YMMV / Alex Rider

The books

  • Complete Monster: All of the baddies are pretty nasty in their own right, given that they have no problem trying to kill Alex despite him being a child. Three particular examples stand out from the rest though:
    • Scorpia: Julia Rothman is a executive board member of SCORPIA, who plans to make outrageous demands to Britain that will never be met, kill a high school of children when they are not met, and make the same demand to America with the same consequence knowing that they will meet them, and ultimately cause a war to erupt between the two countries. To demonstrate the weapon and show that she is not bluffing; she kills a completely separate group of high school football players without giving them a chance to be saved. She also manipulates Alex into joining Scorpia by getting him to think his father worked for them and was killed by MI-6 when it was the other way around. She was planning to betray and kill Alex in the end. In the Prequel Russian Roulette she executes an assassin for failure.
    • Snakehead: Major Winston Yu is another board member, as well as the leader of a ruthless Snakehead gang. He takes part in SCORPIA's plans to kill the members of a conference against poverty. His plan involves causing a tsunami and kill millions of people to make the deaths look like an accident, overshadow the deaths of the conference members with the deaths of millions, and to drum up sales for his Snakehead gang. When Yu captures Alex, he decides to have him slowly killed on a hospital bed as he removes his organs one by one; one organ a day until all that is left of him is a husk. This seems to be his preferred method of execution, since he has people killed in the same hospital, in the same way on a regular basis. Yu is so bad that his henchmen commit suicide before he can punish them for failure.
    • Scorpia Rising: Abdul-Aziz Al-Rahim, better known as just Razim, is another SCORPIA member who signed on to pursue his immoral goals. A cold, unfeeling sociopath, Razim was born an Enfante Terrible who strangled his own dog to test his emotional reactions, stabbed his nanny in the leg with a pair of scissors, and sold out his own parents and sister to Saddam Hussein after they talked out against him. Come his involvement in Operation Horseman, Razim plans to blackmail Britain into handing over the Elgin Marbles, or else defame the country by revealing the contents of the Horseman file. SCORPIA's overreaching goal was to assassinate the Prime Minister of England and throw the country into a war; Razim happily aids with that, too. He manipulates one of his colleagues into pulling a gun on his boss, so that he's sniped in the ensuing argument, and attempted to kill M16's inventor. Notably, Razim is fascinated by pain, and tortures innocents to death with medical equipment in perverse "experiments", in an attempt to create a measurement for pain. Though he claims it's For Science!, Alex suspects Razim draws a sadistic amusement from these experiments. When he captures Alex, Razim kills his guardian and close friend Jack Starbright and forces Alex to watch, casually adding the boy's emotional pain was so great, he may have to create a second measurement. From there on, Razim tries to have the US Secretary of State assassinated, framing Alex so that he'll be shot dead. Though his crimes weren't on the scale of Winston or Rothman, Razim compensated by being Alex's most personal foe.
  • Crazy Awesome: Smithers. In Scorpia Rising, we're treated to this passage:
    There was an explosion inside the house. Then another. Alex heard the screams of some of the men and wondered what exactly had blown up. The sofas? The toilet? With Smithers it could be anything.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny: In Book 2, Alex refuses flat-out to go back into Point Blanc. Cue Wolf pulling a bit of Reverse Psychology, telling Mrs. Jones that Alex is too young and weak to do it. Alex insists that he's strong enough, he's tough enough, he can do it...and then realizing exactly what he said.
  • Die for Our Ship: Fangirls will make up any reason to hate Sabina. The most common pairings appear to be Alex/Fox, Alex/Wolf, and Alex/Yassen. Sabina-bashing appears occasionally in fics for any pairing, however.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • All four members of K Unit are very popular with fans. Wolf and Fox especially, thanks to their reappearances in Point Blanc and Snakehead respectively.
    • Smithers, for being a Crazy Awesome Gadgeteer Genius who consistently supports Alex throughout the books.
    • Yassen Gregorovich, due to his being a Draco in Leather Pants with Hidden Depths.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Some fans choose to discount Ark Angel and anything after it in the series, instead believing that Alex died at the end of Scorpia.
  • Faux Symbolism: HEROD Sayle wants to kill all schoolchildren in Britain! (Although Word of God states it's meant to be a pun on "Harrods sale".)
    • Damian Cray, hm?
    • Julius Grief, his looks identical to Alex's looks in every way, appeared first in Point Blanc, but this trope applied better in Scorpia Rising as his insane and murderous personality was shown more. Later, when Alex killed Julius, psychologists described it as Alex killing part of himself. As Mrs. Jones and Blunt put it, the part that they created and never should have been born.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The recurrent Shout Outs to James Bond—mostly comparing Alex to a young 007—became this in 2015, when Random House announced that Anthony Horowitz would be contributing a novel to the actual Bond series, titled Trigger Mortis. Becomes even funnier when Horowitz becomes the first person since Raymond Benson to publish more than one Bond story, since he's got another book in the works (with no current title) that's due in 2018.
  • Iron Woobie / Stoic Woobie: Alex has had a horrible life, but he hardly ever complains. He's remarkably composed even after Jack is killed in Scorpia Rising, save for his brief Heroic B.S.O.D., though after that he is said to be much more cold and isolated, as you would expect.
    • Yassen, poor Yassen, his real name was Yasha. First his family is killed and village of Estrov is destroyed. Then he is introduced to the criminal underground of Moscow, after that he sent to work as a slave for four hellish years. He then becomes the cold assassin he was in Stormbreaker.
  • Jerkass Woobie: General Sarov. The man is messed up in the head, but he's lost his son and watched his country go to ruin, at least from his point of view- the everybody eating at McDonald's and wearing Levi jeans thing might not be so bad per say, but he points out millions of people have AIDS, nothing to eat and live in perpetual poverty.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Alan Blunt. Some of his actions are questionable to begin with, but in the ninth book, Scorpia Rising, he springs head-first over the line by arranging a school shooting in order to coerce Alex into taking his next mission. Said shooting hospitalizes Alex's best friend and Secret Keeper Tom. It doesn't help that what he does leads Alex into a trap set by Zeljan Kurst.
    • Yu planning to have Alex painfully tortured by forcing him to donate his organs to black market clients.
    • Razim crosses the line when he kills Jack Starbright and forces Alex to watch. This might perhaps be the moment where Julius crosses the line too, as he's the one pulling the trigger on Razim's orders and gleefully rubbing it in.
  • Narm: "When you bought me here, you made me play a game. It was a horrible, vicious thing to do." Why thank you, Captain Obvious.note 
    • From Stormbreaker, Herod Sayle's repeated references to his old school nickname, "Herod Smell", especially during his Motive Rant. Realistic? Probably. Unintentionally funny? Definitely.
  • Nightmare Fuel: For what was supposedly a kid's book series, it packed a lot of this, and it's described in extremely fine detail.
    • Point Blanc: Grief's plans for Alex are to dissect him. Alive.
    • Skeleton Key: Alex running into a great white shark and being almost completely helpless to escape it, constantly thinking Oh, Crap! and with nothing to defend himself with apart from a knife., followed by the shark being caught in Sarov's Death Trap. Then after that, we see Conrad trying to torture Alex with the mill's grinder.
    • Scorpia: The English reserve team literally dropping dead, and up until later on in the book, no one even knows how.
    • Ark Angel: A soccer player takes a shower while wearing a caesium medallion covered in wax. Due to the material it's made out of, the hot water ends up melting the wax, and then the medallion explodes and kills him.
    • Snakehead: Similar to Grief above, Dr. Tanner plans to donate Alex's organs to science...just not Alex himself.
    • Crocodile Tears: Desmond McCain's form of questioning Alex? Forcing him to hang onto a ladder with his bare hands as he's dangling over a pit full of crocodiles. And then he leaves him there to die. He doesn't, obviously, but the whole chapter involving this scene is crude.
    • Scorpia Rising; A shootout in a public museum with kids cowering and screaming as they scramble for cover in the first chapter. Then we meet Razim and his experiments...
      • From the same book, there's Gunter's death. After Alex asks for a cigarette, he grabs the pack and casually opens it. And then discovers that Alex hid a scorpion inside of it...
  • Paranoia Fuel: The ease with which MI-6... deal with Bulman halfway through Crocodile Tears. They erased all of his financial and personal records, then made new records appear as though he was an escaped Broadmoor inmate named Jeremy Harwood who had killed Bulman. They did all that in a matter of hours. They executed his fate overnight as he slept.
  • Technology Marches On: Combined with Comic-Book Time, with the world incorporating new technology and referencing events that occurred throughout real history.....all without the author bothering to advance the story universe more than a year. The eponymous Stormbreaker computer isn't that impressive by modern standards and is rather quickly eclipsed by the iPhones that somehow appear just a year later.
  • The Untwist: In Ark Angel, the fact that Nikolei Drevin is the real Big Bad and not Force Three is made incredibly obviousnote . Alex even lampshades it; when Drevin is about to "reveal" this fact, Alex tells him to not bother.
  • Values Dissonance: Alex, on the whole, is a very well-adjusted child, but the narration has suggested that he seems to view clones as "freaks" and "creatures".
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: So you think this is a fun for young teens novel series? Not quite; the titular character is just a fourteen year old by manipulated to work for MI-6, he then endures many horrific things over a single year. This series can be considered the Neon Genesis Evangelion of Spy Fiction.
  • The Woobie: Alex. Within a year, he's lost his uncle, gone through horrific situations that no child - and indeed, no human being - should ever go through, only escaping by luck. Then he loses his housekeeper, the only adult left in his life who he really loved and trusted. And this doesn't even take into account the psychological damage that he suffers from the horrors he's encountered on his missions.
    • Yassen Gregorovich's backstory in Russian Roulette gives off this vibe.

The film

  • Funny Moments: Always mixed with narm.
    • Alex receiving a Nintendo DS with games that secretly have various useful functions. And he gets Mario Kart DS...just cuz.
    • Nadia's death...underneath a giant jellyfish.