August was a pretty interesting reading month! I only read-read one book and audiobook-read four, since figuring out my library app means I can listen to quick YA audiobooks while playing Sims 4 without having to ‘waste’ an Audible credit. Unfortunately, they weren’t great. But I read an incredible classic that made up for it, and a really interesting thriller.
Point Blanc by Anthony Horowitz
The thing is ever since the first book had some questionable bits, I was on alert. So I noticed things that might slide by other readers, heck, I didn’t notice them first time around. But things like that even though the villain is a white-supremisist and that’s described as “disgusting” by the main character, the same boy also described a South-African woman as having an “ape-like face“. And how the book also keeps using the term ‘lunatic asylum’, which is super outdated.
I really think I should’ve stopped there with this series (I didn’t. I gave up at book five when Alex does black-face at a fancy-dress party).
Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz
Despite the garbage second book, I strode on and found myself in okay territory. The bad guy was anti-capitalist rather than a racist, which was a nice change. A female character was introduced, even though her name was Sabina Pleasure. And hey, Alex had some actual emotions about what happened to him!
But I can’t rile up the enthusiasm I had for these books as a kid, even though I’ve managed for other YA series. And boy, the description of a disfigured character (a bad guy, of course) was super not-great.
Eagle Strike by Anthony Horowitz
I will say, this book contains one of the most memorable fictional deaths from my childhood, including the droves of dead from Harry Potter. But apart from that it’s the usual high-speed chases, explosions, spy stuff that fills the rest of these books. It even has the ol’ villain explaining his whole evil plan to the protagonist.
12-year-old me liked them, so I can’t hate them that much. I can’t remember any racism, sexism or anything too awful like the others and it sets up the rest of the series well, but by this point I was hanging on by a thread. The scissors to that thread was book five. Nostalgia can only get you so far.