Yesterday I finished listening to The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp by Rick Yancey. I'm not normally a fan of the hapless hero. I prefer my heroes to be smart and brave and action-oriented. And Alfred Kropp is definitely of the hapless breed of heroes. He's big-headed and slow on the uptake, and a self-declared screwup. He fails at playing football, doesn't have any friends, and spends most of his time lying around in his room watching TV. And yet ... he falls into an epic sort of adventure, and through sheer tenacity he manages to save the world. And somehow as I listened to the book he got under my skin, and I found myself caring what happened to him.
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. Happy Reading! -- Jen
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.