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The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp Paperback – 1 January 2006
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|Paperback, 1 January 2006|| |
- ASIN : 0439876273
- Publisher : Scholastic; First Edition (1 January 2006)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 0439878489
- ISBN-13 : 978-0439878487
- Customer Reviews:
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I think that this would be an excellent book for early teens who are feeling awkward, or uncertain about their place in the world. For anyone who sometimes feels too big or too slow or too different, but who INSIDE knows that he or she has the potential for greatness.
The book is also a fun read for anyone, full of chases and sword-fights, and bravery and betrayal. Arthurian legend is juxtaposed against modern-day espionage, with all of the associated trappings of both. Picture black helicopters, Ferrari Enzos, and Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycles along with Stonehenge, King Arthur's sword, and bows and arrows, and you begin to get the idea. The character of Bennacio is also highly entertaining, with a wonderfully dry sense of humor, and little patience with young Alfred's mis-steps.
All in all The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp is worth checking out.
This review was originally published on my blog, Jen Robinson's Book Page, on February 10, 2006.
First things first. Many people will find this book because they liked Yancey's "The Monstrumologist" and the followup "Curse of the Wendigo", and are looking for more Yancey. The Kropp series came out before Yancey hit it big with Monstrumologist. I didn't particularly care for "The Monstrumologist"; I thought it was humorless, and the whole Victorian era America meets hyperviolent Frankenstein vibe was forced and a little overwritten. Well, the Alfred Kropp series is entirely different. It is very funny. It is not so earnestly written. It is more fun. And, it just feels more honest and authentic, (even though fantastical), than the sort of high-concept but shallow Monstrumologist.
Second things: this book is being described as white-knuckle non-stop adventure, in the style of the Horowitz Alex Rider books. Well, there is non-stop action, but not in the mindless, silly Alex Rider style. Alex Rider may be the most bland one-dimensional hero in ya action fiction. Alfred Kropp, on the other hand, is an absolute hoot, and a truly engaging personality.
And that brings us to the real appeal of this book. Alfred sees himself as a failure and a loser. But, as his first person narrative makes clear, he is insightful, thoughtful, observant, honest, rueful, and very, very funny. Throughout the course of the book the action seems to be designed to put him in the company of noble, interesting, admirable adult characters, from whom he actually learns lessons about bravery, dedication, effort and loyalty.
After all of the silliness of the plot and wild implausibility of the action, we end up with an appealing character who has entertained us through the entire adventure and who has actually grown up a little, and gained some confidence, some backbone, and some self-awareness.
What other ya "action" book can claim all that? And that's why this book is worth serious consideration.
Alfred Kropp is an orphan living with his uncle, who ropes him into a get rich scheme. That leads into an adventure involving Excalibur, the Last Knight protecting that famous sword, Agents of Darkness, and a shadowy group called OIPEP. There are car chases, bullets flying, a beautiful girl, and sword figthts - i.e. action and fun.
I liked this a lot better than the Percy Jackson series (a bit more grounded in reality- but only a bit) and not only look forward to reading the rest of the series, but am hopeful for a movie or TV series..What I particularly liked about the book (besides the action) was how it portrayed Alfred's feelings of alienation, betrayal, guilt, and honor. Something to have a good discussion about with my kids when they read this.