Reviews /

S.T.E.A.L.T.H: Ice Breaker

Authored by Jason Rohan
Published by Nosy Crow

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S.T.E.A.L.T.H: Ice Breaker: Anyone who has been around children’s books for a while will recognise the premise. A group of ordinary teenagers are seconded by the government to infiltrate criminal proceedings and save lives. Nobody pays attention to kids, after all. It’s a top-secret, undercover mission which requires them to pit their wits against terrorists and master high-tech equipment (in this case, an AI called MANDROID) in exotic locations. And the clock is ticking. But anyone who has been around children’s books knows, too, that what’s new is exciting and appealing to young readers.

Our heroes are Arun, Donna and Sam, but the narrative point of view switches with lightning speed between them, the staff back at MI6 and two would-be operatives who are trapped on a train that has been immobilised in the Austrian alps – bearing a cargo of gold bars with a value of a quarter of a billion pounds. Peril abounds from the wintry conditions outside but also a traitor on board the train.

There’s not much that’s innovative – will young readers appreciate the references to the Jackson Five and Spice Girls? – and you need a degree of stamina to keep up with all the many (adult) characters and changes in viewpoint. But there are plenty of light touches and strong character dynamics that makes Jason Rohan’s series (this is book 2) an entertaining addition for Upper KS2 readers to the canon of high-octane thrillers made so popular by the Alex Rider books more than twenty years ago.