly demonstrated in the book through his callous killing of his previous friend, Leonard Straik.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Characterisation one - Alex Rider

Alex Rider is a 14 year old boy with 'thin lips, chiseled nose / chin with fair hair hanging over his brown eyes in thin strands'. Since the unexpected death of his uncle, Ian Rider, Alex has been leading a double life as a MI6 spy - like his uncle before him (reference Stormbreaker) - though not always however by choice. 'Locked into a job that would never let him go - 'That's never stopped you from using me'

In this book however, he stumbles upon a plot without even meaning or being directed to - after a chance win in a card game against villain Desmond McCain. Alex thinks that MI6 are using him once again and wants them to on this occasion to let him make his own choices - though as usual this is not how it happens.
' It was possible that Alan Blunt would agree to help him - but it would only ever on his own terms..... it had happened before.'

Alex can at times react like any teenager boy becoming angry when told to do something he doesn't want to or when people refuse to do what he asks them to. However, generally he is intelligent enough to realise that sometimes he has no choice. Time and time again he has recognised that by doing what is requested of him by MI6 he would begin to fill in the gaps of his life. He has also shown an ability to get others to tell him things that adults would struggle to discover - using the uniqueness of his young age to get them to trust him  and drop their suspicions -  'If it was a child then the whole thing could have been.... a prank'.

Alex's role in the story is central as ultimately he discovers details of a potential countinent destroying plot  'Greenfields has sold millions of seeds to Africans ... soon the contamination will have spread across half the continent' (a discussion between Alex and McCain) and through his quick thinking foils it by blowing up a dam. His actions  and adventures therefore assist the reader in understanding and drawing together all the threads of the story as it reaches its dramatic climax. Without him there would clearly be no story to tell.