This action/thriller is the second book in the " Alex Rider" series by Anthony Horowitz and is published by the Penguin Group.
Point Blank is written for kids ages 12 to 16. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Fourteen-year-old Alex Rider is an orphan. Three weeks prior to the opening of the first book in this series, Alex's uncle, who had been raising him, died in a car crash. Alex subsequently finds that his uncle had been a secret agent for M16, Britain's premier spy agency. M16 then forces Alex to take his uncle's place in a spy operation. That adventure constitutes the first book in this series.
Alex almost lost his life on his first spy mission, so he is now reluctant to work for M16 again. He wants to enjoy being a teenager. M16 convinces Alex to join them, however, and the young spy is immediately enrolled in an elite, international all-boy prep school called Point Blanc in France. The M16 director, Mr. Blunt, believes that the proprietors of the school, Dr. Grief and Mrs. Stellenbosch, are somehow involved with the mysterious deaths of two famous multi-millionaires.
Alex arrives at the boarding school in the Swiss Alps and realizes the small group of students already there — 14-year-old boys who are sons of wealthy, famous men around the world — are acting like robots. They talk, walk and act exactly the same. Alex finds the real boys locked in jail cells on a hidden floor of the school. The students roaming Point Blanc were cloned from Dr. Grief's DNA 14 years earlier and have been transformed into look-alikes of the real teenagers through plastic surgery. The clones are part of a complex plot to make Dr. Grief the world's ruler. Alex has the information he needs and contacts M16 to come and get him. At the last minute, M16 rescues Alex and helps him free the prisoners.
Other Belief Systems
Although there are no belief systems per se, the story is definitely about good vs. evil. While some of the good-guy characters have flaws, the bad-guy characters are evil.
The narrator, a base operator and M16 director Blunt use the word h--- a few times, and Alex uses the word d--n in his thoughts.
A maintenance man is described as lying at the bottom of the Hudson River with a knife in his back and a concrete block tied to his foot. A multi-millionaire businessman steps into a rigged elevator shaft and falls to his death. A group of teenagers on a hunting spree wound several animals and leave them to die. Alex is shot at with a shotgun by these same teens but not hit. In retaliation, Alex swings a shotgun and hits one of the boys in the back, knocking him to the ground. Dr. Grief shoots a plastic surgeon in the forehead with a handgun. Alex is viciously hit in the stomach by Dr. Grief's bodybuilding personal assistant, Mrs. Stellenbosch. Dr. Grief describes how he is going to kill Alex by dissecting him alive. Alex falls from the top of a moving train, bouncing twice on the ground and landing in a wire fence. Blood pours from a gash in his head.
Guards are shot and killed during an escape attempt. Alex and Mrs. Stellenbosch pummel each other in a drawn-out fight. Mrs. Stellenbosch is shot and killed, and she crashes through a window. Alex throws himself off a snowmobile that flies from a ski jump and slams into a helicopter in which Dr. Grief is escaping. The helicopter blows up with Grief inside.
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Readability Age Range
12 to 16